Next Up: Gophers

      Minnesota Duluth heads to Mariucci Arena this week for games with Minnesota on Friday and Saturdayin Minneapolis. The Gophers will be working on a short week, following a home game Sunday with Bemidji State. Minnesota matched its most one-sided loss of the season in a 6-2 defeat against Bemidji State. Here’s one more look at that game from Roman Augustoviz of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press from Monday editions:

Roman Augustoviz, Minneapolis Star Tribune

     Minnesota coach Don Lucia was a strong supporter of Bemidji State’s bid to become a WCHA member next season. This past week he kept repeating the Beavers were ready to join arguably the nation’s toughest conference.
     Exhibit A could be Sunday’s game at Mariucci Arena. The No. 7 Beavers showed their strong bite, embarrassing the Gophers 6-2 before an announced crowd of 9,913. Twice Lucia switched goalies, pulling starter Alex Kangas after the first period and then putting him back in at 3 minutes, 4 seconds of the third when Kent Patterson was being shelled.
     Patterson departed after giving up three goals in a 2 1/2-minute span that ballooned the Beavers’ 3-1 lead to 6-1.
     "They counter-attack well. They were waiting for us to make some mistakes, and we made some mistakes," Lucia said. "We had some guys who, quite frankly, had a bad weekend on back-to-back nights. We overcame it [Saturday] night but we didn’t tonight."
     Bemidji State (8-1-1) had not beaten the Gophers in seven previous meetings since becoming a Division I program in 1999-2000. Minnesota won Saturday’s series opener 4-1.
     "It’s a monumental win," Beavers coach Tom Serratore said. "This is Minnesota pride on ice. It’s a great program. Any time you can win in this building you take it. It’s a very difficult place to play."
     The Beavers looked very comfortable, though, as the third period began.
     Defenseman Brad Hunt got the Beavers rolling with a power-play goal at 1:38 from 45 feet straight out. Jamie MacQueen scored his second goal of the game unassisted 14 seconds later on a breakaway and then Aaron McLeod joined the BSU spree with a short backhander.
     "We got some breaks and some pucks landed our way early in the third," Serratore said. "Obviously I am surprised by the margin, but again things happen. It’s a weird game, hockey, no question."
     The Beavers took a 2-0 lead in the first period by scoring on half their shots on net. Shea Walters scored an unassisted goal from 30 feet out at 8:00 after intercepting a pass at midice. Matt Read, one of the nation’s top scorers, made it 2-0 BSU with a shot from the right dot with 50 seconds left in the period.
     The Gophers (4-5-1) outshot the Beavers 10-4 and had their chances in the opening period, too, but nothing clicked.
     Jordan Schroeder’s power-play goal midway through the second period cut the Beavers’ lead to 2-1. Mathieu Dugas, a 21-year-old freshman from L’Assomption, Quebec, had shut out Northern Michigan in his only other college start and held the Gophers scoreless for 1 1/2 periods.
     A five-minute major penalty on Zach Budish for checking from behind at 13:50 of the middle period got the Gophers in more trouble. Their streak of killing off 24 consecutive penalties ended when MacQueen scored 2:21 into the power play to put the Beavers ahead 3-1. His shot glanced off the inside post.
     A minute before MacQueen’s goal, the Gophers’ Tony Lucia had a breakaway but his shot hit the crossbar.
"If that goes in, it is 2-2," coach Lucia said. "But you still got to make plays and finish out the game."
     The visitors did.
 

Brian Murphy, St. Paul Pioneer Press

     Puck control, tight goaltending and discipline are hallmarks of any winning hockey team, but the Minnesota Gophers showed none of that Sunday night and remain a losing club because of it.
     Feasting on turnovers and power plays aplenty, the Bemidji State Beavers scored three goals in a span of 1 minute, 26 seconds early in the third period to high step out of Mariucci Arena with a 6-2 victory and a series split with their in-state rivals.

     Bemidji State’s first win over Minnesota in eight tries since joining Division I in 2000 should serve the Beavers well heading into their inaugural season in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in 2010-11.

     Things are going just fine for the Beavers, who halted their one-game losing streak after the Gophers’ 4-1 victory Friday night to improve to 8-1-1.

     "Any time you win in this building, you take it," said Beavers coach Tom Serratore. "I’m very proud of our guys."

     The Gophers (3-5-1) failed for the second time this season to crack the .500 mark and remain muddled somewhere between mind-bogglingly inconsistent and scatterbrained.

     The effort was there Sunday. So was the playmaking Minnesota’s roster is capable of unleashing every night. But the Gophers were too careless to earn the breaks they spoon-fed Bemidji State, which scored six goals on 19 shots.

     "They cashed in on their chances, and we didn’t," said Gophers coach Don Lucia. "We’re not a good enough team to turn pucks over. We just had guys who had some bad weekends. We overcame it last night, but we didn’t tonight." 
     The Beavers scored two power play goals and converted three turnovers, turning a two-goal lead into a five-goal cushion by the three-minute mark of the third period.

     Frustrated by his team’s offensive woes, Jordan Schroeder took a crosschecking penalty while skirmishing with a Beaver player in the offensive zone during the dying seconds of the second period, leaving the Gophers shorthanded to start the pivotal third.

     With 22 seconds left in Schroeder’s penalty, Brad Hunt snapped a shot through traffic and past Kent Patterson to give the Beavers a 4-1 lead.

     Within a minute and a half, it was 6-1 on goals by Jamie MacQueen and fourth-line freshman Aaron McLeod. That prompted Lucia to make his second goalie change of the game, yanking Patterson in favor of starter Alex Kangas.

     Bemidji State started freshman goalie Mathieu Dugas, and he was magnificent as the Gophers attacked for the first several minutes only to come up empty.

     At the eight-minute mark, a terrible giveaway by David Fischer ended up on Shea Walter’s stick at center ice. He cruised in and beat Kangas for a quick lead.

     Another turnover, this one by Schroeder in the offensive zone, launched Matt Read on a rink-long scoring strut through the Gophers’ end in the final minute.

     Two goals on four shots was all Lucia needed to see from Kangas, the reigning WCHA defensive player of the week, and he replaced him with Patterson to start the second.

     Momentum still was there for the taking, however self-inflicted wounds prevented the Gophers from seizing it.

     At one point, the scoreboard betrayed a 20-8 shots advantage after Schroeder cashed in on the power play for Minnesota at 9:19.

     Then, with seven minutes remaining and the Gophers trailing 2-1, freshman Zach Budish drew a game misconduct and five-minute penalty for checking Bemidji State defenseman Dan MacIntyre from behind into the end boards.

     "That’s a learning experience for a freshman," Lucia said. "You’ve got to wrap a guy up going into the boards. It was the correct call."

     Shorthanded, Tony Lucia broke in alone on Dugas and beat the Beavers goalie only to rattle the crossbar. The Gophers couldn’t kill the rest of Budish’s major without yielding a power-play goal to MacQueen, whose one-timer from the right circle beat Patterson to the short side at 16:11.

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