Gophers Let Their Emotions Get To Them In A 5-4 Overtime Loss Against North Dakota

October 22nd, 2022: Despite coming back from four unanswered goals from North Dakota, the Gophers fall 5-4 in overtime after five minutes of sloppy play. 

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MINNEAPOLIS, MINN – After a crazy ending to yesterday’s game, the Gophers lost to North Dakota in an even crazier finish. This crazy ending saw four unanswered goals by the Fighting Hawks, 31 penalty minutes by the Gophers in the second period, and two players being ejected from the game. 

Yet another fast and physical opening period with very little stoppage. With about a minute to go UND’s Owen McLaughlin rushed in on the right side and fired one toward Owen Bartoszkiewicz, for the sophomore’s first real chance. Bartoszkiewicz stood tall and the Gophers cleared the zone. 

That McLaughlin shot was the sixth shot of the game for the Fighting Hawks. The next shot Bartoszkiewicz faced came ten minutes into the second. But 20 seconds later Jackson Blake beat Bartoszkiewicz off a sweet feed by Chris Jandric. About a minute later, Gaber notched his fifth goal of the year from Jandric’s ninth assist of the year.

Just 20 seconds later Mark Senden notched his second of the year and roughly two minutes later Jackson Kunz batted Cooper Moore’s shot out of the air after bouncing off Bartoszkiewicz, which saw Justen Close replace the sophomore goaltender.

Before the three goals on three shots and four goals on seven shots all in the span of just under five minutes, the Gophers had a two-goal lead after a scoreless first period.

After a big hit by Hawks’ defender Tyler Kleven, the Gophers got a five-minute power play. Kleven’s five-minute game misconduct came with just 16 seconds left in the first period. Starting the period with a lengthy power play, Matthew Knies jammed home LaCombe’s point shot giving the Gophers a 1-0 lead. Jaxon Nelson picked up the primary assist on Knies’ fourth goal of the year. 

Exactly eight minutes later Rhett Pitlick caught a pass by LaCombe and streaked up the slot. Pitlick notched his first goal of the season beating Drew DeRidder. An interesting celebration for Pitlick though as he skated towards the boards and tossed his stick up in the crowd. The stick was tossed back onto the ice by a North Dakota fan and Pitlick was slapped with a ten minute misconduct. 

“That will be addressed on Monday,” Gophers head coach Bob Motzko said on Pitlick’s celebration.

The play didn’t resolve in a power play for the Hawks but it sure felt like they used it as a momentum shift, rattling off four goals in under five minutes. Pitlick sat on the bench for 14 minutes before receiving a third-period shift, that shift almost resulted in a 5-4 Gophers lead.

“The game is emotional and we all make mistakes,” Gophers associate captain Ryan Johnson said on Pitlick’s celebration. “We all do some things we probably regret.”

Even with five minutes of horrible play by the Gophers, they found a way to cash in late in the second. Connor Kurth notched his third goal of the year after jamming home Mike Koster’s shot from the point with only 34 seconds left on the clock.

There is no denying that the Gophers completely dominated the game other than that five-minute stretch in the second period where 31 penalty minutes were assessed to the Gophers and just two against the Fighting Hawks.

Cal Thomas’ boarding penalty resulted in the Hawks’ first goal of the game, Ryan Chesley’s hooking penalty resulted in the Hawks’ second goal under a minute apart from the first, and lastly, Logan Cooley’s five-minute penalty and game misconduct for face masking resulted in the Hawks’ fourth goal of the game.

Without Cooley for the third and with Pitlick parked on the bench the Gophers found a way to tie things up at four aside after Brock Faber’s third straight shot on DeRidder. Jimmy Snuggerud slammed home the rebound, notching his fifth goal of the season.

With just under three minutes left in overtime, Riese Gaber drove past Jaxon Nelson in the neutral zone and blew past Johnson in the defensive zone before throwing one in front of Close. With a mad scramble in front, Mark Senden notched his second goal of the game jamming home the loose puck. The Gophers challenged for goaltender interference but came up empty-handed.

The fifth-year senior captain, Senden, gave the Hawks the lead in the second and eventually ended it in overtime. His two-goal effort pushed the Hawks over the Gophers in the second game of the series. Senden now has three goals and two assists for five points in just six games for the Hawks.

“That was an unfortunate four to five-minute stretch. We absolutely dominated for 55 minutes and then we took penalties after whistles and let them back into the game,” Gophers head coach Bob Motzko said following the overtime loss. “Outside that little window, we played good hockey. I have to complement the group and learn from the other stuff.”

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