Gophers Bounce Back, Gain Split
Offensive Talent Overpowers Punchless Badgers
One night after playing their worst game of the season, the Gophers bounced back with a fairly dominating performance on Saturday night. They outskated, outshot and most certainly out-chanced the Badgers to the tune of a 4 – 1 victory.
The first period was a good summary of the entire game except for the score. After twenty minutes, the Gophers had a 12 – 3 shot advantage, but left the period tied. Seth Helgeson scored his first of the season with a shot from the point through traffic, just 6:12 into the game.
Bucky tied the game at one with just under five minutes to go in the period. Tyler Barnes finished off a nice tic-tac-toe play when on a four-on-four situation. Kent Patterson was left out to dry as the four Gopher skaters on the ice were dazed by the crisp passing of the Badgers.
The second period didn’t feature any scoring but a couple of interesting situations. The Badgers basically spiked themselves, screwing up two fantastic scoring chances. After a questionable five minute checking from behind call that the Gophers couldn’t score on (seemingly nobody does on these calls anymore), logic figured that the Badgers would come back with some momentum.
Not the case. Goldy simply took over the game after their power play futility.
The Badgers, after spending a long shift in the own zone without a change, couldn’t get the puck up ice and got caught changing. Nate Condon got the puck through the neutral zone and drew two defenders to him. He made a nice pass over to a streaking Taylor Matson, who five holed Joel Rumpel for a lead the Gophers would not relinquish.
About five minutes later, Nick Bjugstad ended it. He intercepted a brutal pass at the Badger blue line, took a couple of strides and just toasted Rumpel with an upper corner laser beam of a shot.
And unlike recent Gopher teams, this version keeps the pedal on the gas. Nate Condon ended the scoring shortly after – and capped a great third period – by outhustling the Badger defense to a loose puck, raced in on a breakaway and put it past Rumpel.
Weekend summary: Friday = toilet. Saturday = much better. The Gophers are a significantly better team that Wisconsin. A sweep would have been nice, but games like Friday night happen to every team from time to time. Let’s move on to next weekend. St. Cloud is ready and waiting for the Gophers for the first end of a home and home series as conference play continues before a one-week reprieve over Thanksgiving.