MINNEAPOLIS — Jay Barriball made key plays on the offensive and defensive ends of the ice Sunday, helping No. 20 Minnesota get its first WCHA win of the season.
Barriball scored the game-winning goal late in the first period and blocked a shot with 20 seconds left to cement a 2-1 victory over No. 14 St. Cloud State at Mariucci Arena.
“Jay scores the game-winning goal and makes a key block. Those are what are nice to see from a leader,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. “I think that shows a lot to the rest of his teammates.”
The Huskies dominated the third period after a slow start in the first two periods. They outshot and out-worked Minnesota in the final stanza 13-5.
“We were just sluggish early in the game,” St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko said. “I give our guys credit. I thought we woke up in the third.”
Kent Patterson played strong for Minnesota in net. He made a critical save while killing a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty early in the third.
“You could tell he was on, because it seemed like all the pucks were hitting him in the chest,” Lucia said.
It was a different start for Minnesota. The Gophers held a lead going into the third for the first time in three games and the one-goal advantage held up.
St. Cloud opened the scoring at 6:12 of the first on a screen shot by Brett Barta from the blue line. The play followed a two-on-one rush by St. Cloud. The puck went behind the net and Minnesota was unable to clear. Mitch MacMillan picked up the puck and fed it to Kevin Gravel, who passed to Barta for the blue line slapper through heavy traffic.
The Gophers changed their recent fate of falling behind by multiple goals when Jacob Cepis tied the game at 6:45.
Zach Budish found Cepis on the goal line in the left corner. Cepis skated in on goal and tapped his own rebound through Dan Dunn’s pads.
“They scored that first goal and we responded right away and scored right away on the very next shift,” Lucia said. “That was important to us.”
Barriball made it 2-1 for Minnesota on the power play at 18:30, and the Gophers had a lead for the first time in three games. Cepis set up the play with a cross-crease pass to a wide-open Barriball. Barriball got just enough stick on it to slide it past the defender’s stick.
The Gophers held the advantage of play through the first, outshooting St. Cloud 10-5, including 5-3 inside the circles.
The second period was highlighted by a series of minor penalties, mostly on Minnesota. The Gophers killed three power-play chances for the Huskies, holding the, to two shots for the first 10 minutes of the period. The Huskies started to gather momentum late, generating six shots, five in tight on Patterson.