Gophers Shut Out
Terrible Effort, Typical Result against Pioneers
This was neither the time nor place for this type of showing.
“When you get outshot 8 – 2 on your own power play on the night” Coach Lucia started. “That’s not going to be your night.”
Denver is a solid team, but an effort like this with two weeks to go in the season is puzzling. The Gophers looked totally lost versus Denver’s neutral zone lock and defensive zone pressure, and lose 2 – 0 on Friday night in front of the quietest group of 10,094 (supposedly) people that you’ll find.
Denver led 10 – 4 in shots on goal after the first period. Neither team had any sustained attack; Denver did a good job in the neutral zone, and easily neutralized the slumping Gopher power play by pressuring the puck.
The game remained scoreless after two periods; the second stanza featured a bit more action but only a few scoring chances for both teams. The second period has not been that friendly to the Gophers this season but they seemed to gain some momentum towards the end with their best zone possession time of the game.
Yet, just when it seemed like the Gophers could take advantage in the third, they give up a goal 18 seconds into the period and it destroyed the game. Adam Wilcox – on the most harmless shot possible – gives up a huge, juicy rebound and Shawn Ostrow – untouched – poked it through. Just an awful goal to give up, but not surprising as Wilcox, over the last couple of weeks, has not been able to control many shots.
The Gophers began working and skating quite a bit harder post-Denver goal but could get little through to the net or connect on any plays. How there could be little to no chemistry between the guys on the top line is a mystery but it wasn’t lost on Lucia, saying they “weren’t in the same area code”. Denver added an empty net goal with 15 seconds left to finish the scoring.
Coach Lucia never really rips his teams even after poor efforts or when they need it. But his five minutes of candid and honest post game comments were really telling. He wasn’t in the yelling type mood – but perhaps that was because he gave them “an earful”, following that with “they might not feel better, but I do”. He seemed generally upset with the way tonight went down. We’ll see what effect that has on this team tomorrow for the rematch at 7PM.