Oct. 25, 2009

Courtesy of Minnesota Athletics

Minnesota fell victim in another matchup against a top five nationally ranked opponent as the Gophers were shutout for the third time in four games in a 3-0 loss to fourth-ranked Denver on Saturday at Mariucci Arena.

The Gophers dropped to 0-3-1 for the season after playing two games against second-ranked North Dakota and the two games with the fourth-ranked Pioneers. It marks the first time since the 1999-2000 season that Minnesota has opened without a win in its first four games. The back-to-back shutouts were Minnesota's first since Jan. 4 and 10, 1930 when the Gophers tied the Tulsa Athletic Club 0-0 and lost to Wisconsin 2-0. It was the third time it has happened all-time, having also occurred in a pair of losses to Manitoba in 1927.

Denver goaltender Marc Cheverie continued his dominance of the Gophers, posting his third straight shutout against Minnesota and his third straight overall with 30 saves. Cheverie blanked the Gophers 4-0 on Nov. 22 of last season and also had 30 saves in the series opener on Friday. He also shutout Ohio State last weekend.

For the game, the Gophers owned a 30-26 advantage in shots, including a 14-11 edge in the third period.

Minnesota owned a 13-9 advantage in shots in the first period, but Denver scored the period's lone goal when Kyle Ostrow was wide open on the back door and scored off a feed from Luke Salazar at the 10:15 mark. Drew Shore also assisted the goal.

Denver held the Gophers to just three shots in the second period and scored the only goal on the power play at 4:27 of the period. Rhett Rakhshani scored his third goal of the weekend when he fired a shot from the left faceoff dot that beat Gophers' goaltender Kent Patterson through the five-hole. Patrick Wiercioch and Tyler Ruegsegger each assisted the play.

The Pioneers had three minutes of power play time early in the second period after Minnesota's Mike Carman was given a five-minute major and the power play was even a five-on-three for one minute. It appeared Minnesota was on its way to killing the penalties before Denver converted with 48 seconds left in the power play as Ostrow scored his second goal of the game at the 4:12 mark of the period. Shore and Jesse Martin each had assists.

Minnesota's best chance to score came in the third period when Denver was called for two penalties on the same whistle, giving the Gophers a five-on-three for two minutes, however, Cheverie stopped all three of Minnesota's shots during the power play to keep the Gophers off the scoreboard.

The Gophers were unable to score on eight power play chances for the game and are now 0-for-20 through four games for the season. Denver was two-for-six on the man advantage.

Patterson made his third career start in goal and finished with 23 saves. He had tied his previous two starts in net.