MANKATO – Hopefully with a bigger slate of games to come, the Minnesota Golden Gophers will be ready to bounce back from their uneven start to the season.
It will start with avoiding mental mistakes and taking penalties, and unfortunately with #10 Minnesota (1-3-1, 0-0-0), they took a few too many of those, and as a result they lost 2-1 to #4 Minnesota State-Mankato (7-1-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) at the Verizon Center on Saturday night.
Despite not being able to score once again, Motzko won’t hang his head too much based on the effort put in in comparison to Friday night.
“Our guys came to compete tonight; we had a much stronger effort throughout our lineup,” Motzko. “We needed to respond with that work ethic.”
Parker Tuomie had the game-tying goal early in the second period on a power play for the high-powered Mavericks, who won for the sixth time in the last eight meetings with the Gophers and swept them for just the third time in program history. Jake Jaremko was credited with the game-winning goal a short time later after a freak play in which a play in Minnesota’s defensive zone saw a loose puck hit the skate of Pitlick and flutter in behind Gophers goaltender Eric Schiehorn.
Needing a better all-around performance after playing poorly on Friday, the Gophers controlled play to begin the game on Saturday, drawing an early power play and converting it into a goal by Pitlick.
Despite the good start, Minnesota couldn’t keep it going, and kept on taking penalties at a ridiculous pace. It was already a close game, and Motzko believes his team very well could have won with a cleaner performance.
“If you take our seven penalties away, they didn’t have many chances except on the power play,” Motzko said. “We had to use a lot of energy killing penalties.”
Pitlick tried fixing his mistake late in the game, hitting the post twice in the final minutes of the third period. But it wasn’t to be, and the Gophers suffered a rare sweep at the hands of the Mavericks.
Schierhorn, starting his 100th game with the Gophers, made 20 saves to take the loss in his first start of the season. Mathias Israelsson needed to make just 12 saves to earn the victory for the Mavericks.
Minneota begins Big Ten action with a pair of games in Madison against Wisconsin next week Minnesota State, meanwhile, heads into a week off, then looks to keep their dominant start in the WCHA strong as Ferris State comes to visit in two weeks.
MINN power-play goal at 5:10: Rem Pitlick (2). Assisted by Tyler Sheehy (1).
MSU PP goal at 3:46: Parker Tuomie (5). Assisted by Julian Napravnick (3) and Charlier Gerard (6).
MSU shorthanded goal at 5:06: Jake Jaremko (1). Unassisted.
Power plays: MINN 1-5, MSU 1-7.
Shots on goal: MINN 13, MSU 22.