Kloos Nets First Hat Trick as Gopher
Photo by: Craig Cotner
Kloos with the Hat Trick!.
Minneapolis, Minn. – Justin Kloos thought his team got outworked Friday and he wanted to make sure they didn’t that happen in back-to-back games. The sophomore forward scored three goals, including the overtime game-winner, and led Minnesota to a 4-3 win over St. Cloud State in front of 10,025 at Mariucci Arena on Saturday.
“There’s no question, Friday we came out flat. That was one thing we were going to prevent,” said Kloos. “If we went down, we were going to go down with speed, effort. We weren’t going to lose due to our effort tonight.”
Minnesota’s compete level was evident from puck drop. Forwards were finishing checks and were winning the battles for loose pucks as the team outshot St. Cloud State 12-2 in the first period.
“[Goaltender Charlie] Lindgren is the reason we were even close to being in the game, that’s the good thing. The bad thing, why was he the only guy,” said St. Cloud State Coach Bob Motzko. ”They had much more jump, they were much more physical, they got to the point of impact much harder than we did. We both played the same amount of minutes, we just couldn’t get going the way we wanted to get going tonight.”
Gophers Coach Don Lucia agreed.
“Our effort level was a lot better, our knees were bent and we went after some pucks,” said Lucia. “Even if we wouldn’t have won the game tonight I was much happier with how we played than last night.”
The Gophers effort paid off with a goal 12 second into the second period. Kyle Rau took the puck down the left wing, right at Huskies goaltender on a power play zone entry, and at the last minute backhanded the puck to the far post, leaving Kloos an easy-tap in.
St. Cloud State tied up the game at 6:27 when defenseman Andrew Prochno wristed a puck from the point through traffic into the upper-left corner. Ethan Prow gave the Huskies a 2-1 lead 12:13 into the second period when his point shot found the back of the net for a power play goal.
Kloos got his second of game just 11 seconds before the end of the second period at 19:48. Ben Marshall sent a long stretch pass to Taylor Cammarata down the left wing. Cammarata stepped into the zone and left a drop for Kloos. Kloos stepped into the middle of the rink and had all the time he needed to put the puck up top.
The Gophers took the lead back 2:09 into the third period when Kloos won a battle behind the net for a loose puck, the team worked it around from Seth Ambroz to Ryan Collins, and Connor Reilly one-timed the puck in the back of the net for his third goal of the season.
The Huskies tied up the game late in the third period when David Morley broke up a breakout pass from Collins to Rau. Joey Benik jumped on the loose puck to tie the game 3-3 at 14:34.
The game went to overtime and this time it was Cammarata winning a puck battle below the goal line. The 5’7” 154 lbs forward won the puck and slipped it out to Kloos who wristed the puck past Lindgren’s glove for the winner 1:19 into the extra period.
“Obviously yesterday we were forcing a lot of plays, today we were calm and it was a better game,” said Cammarata. “It was such a hard game, a long game, it was good to get the win at the end.”
Minnesota defensemen Brady Skjei suffered a lower body injury during the second period after a collision. The defensemen tried to get treatment and skate it off, but was ruled out for the game and is considered day-to-day.
“We had a couple freshman [defensemen Collins and Steve Johnson], that don’t have much experience, and they had to play,” said Lucia. “You couldn’t hide ‘em, they were going to be out against their top line at times. They did a pretty good job overall, we didn’t give up many shots.”
The Gophers seemed to expect Skjei back in the lineup fairly soon, but Travis Boyd might be a different situation. The senior forward will be out at least a month.
“He’s obviously a good senior leader, he’s had a great year for us both penalty kill, power play, all facets of the game, said Kloos. “Everyone had to step up and it was good we were able to get one today. “
Next weekend Minnesota welcomes Notre Dame to Mariucci Arena. Friday night’s game is a 7:00 PM puck drop (BTN, BTN2Go, 1500 ESPN). Sunday's game is another early 4:00 PM start (ESPNU, WATCHESPN, 1500 ESPN).
GOLDEN NUGGETS: Motzko cut his defensive corps short at the end of the game and thought they were fatigued and couldn’t handle the ice time. Credited the Gophers for getting the puck deep behind them and making them work…. Connor Reilly got a little dinged up in the last week and it sounded like he was off the power play in practice this week. He joined the first unit in the third period in Taylor Cammarata’s right wing spot.
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