Gophers Bounce Back, Shutout Huskies
Bjugstad’s Hat Trick, Patterson’ Record Shutout Lead Way
“We were all pretty sour on the bus ride home” said a much happier Nick Bjugstad after the game tonight, referencing the loss on Friday night.
Probably should have had more than two points this weekend, but games like Friday night when you don’t finish maybe can be a good reminder of what you need to work on. Regardless, the Gophers pounded St. Cloud in the back end of the home and home series on Saturday night. The final was 5 – 0, leading the way was Bjugstad with his first hat trick as a Gopher and Kent Patterson etching his name in the Gopher record books with his 6th shutout of the season.
Puck possession was the name of the game tonight as it seemed the Gophers had a good 70% of possession time over the course of the game. It didn’t generate a lot of chances early but it did help them get a lead.
And 44 seconds is all it took to pad it.
Burying their first two odd man rushes of the night (after missing on like 100 last night), Nick Bjugstad and Jake Hansen potted nice goals on the rush. Bjugstad’s was in close, taking a pass in the slot from Zach Budish, streaking in and flipping a shot upper-corner on Huskies goalie Ryan Faragher. Just 44 seconds after that, Hansen buried a shot five-hole by lining himself up, faking then shooting, finishing off a two on one with Erik Haula.
“We had ten odd man rushes (last night) and we didn’t get a shot on goal” said Lucia after the game, clearly a bit more relieved with the way they executed tonight.
After a bit of a lull in the 2nd period, the Gophers finally erupted in the third with two more quick goals and Bjugstad’s hat trick tally. Bjugstad scored two basically identical goals – taking passes from Nate Schmidt to his wing on the left side and blasting home one time shots. In the middle was a nice wrist shot – through a bit of traffic – by Mark Alt.
Bjugstad spoke directly about his ‘one-timer’ connection with Schmidt afterwards.
“They took Schmidt in today and watched video” he said. “They said I was pretty open last night.” Lucia made a similar comment in that they asked Nate to “open up his left eye” while on the power play.
Shadowed on the night was Kent Patterson’s 6th shutout of the season a record for a Gopher goalie. Kent – looking like a ‘70’s action drama star with his Movember mustache – shook off the praise and gave it back to his defense. “I just have to give credit to the defense” he said, very simply. He also took a couple of shots that rattled his mask among his 30 saves.
To sum up the weekend…poor defensive play and a lack of finishing on Friday, much better all around on Saturday, taking care of a team you should take care of more often than not.
Let’s move on….enough with conference play for a week. The Gophers take a break from the WCHA and head to East Lansing after Thanksgiving for a two game set with the Spartans, Friday and Saturday night. Both games are live on FSN at 6PM.