Gophers Dominate, Take Game with Late Goal
It was tougher than it should have been – but the Gophers pulled off the sweep with a little bit of good luck. After dominating from start to finish, Sam Warning slammed home the winner with 1:19 left, continuing the Gopher dominance on Saturday nights with a 3 – 2 win in Stearns County.
St. Cloud opened the scoring after a very bad non-call against the Gophers. Nate Condon was sprung on a breakaway, was slashed and hooked, but no call. Up came the Huskies the other way, and with three players crashing the crease – literally – Ben Hanowski somehow got a weak wrist shot through Patterson.
The Gophers would not be deterred and continued to play their game. It got them a one goal lead that should have held up the rest of the way.
Ben Marshall and Erik Haula – scoring his first goal in seemingly months – tallied on the power play and it seemed like the Gophers could lock it down in the third period. But just before the second period buzzer, Kent Patterson awoke memories of Jeff Frazee in the same building. Hanowski put even a weaker shot – from behind the goal line – and somehow it hit Patterson and trickled through his pads and the game was somehow tied after two.
St. Cloud had ten shots on goal for the game with under eight minutes to go. And even though St. Cloud was completely out of gas and seemingly happy with a tie, when you dominate a team and keep them in it, the worry is that a bad bounce will cost you.
But the Gophers weren’t to be denied and a great tic-tac-toe play won it for them with 79 seconds to go. Taylor Matson forced a turnover at the Gopher blue line. Sam Warning to Jake Hansen to Justin Holl back to Warning and a slap home gave the Gophers the win.
Basically, St, Cloud goalie Ryan Faragher carried the Huskies tonight. They wouldn’t have had a chance without him. And ultimately, when you give up 25 shots on net over two full games, a sweep is a necessity. But this win was very big for Pairwise and WCHA standings as Duluth dropped a game at home tonight to Michigan Tech. The Gophers head into their bye week with a five point lead over Duluth (the Bulldogs do have two games in hand). Enjoy the weekend off as the stretch run begins in Denver on February 10th.