Gophers Lose Opening Game in Minnesota Tournament
SAINT PAUL, MN (GopherSports.com) – The line of Connor Reilly, Justin Kloos and Tyler Sheehy gave Minnesota the lead twice but it wasn't enough as the Gophers lost 4-2 to Bemidji State to open the North Star College Cup.
Minnesota (13-11-0 overall, 8-2-0-0 Big Ten) ran its streak of unblemished penalty kills up to 22 on Saturday before the Beavers ended the run with a power-play goal late in the third that turned out to be the deciding tally.
With assists from Sheehy and Kloos, Reilly put the Gophers up early with his fourth goal of the year just 3:33 into the opening Stanza on Saturday. The redshirt junior now has three goals in the last four games and a five-game point streak entering Sunday’s weekend finale.
The Beavers (11-10-5, 7-9-4 WCHA) made it an even game at 7:30 of the second period when John Parker forced a rebound into the net. Minnesota goaltender Eric Schierhorn made two initial saves on the play before Parker finally slid home the equalizer.
After two goals in the opening 40 minutes of play, the teams combined for four in the third although the Beavers held a 3-1 margin in the final stanza.
Kloos reclaimed a lead for the Maroon & Gold with his 10th goal of the season at 7:52 of the third period when he poked in a loose puck off assists from Reilly and Sheehy. Kloos has now scored a goal in six-straight games for Minnesota – marking a career best for the team captain (six-straight games with a point are also a new career record for Kloos).
But the Beavers added three-straight goals to end the night as Cory Ward netted the equalizer at 11:00 before Markus Gerbrandt scored a power-play goal at 16:06 for the deciding tally. Gerbrandt added an empty netter at 18:54 to seal the win for Bemidji State.
Schierhorn made 29 saves on the night for the Gophers, moving to 13-11-0 in his 24th-straight start.
Minnesota will take on No. 19 Minnesota State on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT in the North Star College Cup third-place game while the Beavers will play for their second-straight tournament title at 4 p.m. against No. 3 St. Cloud State. Both games will be broadcast on FOX Sports North.