PATTERSON MAKES 30 SAVES AS MINNESOTA BLANKS ST. CLOUD STATE, 5-0
Senior netminder Kent Patterson stops 30 shots for Golden Gophers
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Senior goaltender Kent Patterson recorded a 30-save shutout and sophomore center Nick Bjugstad netted a hat trick to lead the top-ranked Minnesota men's hockey team to a 5-0 victory over St. Cloud on Saturday night at Mariucci Arena. By blanking an opponent for the sixth time this season, Patterson broke the UM school record for shutouts, surpassing Robb Stauber's five-shutout campaign in 1987-88.
Attempting to bounce back from a 4-3 road loss to the Huskies on Friday night, Minnesota got off to a fast start in the home-and-home series finale.
Just over eight minutes into regulation, Bjugstad got the Gophers on the board first by taking a pass from Zach Budish and zipping a shot past SCSU goaltender Ryan Faragher, off the crossbar, and in to make it 1-0.
Senior Jake Hansen doubled the UM lead 44 seconds later by beating Faragher through the five-hole. Erik Haula and rookie Travis Boyd, who were playing together on a line with Hansen for the first time all year, recorded assists on the play.
After putting up eight shots in the opening 20 minutes, St. Cloud began to pepper Patterson in the middle stanza, but the senior netminder turned aside all 13 shots he faced in the second period.
The Gophers gave Patterson more support in the final frame.
After Huskies' freshman forward Joey Holka took an interference penalty, Bjugstad potted his second goal of the game, one-timing a pass from St. Cloud-native Nate Schmidt off the right post and in.
Thirty-one seconds later, defenseman Mark Alt made a slick move around SCSU's Jared Festler at the Husky blueline and put a quick shot through traffic and past Faragher to make it 4-0.
Working on another man-advantage 5:42 into the period, Bjugstad completed the hat trick with a goal that was almost identical to his second strike, again one-timing a feed from Schmidt.
Bjugstad became the first Golden Gopher to score three goals in a game since Jay Barriball accomplished the feat on Oct. 9, 2010 in a 5-4 win over Massachusetts.
Patterson made nine third-period stops to maintain the shutout, including a diving cross-crease glove save on Ben Hanowski that came moments after Minnesota's fifth goal.
With the win, the Gophers improved to 11-3-0 overall and 8-2-0 in WCHA play and maintained a one-point lead over Minnesota-Duluth for first place in the conference standings.
Minnesota will get back to action with a pair of non-conference road games on Friday and Saturday against Michigan State of the CCHA.