Potsdam, N.Y. – It looked like the Gophers let their endgame against St. Cloud State carry over into their weekend in upstate New York after giving up three first period goals. However, Minnesota came out of the locker room a different team to start the second period and rallied to a 4-3 overtime win over the Clarkson in front of 2,815 at Cheel Arena.
“The message in the locker room was that if you’re not going to compete at a certain level, you’re not going to give yourself a chance to win,” said Gopher coach Don Lucia. “Then we got pucks to the goal line, we looked like the hockey team we hope to see and be, and hopefully that’s a lesson these guys learn.”
Minnesota shuffled their lines entering the game, but reverted back to more familiar combinations to start the second. Lucia said that his team started anticipating the play in the second period, moving ahead to the next spot on the ice. The Gophers started the swarm the Golden Knights, rotating down on the forecheck, doubling up on pucks, and sustaining pressure by winning battles.
The #12 Gophers (3-2-0) were led by junior Leon Bristedt who scored the game winner and second goal of the game. Junior Mike Szmatula scored Minnesota’s first goal of the game on the power play midway through the second period and Senior captain Justin Kloos scored an even strength tying goal early in the third period. Kloos’ goal was his first 5-on-5 tally of the season, he also had a second assist on the first power play goal of the game.
“It obviously felt good individually to help out the team with a big rally, we played some really good hockey after the first period, so I think that was just a good step for us,” said Kloos. “Obviously stinging a little bit from last weekend, it was huge to come out and find a way to win. A lot of older guys stepped up, I thought Bisch played great, Vinni was working, Cammy made a lot of good plays–it just felt like things were starting to go our way finally.”
Special teams were key on a night with 10 power play chances assessed by ECAC officials, and the Gophers went 2-for-5 on the man advantage while killing 4 of 5 situations short-handed.
Eric Schierhorn was peppered early by the Golden Knights as they scored three goals on 11 shots. Two of the goals against came after turnovers turned into odd-man rush situations, and the third goal against was on the penalty kill after a failed Gopher clear on a rebound. The sophomore only had to make 11 saves in the second, third, and overtime periods as Minnesota outshot Clarkson 25-11 in the final 42 minutes.
“From this game, we just got to bring with us that we have to understand what we did in the second and third period–that’s what we have look like and do every game,” said Bristedt.
The Gophers face #18 St. Lawrence (3-4-0) at Appleton Arena who hosted Wisconsin on Friday. The Skating Saints entered the third period tied with the Badgers 2-2, but gave up three third period goals to lose 5-2 in Canton, N.Y.