Justin Kloos was more than excited to break his goal-less streak, saying it was the most snakebitten he had ever been. It came at a time when Minnesota needed him to score. The sophomore forward, who admitted he was losing confidence, only had two goals since November 8th and both were on the power play.
As head coach Don Lucia put it, "Justin needed to score a goal."
Yes, yes he did.
That last date - November 8th against Notre Dame - was the last game Minnesota had before the start of the tailspin which leaves it in 18th place in the Pairwise rankings and needing to go on a run to get in position for an at-large bid.
Hi everyone. I'm trying something new this week in that I'm writing a postgame blog in addition to my game recap. First off, read my game recap if you haven't as that discusses Minnesota's best effort of 2015 on both ends of the ice. It was a game where the Gophers were able to hold onto a lead.
No worries if you haven't. SB Nation College Hockey obviously isn't a paper so it's not like there are separate areas.
With all credit to Minnesota State's Shane Frederick and everyone else who uses the "_ thoughts" format, here are 3 more I have from tonight's game that didn't fit into a game recap.
1. Kloos wasn't the only player Friday that played well. Freshman Leon Bristedt made the most of his chance on the power play, connecting with Kloos for a one-timer that easily beat Ohio State goaltender Christian Frey. It's the third straight game the freshman, who has 4 goals, got at least a point. The Stockholm native mentioned Friday after the game that he is becoming more comfortable at college and adjusting to North American style of hockey.
"(Bristedt is) a guy who killed for Sweden in the World Juniors so we wanted to do something more with him in the second half," said Lucia. "But obviously it gives him more time on the power play with Connor out. It was a nice goal and a nice play by Kloos finding him on the weak side. And it was a quick shot on his part.
"He's a guy who scored a lot of goals growing up and hopefully he can start scoring more for us."
Besides those two, Taylor Cammarata, who has been a player Lucia has called out this season, had two assists. Seth Ambroz nearly had a goal while Kyle Rau and Hudson Fasching each were shut down by Christian Frey. With Connor Reilly out for the foreseeable future, a return to Minnesota using its depth is needed.
"I have a good opportunity here," said Bristedt. "Connor's out unfortunately. Someone's going to fill in his spot. I got the chance here to just take it."
At least for one night it was nice to see.
2. Speaking of things that were nice to see, Adam Wilcox's save on Anthony Greco in the first period was one of his best ones of the year. It has been a while since we've seen one of those flash the glove out of nowhere saves from the junior. The 9,969 fans at Mariucci Arena were reminded why those had become so ordinary throughout his first two seasons.
Having the save come when Minnesota was leading 1-0 while out-shooting and controlling possession was bigger.
Wilcox, who has been struggling for the first time in his Minnesota career with a .860 save percentage since January 2nd, was left one-on-one with Greco after the puck bounced to Ohio State''s leading goal scorer on the power play. He stood his ground and made a glove save.
It ended up being the only save he had to on that power play. (Greco did eventually score when he split the defense.) The Gophers settled down and blocked 13 shots throughout the game while not allowing a high number of odd man rushes or bad goals that have been plaguing the team. There were a few - Ryan Collins likely wants back his role on the first goal - but it was a better performance.
"Coxy was awesome. I think he along with the rest of us had not done what we wanted this year so far, Kloos said. "But the guy is the most competitive guy in the locker room and the least of our worries."
3. Ohio State was at its best Friday night when the Buckeyes were physical. The first period ended with Ben Marshall and Darik Angeli scrapping. Several players got into it throughout the game and two players - Buckeyes D Josh Healey and Minnesota forward Sam Warning - were called for charging after big hits.
Nick Schilkey, meanwhile, got Leon Bristedt in the head (as did a pass in the first period - the frosh went down the ice to chase the puck).
The one from Healey had defenseman Michael Brodzinski step up to the aid of Lettieri. While I'm not advocating fighting or the Gophers putting themselves in situations when leading where it has to kill penalties, I did think it was great to see them fight for one another. At the same time, it was even better for them to stand on their own and come out ahead in the penalty game.
There was no evening up. Only Healey was called for a penalty and the Gophers had 4 of the 6 power plays Friday.
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate