Gophers Falter in the 3-2 final at UND
GRAND FORKS, ND – A pair of third-period goals and a frenzy in the closing minutes failed to tie the game as Gopher’s No. 11/12 men’s hockey schedule failed in a 3-2 game with No. 6/5 North Dakota.
One night after Minnesota took a big lead in a 5-1 series opener on Saturday, the Fighting Hawks followed suit as the home side built a three-goal lead with goals of Gavin Hain in the first half, Mark Senden in the second and another from Senden at the start of the third.
Minnesota (9-7-0 overall, 5-3-0-0-1-0 Big Ten) responded to UND’s last goal with a power-play tally of Ben meyer before Chaz lucius brought the Maroon & Gold in a later period. Meyers and Lucius led the Gophers with a goal and an assist every time Jackson LaCombe and Sammy walker additional aids.
North Dakota (10-5-0, 5-1-0 NCHC) pushed back visitors to save a split in the 300th meeting between the two longtime varsity hockey rivals (Minnesota holds a record 149- 135-16 against UND).
Jack LaFontaine (9-7-0) made 23 saves for the Gophers while Zach Driscoll (10-5-0) made 11 saves for the Fighting Hawks.
The Gophers were outscored 26-13 on the night for their lowest shooting total of the season. The two teams were 1 to 2 on the advantage.
“I’m disappointed with the way we played tonight. That’s the gist,” Minnesota head coach Bob motzko noted. “You have to be ready to play. We didn’t come up with the right jump tonight, and they did.”
Grant Cruikshank skated in his 100th career game on Saturday – the forward is in his first season with the Gophers after three years at Colorado College.
To be continued: First semi-final
Minnesota returns to the Big Ten and ends the first half next weekend with a two-game streak in Michigan. The tilt of the conference begins Friday, December 3 at 5:30 p.m. CT (TV: Big Ten Network; Stream: FOX Sports App; Radio: 1130 KTLK-AM / 103.5 FM) with the final scheduled for Saturday, December 4 at 6 p.m. h 00 CT (TV: Big Ten Network; Streaming: FOX Sports app; Radio: 1130 KTLK-AM / 103.5 FM).