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Minnesota Golden Gopher Hockey: Justin Kloos' Hat Trick Leads Gophers past SCSU Huskies 4-3 in OT

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Hannah Foslien

First Period

After last night's performance, I was hoping for a white-hot start from the Gophers.  I didn't really get it, but the Gophers played a solid period.  The power power play did not look great in their first opportunity, in which they didn't produce any shots, but overall it was a solid period of hockey.

Noticeably different from last night: Minnesota minimized mistakes in the defensive zone.

The Gophers started to tilt the ice towards the Huskies' net about half way through the period.  The pressure did not immediately translate to shots on goal or scoring opportunities.

With about five and a half minutes left, Robin Hoglund was called for interference after checking a player in possession of the puck.  I can't for the life of me figure out how that was called interference.  The Gophers did a really nice job of killing the resulting penalty.

With the exception of the two minutes spent killing the penalty, the Gophers dominated the second half of the period.  The pressure finally resulted in a penalty when Patrick Russell dragged down Mike Reilly breaking toward the net on a fast break.  The Gophers maintained good zone time on the power play, but continually turned up shooting opportunities from fifteen feet away from the crease.

The period ended 0-0, despite the Gophers only allowing two shots on goal in the period.

Second Period

Kyle Rau and Justin Kloos wasted no time in potting the first goal of the game just eleven seconds in to the period.  With Russell still in the penalty box, Rau broke down the left side of the ice and slid a pass across the crease to the trailing Kloos who buried the puck and his entire body in the net.

The Huskies tied the game six and a half minutes in to the game when Andrew Prochno shelfed a wrist shot through traffic.  After the goal, SCSU had the better of the play through the second half of the period.

Brady Skjei was hobbled by a Husky player sliding into his legs in the neutral zone.  He would leave the bench and go to the locker room.  Hopefully the injury isn't too serious, as the Gophers will apparently be without Travis Boyd for several weeks after an injury last night.

Michael Brodzinski took an unnecessary cross checking penalty eleven minutes into the period.  St. Cloud's power play is scary with Jonny Brodzinski and Kalle Kossila.  They move the puck really well at the top of the zone, which eventually led to a goal by Ethan Prow to give the Huskies a 2-1 lead.  It was only their ninth shot of the game.

The Gophers would get the forecheck into a groove in the last couple of minutes of the period, but goals did not come until Justin Kloos knifed into the slot and deposited a wrist shot into the top corner of SCSU goaltender Charlie Lindgren's net with 10 seconds remaining. The game was tied 2-2 with the teams heading to the locker room.

Third Period

The Gophers struck early in the third with a Connor Reilly finagled a wrister through traffic two minutes in to the period.  The shot was the result of a ton of Gopher pressure and some nice puck movement.

The period progressed evenly after Kloos took a tripping penalty, which the Gophers killed off.

The sloppiness that plagued the Gophers Friday night returned to bite them tonight.  Kyle Rau turned the puck over to the Huskies just inside the Minnesota blue line, and Joey Benik snuck the puck past Adam Wilcox to tie the game with five minutes to go.

So, after giving up a lead twice in this game, the Gophers were headed to OT with the Huskies.

Overtime

Guess who came up big for the Gophers in OT?  Justin Kloos.  He buried a shot from right in front of Charlie Lindgren after a nice pass from Taylor Cammarata.  The Gophers escaped with an OT win on the strength of Kloos's first career hat trick.  In his last three games against SCSU, Kloos has five goals.

Gophers win 4-3 in OT!