Jan. 10, 2009

Courtesy of Minnesota

North Dakota jumped on a shorthanded Minnesota squad early and handed the Gophers their first sweep of the season with a 6-1 setback on Saturday in Grand Forks, N.D.

The Gophers, playing without top scorer Ryan Stoa and standout defenseman David Fischer, fell to 10-5-5 overall and 7-4-3 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings with their largest margin of defeat since a 6-1 loss at Minnesota Duluth on Feb. 13, 2004. North Dakota moved into a tie with Minnesota in the standings with 17 points as the Sioux are now 13-10-1 overall and 8-5-1 in the league.

For the second straight night, North Dakota got off to a fast start with two goals in the first period and a 12-6 advantage in shots. The Sioux held an 18-2 margin in shots in a scoreless first period on Friday.

Chris VandeVelde scored just 1:38 into the game when he took a pass from Evan Trupp across the slot and slammed in a one-timer from just inside the faceoff circle. The Sioux added another goal when Ryan Duncan carried the puck into the zone, crossed the blueline and ripped a shot that bounced off the glove of Gophers’ goaltender Alex Kangas at the 14:49 mark.

Neither team mounted many opportunities early in the second period before North Dakota scored three goals in a span of less than four minutes. The Sioux took advantage of a Minnesota turnover when Andrew Kozek picked up a loose puck and drilled a shot from the top of the faceoff circle into the upper corner of the net at 11:08 of the stanza for a 3-0 lead.

Just 63 seconds later, North Dakota scored its fourth goal as Jason Gregoire notched his third goal of the weekend and then David Toews finished the flurry with another goal at the 14:58 mark as the Sioux led 5-0 after two periods.

Duncan also had three goals for the weekend when he picked up his second of the game on a five-on-three power play at the 6:12 mark. It marked the second straight night Minnesota has allowed a power play goal and the first time this season the Gophers’ national-best penalty killing unit has surrendered more than one power play goal in a weekend.

The teams began to engage in several fights throughout the third period and Minnesota had a five-on-three power play goal for over a minute the final 10 minutes of the game . The Gophers scored just before the second penalty expired as Cade Fairchild launched a shot from the point with assists to Ryan Flynn and Jordan Schroeder at the 12:10 mark.

Kangas played the first two periods and finished with 15 saves on 20 shots, while Kent Patterson made seven saves in the third period. Brad Eidsness had 23 saves for North Dakota.