MSU hockey drops seventh straight, loses 5-2 to Minnesota
MSU hockey (5-16-2) couldn’t keep Minnesota’s (10-10-0) physical offensive at bay as Gopher’s forward Hudson Fasching popped in two goals in route to a 5-2 Minnesota victory Friday night at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis. Unlike most of its previous losses, however, the Spartans let themselves down early and never recovered instead of surrendering a late lead.
Justin Kloos took it upon himself to take advantage of a defensive lapse by MSU just 21 seconds into the first period and set the tone on how the Gophers would exploit MSU’s weaknesses.
Kloos was all alone in front when Connor Reilly zipped him a pass from the corner and Kloos wasted little time in snapping the pass behind MSU senior goalie Jake Hildebrand giving Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
Minnesota dominated the offensive attack for the rest of the period taking advantage of the larger ice surface. Home ice advantage was evident for the Gophers as they used the big and uber-familiar ice surface to their advantage, controlling the puck in the Spartans’ end for most of the period and the game.
MSU found itself down 3-0 not far into the second frame as Minnesota notched goals from Hudson Fasching and Jake Bischoff before six minutes had ticked off the clock. The Spartans were burned the same way on each goal, leaving the shooter unabated to bury the puck on a unaided and left out to dry Hildebrand.
MSU did little to combat their situation mustering only 10 shots on goal through two periods while other shots continued to sail wide or find a Gopher defender in anyway shape or form and even those were few and far between. Each MSU chance was just that, a chance. MSU lacked any sustained pressure leading to only singular opportunities, not a plurality of them.
Further stopping a comeback was Fasching as he popped in his second of the night from the doorstep again, when his stick was left unchecked and free to swipe the loose rebound behind Hildebrand with 8:24 to go in the game to make it 4-0.
Redshirt-junior forward Connor Wood would prevent the shutout as his wrist shot slipped by Gopher goalie Eric Schierhorn. But it was answered quickly by Ryan Norman 44 seconds later to put the Gophers back by four.
The 5-1 lead all but finished it, though the game was never in doubt for Minnesota. Junior forward Villiam Haag’s late goal to make it 5-2 didn’t add much to an otherwise uneventful hockey game for the Spartans. Outmuscled and outplayed, MSU dropped their seventh-straight game and failed to pick up a much needed three points.