Gophers Fall to Best Team in the Country
St Cloud. (GopherSports.com) – The Gophers scored first against top-ranked St. Cloud State but could not capitalize on the early momentum, falling 5-2 at the National Hockey Center on Saturday night.
No. 10 Minnesota (12-9-1, 4-7-1-1 Big Ten) did not get the start it wanted in the home-and home series with No. 1 St. Cloud State as the Huskies ripped 34 shots on net against Eric Schierhorn, while Minnesota had 11 of its 23 total shots in the third period.
The road team jumped on the board early in the first when Mike Szmatula netted a goal at 2:34 of the first, taking advantage of a neutral zone turnover and a 2-on-1 breakaway to rip his seventh of the season, assisted by Brent Gates Jr. After a Minnesota penalty, St. Cloud State drew even at 8:49 of the first when Robby Jackson scored from the point with the man advantage. The two teams would take the 1-1 tie to the locker room, while the Huskies held an 11-7 advantage in shots after one.
St. Cloud would score early in both the second and third periods, as Mikey Eyssimont tallied a pair of scores at 00:50 of the second and 1:27 of the third. The Huskies got another goal from Easton Brodzinski at 5:36 of the second, taking a 3-1 lead the locker room after two and 4-1 early in the third. The Maroon & Gold put themselves back on the board at 7:06 of the third when Gates knocked down a shot by Steve Johnson to deflect it through the five-hole of St. Cloud’s Jeff Smith and cut the lead down to two. Jack Ahcan would add one more for the Huskies later in the period as they celebrated a 5-2 win on home ice.
Schierhorn (11-9-1) made 29 stops for Minnesota while Smith (8-1-3) stopped 21 pucks for the Huskies.