The Golden Gophers faced off against the Minnesota State Mankato Mavericks in the first of a home and home double header weekend. The Gophers were trampled early falling behind twice and tying the game up twice before scoring the go-ahead, game winning goal in the third period. The Gophers limped to a 3-2 victory in a game that was billed (on paper) to be an easy win by the Maroon and Gold.
The Gopher offense produced just one goal in their win over Canisius last week, a statistic that prompted Minnesota’s head coach Don Lucia to switch up some lines. The change could have been one reason for the sloppy, dare I say anemic offensive start to the game.
The Gophers were missed passes and showed poor fundamentals throught the early minutes of the game. A reason could have been new line mates, another reason could be that they were not prepared for the Maverick offensive attack. The first period belonged to the Mavericks, who jumped to an early lead on a power play goal by Zach Palmquist. The Gophers and Mavericks traded goals to bring the score to 2-2 by the end of the second period.
The second period saw the teams’ tempers start to flare with a combined eight minor penalties being handed out during the period. In fact the story of the game came down to penalties. The Gophers scored all three of their goals on the power play while the Mavericks scored one of their goals on the power play. In total four of five goals scored were power play goals.
The Mavericks knew that they needed to come into the home of the Gophers playing scrappy hard-nosed hockey and, for the most part, they did just that, but could that edge have also ended up costing them the game?
The Mavericks move on with a record of 2-3-2 overall and have no WCHA wins yet while the Gophers advance to 5-1-0 with a 2-1 WCHA record. The teams will meet Saturday night in Mankato for the second and final game of the weekend series between the home-state rivals.