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College Hockey:
Minnesota shuts out North Dakota behind Patterson’s 24 saves

— In a game between heated rivals in which records and rankings mean little, the line between winning and losing is hair thin and opportunities must be seized when offered.

Such was the case on Friday night as No. 5 Minnesota and No. 15 North Dakota combined to go 1-for-14 with the man-advantage, but Nick Bjugstad scored the lone power-play goal to provide the difference in Minnesota’s 2-0 win in front of 10,176 at Mariucci Arena.

Tom Serratore added an even strength goal in the final period and Kent Patterson made 24 saves to record his fifth shutout of the season in just nine games. The shutout ties a single-season team record set in 1987-88 by Robb Stauber, who happened to win the Hobey Baker Award that season.

“He’s making some key saves at pivotal moments,” said Minnesota coach Don Lucia of Patterson. “But I like the way the guys are willing to block shots in front of him and clean up the rebounds and pay attention to some details.”

Sioux goaltender Aaron Dell was outstanding in turning away 30 Minnesota shots, including a handful of the spectacular variety. Danny Kristo, Ben Blood and Brock Nelson combined for half of North Dakota’s shots on goal with four each.

North Dakota (3-5-1, 1-4-0 WCHA) has struggled to score this season, scoring just 10 times in its last 163 shots on goal. Sioux coach Dave Hakstol says his team has to loosen up offensively.

“We have some guys that are maybe forcing things a little bit,” said Hakstol. “We played real hard defensively, but we were really pressing real hard offensively and that’s natural for guys that want to be leaders and be difference makers in the game. Sometimes you have to try and step back and loosen up a little bit.”

The intensity of the rivalry came into play in a sloppy, scoreless first period. Both teams appeared to be a bit tentative and in feel-out mode for the most part as passes weren’t crisp and quality scoring chances were few. On the other hand, despite Mariucci Arena’s Olympic-size ice sheet, both teams did well to limit time and space in each end.

A major penalty assessed to Seth Ambroz for contact to the head just 30 seconds in to the second period gave the Sioux a golden opportunity to jump out in front, but Minnesota (8-1-0, 5-0-0 WCHA) killed it off allowing just four shots in the process.

“It was physical, there was blocked shots, goaltending, guys making plays, and there wasn’t a lot of space in the game tonight,” said Lucia. “We were able to do a good job on our kill and maybe get some momentum from our kill because we didn’t give up a lot of looks on it.”

Bjugstad called the game one of his favorite games he has ever played.

“There’s just no better game you can play in,” said Bjugstad. “It’s a man’s game, everyone’s hitting out there, it’s pretty tough and I think that’s what makes it fun.”

Bjugstad got Minnesota on the board at 12:44 of the second period when Kyle Rau maintained puck possession after getting knocked to the ice and alertly found Bjugstad all alone in the left circle. Bjugstad took a couple of strides and fired it over Dell’s right shoulder for a 1-0 Minnesota lead.

“If I wouldn’t have scored, I think I would have caught some (ribs) from the guys,” said Bjugstad. “It was a 3-on-0 and there was some wide open guys, but fortunately it went in.”

“He showed good poise,” said Lucia. “He didn’t just unload it from a distance, he walked right in on the goaltender and made a heck of a shot.”

Hakstol saw it that way, too.

“It was a good shot by Bjugstad,” said Hakstol. “We didn’t have a lot of breakdowns on the penalty kill tonight, but that was one of them and they took advantage of it.

“Both sides played pretty hard on specialty teams, they won that battle 1-0, and that turned out to be the game winner.”

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  • SUEH8TER

    WELL???  ANY QUESTIONS AS TO WHO IS THE BETTER TEAM???  OUT SHOT, OUT SCORED, OUT HIT, OUT PLAYED!!!  SUE SUCK!!!!!   GO GOPHERS!!!!!!!

    • tryplayingsum1good

      Funny how you think the gophers are so great but only score 2 goals after scoring 4+ on every other opponent so far this season. ND may not be the best this year, but it shows when you actually play a decent team that they cant keep up the high scoring. Funny how that works. Neither ND or the goophs will win a championship this year.

      • Kqcap

        Funny that according to you we “finally” Played someone decent… Playing Duluth in their own barn and sweeping is an easy thing? Last I checked they are the defending national champs, and they look pretty damn good. The jt brown kid is an animal. But scoring 10 goals on them in a weekend is an easy thing to do…. We may not have scored 5 on you last night, but guess what, if your boys let down at all tonight they will have more than 2 scored on them. One thing that didn’t change is that is 5 shutouts in 9 games. Enjoy your scoring futility this year boys! You had the best team in the country last year and played in the frozen 4 as close to grand forks as you will ever get….. And you have nothing to show for it. Enjoy your down year! And a down year for our programs is finishing around .500. Us gopher fans have had to deal with it for a couple years now. You can’t just re-load and compete for national championships when you lose that much talent.

        • Anonymous

          With Don Lucia behind the bench? No, you typically can’t. When I checked the calender this morning I noticed something which you seemed to have missed; we’re only 5 days into November.

          Enjoy it, put as much positive spin as you’d like too on Minnesota’s recent history, or lack thereof. Everyone knew that the Sioux would take their share of knocks early, particularly with Rocco Grimaldi sitting on the bench, but most of us also remember the crow-eating that always seems to come in the second half, when the Sioux are riding a hot streak into the NCAA tournament.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IBX3ZLT5XKNZDOL2YZHPVX27VI STEVEN P

            Lucia-2 National Championships
            Hakstol-0 National Championships

            What’s your point?

          • nogofer

            Gofer Nat’l champs with a European skater and a North Dakotan..  You can thank ND for helping tDon…  Now do you understand?  7>5…

          • Sandman7733

            No offense, but how many native North Dakotans currently play for the Sioux?? One?? (couldn’t find a roster for the 2000 UND team)
            They currently have 11 Canadians, 2 Californians and 7 Minnesotans (amongst others), and you criticize the Gophers for having had a European and a North Dakotan during their championship run?? What’s the point??

          • nogofer

            Goofer fans are the fans who created the Nation of Origin arguments when their teams consistently fall behind the Sioux.  Students and hockey players come to the state of North Dakota and UND for the quality education and college experience. The gofers have been the State of Confusion for 3 years.  Now they finally may have a competitive team.  The season is young, don’t let your mouth write a check your hockey team can’t cash…

          • Bnierengarten92

            They go to UND for the ‘quality education’? What a joke… By every comparison (Forbes, US News, etc.), Minnesota is far and away the better university. The rest of the arguments made by you and your Sue buddies are all moot; ND didn’t help Lucia with a title and we always bring up the Nation of Origin argument because, unlike you, we can. To your defense, Dell played out of his mind this weekend and without him, you would’ve seen the scoreboard reflect our powerhouse offense again.
            Why don’t you guys just accept the fact that Gopher hockey is for real this year and, at least for the moment, are better than the Sue.

          • nogofer

            Gofer hockey IS good, for the moment. We’ll see.  If Patty goes down the rodents are road kill.   See you in St Paul.  Or will you again be watching from your couches?

          • Kqcap

            Half your team is from Minnesota so you are welcome moron! Y is it so hard for you Sioux fans to give us credit? Hope you enjoyed the sweep cuz I sure did. Hope the ride up 94 wasn’t too uncomfortable with that broom handle in your butt!

          • nogofer

            While the Gophers are still a “mostly Minnesotan” outfit (21 of 25 players on Don Lucia’s roster hail from the State of Hockey), the current Sioux roster has seven Minnesotans, two from California, and as many players from Arizona, Missouri, Colorado and the District of Columbia (one each) and from the state of North Dakota.  Is that your MN education again? 7 is not half, but 7>5…

      • SUEH8TER

        SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!!

    • Fan Man

      Funny didnt you call the Sioux goons….    How many hits from behind do you think the homer refs will let you get away with tonite?

      • SUEH8TER

        THE SUE ARE GOONS!!!  THERE YOU GO FAN WOMAN, JUST FOR YOU!!

        • nogofer

          You are a child.

        • Fan Man

          Wow are you clever!  I can see you arent ever going to get into the U of M hahaha    Have fun making minimum wage and going to community college you punk hahahahahahahahahqhahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  • erik jensen

    I turn my ear to the north and listen……………….………..nothing, absolutely nothing, all the talk of championships, games and records past meant nothing last night.  The better team won.

    • nogofer

      Can you hear me now?

  • SUEH8TER

    WHERE WAS THE PRE SEASON ROOKIE OF THE YEAR??  RICO SOMETHING??  NEVER HEARD HIS NAME.  IS HE STUCK IN SOME SNOW BANK BACK IN GRAND FORKS??  HA HA HA HA

    • Anonymous

      So, is this tool really the new face of Gopher nation? Way to keep it classy boys.

      • SUEH8TER

        BOO HOO HOO, HOW DOES SOME OF YOUR OWN MEDICINE TASTE???  THE GOPH’S JUST COMPLETED THE SWEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • SUEH8TER

        CLASSY??????  YOU RUBES WROTE THE BOOK ON “CLASS”.  UND IS THE MOST CLASSLESS TEAM IN ALL OF COLLEGE HOCKEY!

        • nogofer

          Yes, you are a child, with horrible manners…

  • SiouxRrebuilding

    Where is Rocco?  I was hoping to see him play.

    The Sioux will surprise me if they finish above 500 this season.  They lost so much talent after last season.  Mattson is a stud but not as good as last year’s #5 Genoway.  We miss Frattin, Malone, Trupp, …

    • Guest

      He’s injured. Lower body maybe? Thought he played last weekend, maybe got reinjured…

      • Anonymous

        Nobody Cares

  • nogofer

    The game was close, as was forecast by OBJECTIVE hockey fans. The Sioux had their chances, the rodents made theirs count.  The rodents deserved to win last night. Good for them.  You chin-dribbling gofer fans haven’t had a good team to cheer for in years so the rest of us understand.  Pretend you know what it is like to cheer for a winner and you’ll enjoy this short run. 

    • Kiilimar

      Yeah, you sound real objective there.  If you were objective, you might appreciate the game for what it was and not bring up the past.

      Desperation is a stinky cologne.

      • nogofer

        Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it.  

        • Bogesmn

          Good point..  guess that means the next time the Sue get to the final four, they will blow it…again.

          • nogofer

            While the gofers watch from their couches at home…

        • Guest

          You are correct mr. nogofer.  Strangely enough though, you seemed don’t actually seem to be concerned with history – as the Gophers have the winning record.

          Overall record:
          142–128–14

          • nogofer

            As gofers like to say, “In this century?”  The Sioux own the gofers in the last 15 meetings…

  • Bonin

    Dell has had his best game of the weekend. Tonight will be more of the same. The gophers will again be quicker to loose pucks, more tenacious on the fore check and more desperate on the backcheck… And again they will win. Tomorrow this guy can top his recap with the lead: “In a series where we said records statistics and rankings meant nothing, the team with the better record, stats and rankin won both games easily, I am an idiot.”

    • Fan Man

      You have obviously not been around enough to know what the heck he said!  That is by far the truest statement made on this site ever.  Unless of course you are in love with Paula j/k!   Have fun and appreaciate the rivalry and the trash talk haha  keep it comin!!!!!!  

  • Guy @ HockeyBias.com

    I thought both teams struggled to pass well and that is probably due to the opponent taking away the proverbial ‘time and space’. The Gophers got stronger as the game went on.

    The Sioux worked hard (as always), but they appear to not be able to replace the points racked up by their many departed players from last year. The fact that UND was not able to score can be attributed in part to improved Minnesota defensive play around Patterson’ crease as well as (possibly) the Sioux’s ongoing struggle to ‘finish’ this year.

    • nogofer

      I concur.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IBX3ZLT5XKNZDOL2YZHPVX27VI STEVEN P

      There was a lot of youth on the ice,and it showed.

    • John John Maclain

      I AGREE!   Im a Sioux fan and it seems as though the talent is there but we just cant finsih..   And where is Rocco when your car is dead and need a jumpstart.   I know he is not the answer but comon man’

  • siouxforever

    Hate to get beat by the Rodents.  Gophs were the better team last nite. As a life time Sioux guy it stinks. Love the trash talk though.  Won’t be the same when the name is gone. GO SIOUX!!

  • Phoenixfyre1313

    Petty bantering aside, other than the first period, which was sloppy by both teams this was an excellent game.  Fans of good hockey can appreciate that.  North Dakota played well, especially Dell who had struggled this year prior to last night.  However, the Gophers were able to come up with the win with timely offense sound and excellent goaltending.  Now, they get to do it all over again.  We can hope for another great game.  To all who are talking about a championship.  It is November, no one is in a position to talk championship about anything.

  • Anonymous

    tDon needs to review the rulebook with his boys before tonights game. When you see those big numbers on the back of a players jersey?

    Stop.

    For all the Minnesota fans that love to toss the phrase “goon squad” around the Gophers were far more deserving of the label last night. Keep your freshmen in check Lucia, there’s intensity and then there’s recklessness.

  • Anonymous

    Hobey Baker: Nick Bjugstad/ Erik Haula
    Freshmen of the year: Kyle Rau
    Goaltender of the year: Kent Patterson

    NCAA Champions: Minnesota Golden Gophers

  • Anonymous

    Hobey Baker: Erik Haula/ Nick Bjugstad
    Freshmen of the year: Kyle Rau
    Goaltender of the year: Kent Patterson

    2011/12 NCAA Champions: Minnesota Golden Gophers

    • nogofer

      Are you on drugs?

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