Gophers Roll Again
Speed and Forecheck Too Much for Pioneers
A double shutout sweep is certainly a nice way to start the season.
Sacred Heart played a lot better tonight, and there’s no question that the Gophers would have been in trouble against a better team, with the turnovers they had tonight. But they took advantage of the situation, won the game 6 – 0 and gained a bit of confidence (as much as you can against a team that lacked any sort of skill at all) heading into conference play next weekend.
The Gophers scored two goals in each period. Erik Haula netted two, while Zach Budish, Sam Warning, Ben Marshall, and Taylor Matson potted one apiece. No need to go into huge detail on the score sheet, as the opponent kind of masked a sloppy game in which the Gophers turned the puck over a lot and kind of bumped along at times.
Kent Patterson played very well tonight, making two excellent, diving stops.
There are a few things to note, most of the canned variety which Coach Lucia has stressed several times.
Speaking in terms of what was important coming out of this weekend:
“I think it helps from the standpoint that a lot of guys scored their first goals” (he's said this a lot before but it does have a lot of merit)
“Zach Budish scored his first goal after a long rehab” (Zach was fairly active this weekend, it'll be good going into next weekend with one under his belt)
“I liked our goaltender; Kent, he had to make some [good] saves”
“Ever since he took over last year, he’s played at a very high level, giving this team a chance to win”
Nobody is getting ahead of themselves – I’m certain – but a 6 – 0 win which followed up a 9 – 0 win on Friday is a bit of a change of pace for the Gophers, it seems. The Gophers were much sloppier tonight than last night, the power play continued to struggle (especially the full 2 minutes of 5 on 3 time), and no need to mention face-offs (yet), but ultimately they’ll take some confidence to Duluth next weekend which should be key against the defending national champions.
The speed goes up a bit next weekend as the Gophers travel to Duluth to take on the defending national champions. It’s the last scheduled trip to Duluth for the foreseeable future, so get ready for what should be a great weekend of hockey.