Kent Patterson and Nick Bjugstad paced the Gophers to a 5-0 rout and a series split of St. Cloud State on Saturday at Mariucci Arena.
Bjugstad netted his first career hat trick, but the senior goaltender stole the show. Patterson stopped 30 shots Saturday en route to his school-record sixth shutout of the season.
“It’s not often a guy gets a hat trick and kind of gets upstaged, but tonight that’s the case with Kent being able to put his name in the record books,” head coach Don Lucia said Saturday.
Patterson broke the previous record of five shutouts in a season set by Robb Stauber in 1987-88. He had been tied with Stauber for the last four games.
“Our team did a great job of clearing guys out, letting me see the puck,” Patterson said. “I’ve just got to give credit to my defense for clearing those guys and giving me a chance.”
His performance was a much-needed remedy after No. 1 Minnesota (11-3-0, 8-2-0 WCHA) dropped the first game of the home-and-home series Friday in St. Cloud.
SCSU jumped out to an early lead Friday in front of a rowdy home crowd of 5,772 and withstood a late push by the Gophers to win the first half of the series.
“It’s a tough game, it’s a rivalry game,” senior captain Taylor Matson said Friday. “We knew they’d have a lot of energy at home.”
Ben Hanowski netted a goal for the Huskies to make it 1-0 at 3:52 into the game following a costly Ben Marshall turnover in the Minnesota zone.
Nick Bjugstad responded when he housed a goal top shelf on the power play to even the score at 1-1.
Cam Reid, Nic Dowd and Jared Festler added three tap-in goals following defensive lapses by the Gophers to stretch the lead to 4-1.
“We just made some poor plays,” Lucia said. “I was certainly no goal scorer, but I think I could have had at least three of those tonight.”
In the third period, the lead seemed nearly insurmountable, but Minnesota battled back.
Tom Serratore scored with 5:01 remaining in the game to keep hope alive for Minnesota.
Then, with 3:08 to play, Kyle Rau found his spot in the crease and pounded in a goal that cut the deficit to one.
Minnesota was unable to net the tying goal after it pulled Patterson with a minute left.
Ryan Faragher gloved nearly everything in sight Friday in his 40-save performance. He didn’t fare as well on Saturday.
Bjugstad put the Gophers on the board first when he took a Zach Budish feed and ripped a wrist shot that ricocheted down off the crossbar into the net to make it 1-0.
Jake Hansen beat Faragher five-hole just 44 seconds later to stretch the lead to two.
Faragher was a conundrum to the Gophers on Friday, but with two early goals Saturday it appeared they had solved the freshman goaltender.
“We realized we had to stay away from his glove — he had a hot glove last night,” Bjugstad said Saturday.
Neither team scored in the second period, but the Gophers more than made up for it in the third.
Bjugstad netted his second goal on a one-timer from the left circle after a beautiful assist from Nate Schmidt to set him up.
That opened the floodgates.
Mark Alt got into the scoring action 31 seconds later when he deked a defender a fired a shot past Faragher.
Though the game was well in hand at that point, Bjugstad would not be denied his third goal.
Once again on the power play, Bjugstad earned the hat trick with another one-timer from the left circle — nearly identical to his second goal of the game.
“They took Schmidt in today and watched video and noticed I was pretty open last night,” Bjugstad said.
Schmidt listened and Bjugstad did the rest.
“Obviously [Bjugstad] was huge tonight,” Lucia added. “It was nice to see him respond, because he was probably responsible for a couple of those goals we gave up [Friday] night.
“That’s what you want to see an elite player do, is come back and put forth an effort like that tonight.”