Imbalance of Power
Minnesota's Offense Fails in Semifinal Loss
by Nick Maxson/CHN Reporter
ST. PAUL, Minn. Minnesota had many opportunities to use its No. 1-ranked power play to place itself next to Wisconsin in Saturday's championship game. But five lost opportunities later, the Gophers skated off with a disheartening 2-0 loss to streaking Colorado College.
“They just couldn’t find a rhythm to their game,” said Minnesota coach Don Lucia about his team’s power play.
It was evident even on the first power play, late in the first period, after the Tigers' Peter Stoykewych was called for hooking. The Gophers were having trouble settling down and feeling comfortable with their game.
With errant passes and bouncing pucks, Minnesota could not set-up fully in the and was chasing the puck all night long. In doing so, many of the scoring chances they had were not quality and did not create a rebound.
“We had 35, 36 shots on net, but we didn’t get a lot of second chance opportunities in front of the net.
As a forward, it’s our job to do that,” said Gopher forward Zach Buddish.
It was the one-and-done offense that kept the Gophers from getting dangerous rebounds and putting them away, something that could have given them a lead in the first period.
“It was embarrassing how bad our power play was tonight,” said Buddish. Getting more second chances and zone time would have paid dividends for a team that five-on-five was struggling to get chances as well.
In the third period, Minnesota had a golden opportunity to redeem the power-play and potentially tie the game when CC senior defenseman Joe Marciano was called for a five-minute major for cross-checking. With over 15 minutes left in the third period and trailing by two, the Gophers got the break they desperately needed to open up the ice and get some quality scoring chances, which were not coming at even strength.
Instead, it was the nail in the coffin for Minnesota.
During the major penalty the Gophers failed to have any sustained zone time throughout the man advantage. Colorado College’s aggressive penalty kill, and perhaps the smaller ice sheet, wreaked havoc for the Gophers, who only recorded one shot on net during the five minutes.
“That’s where you need your power play step up and even if you get some opportunities and some chances get some momentum for the guys, but we didn’t get any chances really,” said Budish.
The failure to get back into the game drew more energy out of the Gophers, who realized perhaps their best opportunity of the game was wasted away.
“It just slipped away, and we didn’t gain any momentum from that power-play and obviously that didn’t help us out,” said Gopher defenseman Seth Helgeson.
It would be the final opportunity the Gophers would get, but Don Lucia feels confident the bounces will come and the power-play needs only some fine tuning. He still has time to find out, with his team set to be the second overall seed in next week's NCAA tournament.
“It’s just a bump in the road, we got to get back to practice work hard and just getting prepared,” said Helgeson.