Gophers sweep Alaska-Anchorage with another strong defensive showing
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The Gophers hockey team continued to build on its best start since the 2001-02 season on Saturday, completing a series sweep of Alaska-Anchorage with a 3-1 victory.
Saturday's game was not the one-sided affair that Game 1 turned into, but the end result was the same.
The Gophers showed no loss of energy from their 5-0 shutout of the Seawolves on Friday night, firing off 20 shots in the opening period. Though they converted on only one of those attempts, the Gophers eventually took a 2-0 off a short-handed goal by Nate Condon in the second period.
The Seawolves, however, didn't go quietly, as they did on Friday. Alaska-Anchorage drew within a goal a few minutes later and had a flurry of chances to secure a tie. But a disciplined showing by the Gophers' defense helped ensure they would hold on for their fourth conference win of the season.
As he has been all year, "U" goalie Kent Patterson was impressive with a 26 save performance to finish the weekend with just one goal off the 48 shots he faced.
Alaska-Anchorage appeared to be on the verge of shifting momentum towards its cause after Sam Mellor's goal in the second period. The Gophers though did not falter from that point on, playing defensively sound for the remainder of the game.
31: Total shots by the Gophers
3: Gophers forward Nick Bjugstad's point total from the weekend. He totaled a goal and an assist on Friday, and added another assist on Saturday, feeding the puck to Zach Budish in front of the Seawolves' net for an easy first period goal.
18: Penalty minutes served in the two-game series by the Gophers, one of the most penalized teams in the WCHA -- four less than they had in last Sunday's 5-4 loss to Vermont.
• Gophers -- Zach Budish (3), assists by Nick Bjugstad (6) and Kyle Rau, 10:54. Gophers 1, Alaska-Anchorage 0
• Gophers - Nate Condon (4) shorthanded, unassisted, 4:03. Gophers 2, Alaska-Anchorage 0
• Alaska-Anchorage -- Sam Mellor (2) on the power play, assists by Scott Warner (3) and Alex Gellert, 11:40. Gophers 2, Alaska-Anchorage 1
• Gophers -- Kyle Rau (7) on an empty net, unassisted, 19:13. Gophers 3, Alaska-Anchorage 1.
The Gophers (7-1, 4-0 in the WCHA) return to Mariucci Arena next weekend (Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m.) for a series against conference-rival North Dakota (3-4-1, 1-3 in the WCHA).
Blanked 4-0 by St. Cloud State on Friday, the Sioux rebounded for a series-salvaging 3-1 win on Saturday. Even with the split, North Dakota is still off to a poor start as losers of four its first eight games.