Nov. 29, 2009

Courtesy of Minnesota Athletics

Sophomore Kent Patterson had a career-high 37 saves and posted his first career victory as Minnesota pulled out a 2-1 win at seventh-ranked Michigan State on Saturday.

Patterson made his fourth career start and stopped all 26 shots in the first two periods, including a first-period breakaway as the Gophers snapped a four-game losing streak. Mike Carman scored the game-winner for Minnesota with 2:46 remaining. He picked up a loose puck following an errant Spartans' pass and launched a shot from just inside the blue line that went into the upper right corner. The goal came just 39 seconds after Michigan State had tied the game.

The win extended Minnesota's unbeaten streak over the Spartans to nine games as the Gophers are now 4-0-5 over the span after posting ties the past two years. The free-skating affair took only two hours, five minutes, while featuring 80 shots and just four penalties as the Gophers finished with a 42-38 edge in shots. It was a solid comeback for Minnesota from its worst loss in over 11 years the previous night in a 6-0 setback at Michigan. Minnesota is now 5-8-1 overall, while Michigan State is 9-5-2.

The Gophers held a 14-13 advantage in shots in the first period, but Michigan State had the best scoring chance when Daultan Leveille blocked a shot from the point and won the chase to the loose puck in the neutral zone. However, Patterson stopped Leveille's wide-open breakaway. It was a strong start to the game for the sophomore, who had allowed four goals on 10 shots in his most recent outing in relief against Bemidji State.

Jordan Schroeder scored the game's first goal in the second period with a highlight-reel goal. Nico Sacchetti sent a pass up along the boards and Schroeder eluded the stick of a sliding defender by moving the puck to his backhand and back to his forehand before wristing a shot top shelf. The goal came at 3:32 of the second period, which featured 13 shots from each team.

Minnesota nursed the 1-0 advantage through most of the third period as Patterson appeared to be on his way to a shutout before a freak bounce got the Spartans on the scoreboard with 3:32 left in regulation. Leveille took a shot that was wide and bounced off the boards. However, the rebound landed just behind Patterson and Andrew Rowe skated around to poke the puck into the net and tie the game. The goal came on Michigan State's 37th shot attempt of the game.

The lead didn't last long as Carman scored his second goal of the season when he collected the loose puck and turned and fired past Spartans' goaltender Drew Palmisano. Michigan State pulled Palmisano for an extra attacker for the final 1:28 of the game and had only one shot on goal during that span. The Spartans also had a power play chance in the final 17 seconds, but Minnesota was able to clear the puck to neutral ice and then forced the play to the corner as time ran out.

Michigan State was held to just one shot on its three power play tries, while Minnesota had just one power play chance, coming 1:34 into the game. Palmisano finished with 40 saves for Michigan State.