St. Cloud State completed a sweep of the Gophers at Mariucci Arena on Sunday evening, thanks to the strength of its power play.
The No. 7 Huskies (11-3-0) won 3-2 on Friday behind two power-play goals and 7-4 on Sunday with four power-play goals. The weekend marked the first series since 2011 that the Gophers had been swept at home.
“Today was sort of a tough one,” junior defenseman Jake Bischoff said. “I think we felt like we battled pretty hard and just took a few too many penalties and weren’t able to kill them off.”
Minnesota (4-7-0) has now lost three games in a row and is 2-5 at home so far this year.
The Huskies scored five goals in the first two periods on Sunday.
St. Cloud State was up by one at the end of the first period, with goals from senior Kalle Kossila and redshirt senior David Morley. Bischoff scored the Gophers’ only goal of the first period.
St. Cloud State scored three goals in the second period, including two on the same power play opportunity after a five-minute major was given to junior defenseman Nick
Seeler. The Gophers scored two goals in the period, one by freshman Tyler Sheehy and one by sophomore forward Leon Bristedt, but they were still down two goals heading into the third.
Freshman goalie Eric Schierhorn was pulled at the beginning of the third period. Sophomore Nick Lehr saw his first action all season and allowed one goal in the third period,
a power-play goal by sophomore center Blake Winiecki.
Minnesota brought the game within two towards the end of the final period, but it was too late after Winiecki had an empty-net goal.
The Gophers had 23 penalty minutes in Sunday’s game.
“Their power play is really good. It’s on fire right now,” head coach Don Lucia said. “We can’t be undisciplined, take a couple penalties that we took tonight to give that power play that many opportunities.”
Friday’s game saw a lot less scoring by both teams.
St. Cloud State had an early 1-0 lead after a power play goal by redshirt senior forward David Morley, but the Gophers responded with two goals just over a minute apart from each other to make it 2-1.
Bischoff tied the game on a slap shot from the blue line to tie the game. Bristedt then scored a goal on a wrap-around to give the Gophers a one-goal lead. “Leon made a nice play on the wrap-around to get a goal,” Lucia said. “The inability to score that next goal [limited us]. Where’s that third goal? Got to get that third goal. We made a couple mistakes, and we paid for it.”
Senior forward Jimmy Murray tied the game back up early in the third period after getting his own rebound and shooting again past Schierhorn.
Senior forward Joey Benik regained the lead for the Huskies following Murray’s goal, after scoring his team-leading eighth goal of the season in the third period.
“They had two goals there,” Bristedt said. “It’s going to be tough to win if you allow two power-play goals every night.”
Minnesota finished the weekend 3-4 on power plays, after starting the season 5-34.
“Our power play was good this weekend, those are some things that we need to be able to build on,” Lucia said. “[Turnovers] are some things we can control. We have to do
everything we can to limit the mistakes we can control.”