For most of the first period, however, it looked like the Minnesota that has gone 2-7 in their last nine Friday night games was back. The Gophers struggled early on, looking slow and getting beat to the puck by St. Cloud State to the point where returning Huskies goaltender Mike Lee, playing his first game since October 22nd, could have read a book.
Minnesota only put one shot on net in the first ten minutes while SCSU made senior goalie Kent Patterson work hard. His biggest save, a diving sprawl to his left on a 2 on 1 chance by David Eddy, kept the game scoreless.
Things started to turn around for Minnesota about a minute later when a pinch in by Nate Schmidt that sprung an opportunity for Travis Boyd. He was unable to do anything but it was the play that gave Minnesota momentum and they began to create more opportunities against Lee, who made 24 saves in Friday's game. Eventually Jake Hansen was rewarded on a 2 on 1 of his own with Erik Haula and with 6:34 left in the first period scored his first goal since December 30th (coincidentally the last time that line has scored an even-strength goal).
The goal was reviewed after it went off of Hansen's shin past Lee but was eventually ruled in Minnesota's favor for a 1-0 lead.
"I was a little nervous," said Hansen about the review. Obviously it took a while. I didn't know what they were looking for like goalie interference or if I kicked it in."
St. Cloud State was able to tie things up early in the second period. After Tom Serratore was called for cross-checking in the Huskies' offensive zone 2:42 into the period, captain Ben Hanowski scored his 13th goal of the season on a laser that beat Patterson 95 seconds later.This came a few seconds after a previous Hanowski shot hit the post.
"Kent played really good," said Nick Bjugstad after the game. "[St. Cloud State] only had 13 shots but he made some great saves."