The Minnesota men's hockey team was denied its first home conference sweep of the season on Saturday night, falling to WCHA foe Alaska Anchorage 1-0 at Mariucci Arena. The Gopher offense mounted numerous scoring chances throughout the final two periods, but was unable to solve Seawolf goaltender Chris Kamal.
"They kept four guys back all night," said Minnesota coach Don Lucia following the loss. "We just couldn't score. Their goaltender played very well."
The game began with a first period devoid of any goals or serious scoring chances-a stark contrast to Friday night's opening 20 minutes, which featured 29 shots and three goals. Both teams totaled 12 shots on goal and the Gophers headed to the locker room in a scoreless tie for the first time at home all season.
Minnesota picked up play in the second stanza, unleashing 16 shots on goal, but Kamal was up to the challenge. Minnesota goaltender Kent Patterson stopped all four shots he faced as well, allowing the Gophers to begin the final period in a scoreless stalemate.
After entering the third period tied for only the second time all season, the Gophers fell behind with just under 19 minutes remaining in regulation. Seawolf center Matt Bailey beat Patterson short side with a quick shot from the left circle for his eighth goal of the season.
Minnesota almost answered minutes later when defenseman Cade Fairchild sent freshman Nate Condon in alone, but Kamal answered Condon's swift deke to the right with a left pad save.
The Gophers controlled play in the final ten minutes, but Kamal stood tall in goal, denying a Jay Barriball chance from the edge of the crease and snaring a Justin Holl blast from the point.
Patterson was pulled with 1:03 to go, but Minnesota was unable to break into the UAA zone with possession and the Seawolves escaped with their seventh conference win of 2010-11.
"Tonight, we kind of saw what we're made of. We played a good strong team game," said Anchorage coach Dave Shyiak. "We gutted it out and had some great goaltending."
The Gophers were the victim of a shutout loss for the second time this season and lost for only the second time when allowing two goals or fewer. It was Minnesota's first 1-0 defeat since Dec. 14, 2008 when Colorado College shutout the Gophers.
Minnesota will make its first visit to Minnesota Duluth's new Amsoil Arena next weekend, playing on Friday and Saturday. Both games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.