Well, that went just about as bad as it could, so let's recap Friday night as quick as we can. The Gophers were outshot 43-22, lost the faceoff battle 42-26, gave up 2 power-play goals and one short-handed goal, and were slower to the puck the whole game. The night was essentially lost at 1-0, when Jason Gregoire scored 2:17 into the first period. Gopher G Alex Kangas was unable to deal with a side shot, the puck slid into the crease, Taylor Matson was unable to clear the puck, and Gregoire swooped for the goal. After that, the Gophers were slow, reactive, and on the back foot. The Gophers' first line (Schroeder, Barribell and Hoeffel) only had 4 shots (and obviously, zero points) for the game. The result was the Gophers' first sustained shutout against the Sioux since the 1999-2000 season.
This quote says it all, and provides optimism, from North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol:
"Other than an exhibition game, Minnesota was playing its first game tonight," North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol said. "They will be better and sharper tomorrow."
Damn the scheduling gods. Okay, my three stars from Friday, because this is hockey:
(1) Alex Kangas (G - MN) - this is a Gopher website, alright? Played well despite giving up 4 goals (yes, other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?) and hopefully will remember the technical positives coming out of Friday, rather than the flashing light behind him.
(2) Jason Gregoire (F - ND) - the first goal in a hockey game is always important (cliche meter: high, but it's more important in soccer), and Gregoire was opportunistic in scoring.
(3) Brad Eidsness (G - ND) - goalies who get shutouts should be recognized. Here you go, Brad. Don't make it a habit.