The final scores were less disastrous but the results were still the same for the Spartans hockey team this weekend, swept again. The Spartans were swept by the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Minneapolis 5-2, 3-1 dropping their season record to 5-17-2 and 1-7 in the B1G. The Spartans losing streak now sits at 8 games and they have only 1 win in the past 16 games. The Spartans have a week off from regular season play, hosting the US National Development Program on Saturday which hopefully means they can work on things before the stretch run in the B1G conference.
Friday Night 5-2 Loss
- When you are looking to end a losing streak surrendering a goal 21 seconds into a game on the road is not the best way to start. Justin Kloos was left WIIIDDDEEEE open in the slot when both defenseman chased below the goal line after the puck.
- Jake Hildebrand made a bunch of saves to keep this 1-0 after the first, many like Kloos' goal involved a man left in front wide open.
- The Spartans had 4 shots on goal...4... in the entire first period.
- Hudson Fasching scored both of his goals by going to the dirty areas and being left relatively alone by the Spartans. Just too easy for a guy of Fasching's size to do.
- The third Gopher goal was one that Hildebrand has to stop. He was beat 5-hole, on the ice from the face-off circle.
- Connor Wood scored his first career goal to make the game 4-1. He played well both nights and the 4th line really was a highlight for the Spartans. Villiam Haag also scored Friday night on that 4th line.
- Justin Hoomaian moved back to defense to help the Spartans this weekend and the lack of experience on the blue line showed through for the whole unit. Travis Walsh struggled, John Draeger played well but had rough moments and Zach Osburn continues to show a great ability to skate the puck up, but also have costly lapses in his own zone. This team really misses Josh Jacobs.
- First things first, Jake Hildebrand played great Saturday night. He made awesome saves throughout to keep his team in the game and looked much like his old MVP self.
- That doesn't change my opinion that Ed Minney should have started Saturday night. Minney will be leaned upon next year and he needs to get minutes (especially in a road game like Mariucci) to be ready for next season. I know you want to let the senior play as much as possible and for a coach trying to save his job possibly every win counts but I would have liked to see Minney in this spot.
- The Spartans survived the first period with some flashes of offensive pressure and they definitely ramped up their physical play.
- Matt DeBlouw scored his 3rd goal of the season on a great individual play. He was patient with the puck and caused a Gopher to end up running into his own goaltender making the goal a foregone conclusion, great play.
DeBlouw, 1-0 Spartans https://t.co/DoD1t3MRLp— Jashvina Shah (@icehockeystick) January 17, 2016
- Dylan Pavelek started the game on the 4th line but ended up getting a lot of ice time with Mackenzie MacEachern. He looked great this weekend, making his healthy scratches most of the year all the more confusing. The larger ice surface really helped show Pavelek as one of the fastest players on the team.
- Connor Wood was my favorite player all weekend and he was robbed of a second goal. I would be fine seeing him get more ice time the rest of the way.
Connor Wood... Wow. Too bad he didn't score. Sick https://t.co/4qXZ2YAgQv— Jashvina Shah (@icehockeystick) January 17, 2016
- The Gophers were down 1-0 after 2 periods. They tied the game less than one minute into the 3rd. The Spartans have struggled this year with slow starts and that needs to be corrected. Justin Kloos scored once again as a result of some confusion when the puck went behind the net, something the Spartans struggled with all weekend.
- The game winning goal was again a 5-hole shot that Hildebrand needs to make a save on. He was excellent all night and this loss does not hang on Jake but in that spot the save needs to be made.
- The Gophers added an empty net goal to make the game 3-1. I tweeted out that the most frustrating part of Spartan hockey the last 4 years was this: 5 minutes remaining, one goal down and I had zero confidence we would get any offensive pressure. In those five minutes, with a power play opportunity and almost a full 2 minutes of 6-on-5 play the Spartans managed 2 shots on goal. On an Olympic ice sheer with all that extra room there is no excuse for that lack of pressure.