EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Gopher Hockey team suffered a second-straight 5-3 defeat against Michigan State to close out the teams’ weekend Big Ten series at Munn Ice Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Minnesota (9-10-4, 6-5-3-0 B1G) could not complete a late-game comeback despite pulling within a goal at 4-3 with Jack Sadek’s second of the season at 9:31 of the third period. Mitch Lewandoski netted his second of the night at 11:12 of the third to put the game on ice for the Spartans, who held the Gophers scoreless the rest of the way including with an extra skater for the final 2:09 of the period.
Michigan State (9-12-3, 5-7-2-2 B1G) scored first, an even-strength tally for Adam Goodsir at 5:20 of the first period, but Minnesota had the answer less than five minutes later when Blake McLaughlin and his fellow rookies made good on a power play opportunity at 10:04 with his second of the season, assisted by Sammy Walker and Nathan Burke.
After trading scores in the first, the two teams continued that trend early in the second with the Spartans regaining the lead 2:32 into the frame thanks to an even-strength score from Sam Saliba, but the Gophers would once again even things up in the middle of the period. Rem Pitlick scored just after a power play concluded for Minnesota, netting his 12th of the season at 10:27. Tommy Novak and Tyler Sheehy would each tally an assist on the play. MSU once again took the lead at 11:48 with a goal by Cole Krygier and expanded on that lead in the closing moments of the second with Lewandowski’s first of the night at 19:48.
Eric Schierhorn relieved Mat Robson in the third period, making six stops in 17:51 of work. The pair combined for 28 saves on the night for Minnesota. John Lethemon made 37 stops for the Spartans.
Minnesota finished 1-for-3 on the power play, while holding Michigan State to an 0-for-2 afternoon.
LINCOLN, Neb. — No. 23/25 Minnesota held a six-point lead with four minutes to go but Nebraska ended the game on a 12-0 run to knock off the Golden Gophers, 63-57, Sunday night in Lincoln, Neb.
The loss drops Minnesota to 2-5 in the Big Ten and 13-5 overall, while the Huskers are now 4-3 in league play and 9-9 on the season.
Senior Kenisha Bell was one of three in double figures for the Gophers as she had a team-high 16 points, six rebounds and five assists. Meanwhile, senior Annalese Lamke had 10 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore Destiny Pitts also had 10 points to go with three rebounds and three assists.
Junior Taiye Bello was the game’s leading rebounder as she pulled down 13 boards to go with seven points.
The Golden Gophers had a 46-38 lead going into the fourth quarter and had their biggest lead of the game less than three minutes into the final frame at 50-41 after a jumper by Bell. Later in the quarter, Nebraska made its first 3-pointer of game to cut it to 55-51, but Bell answered as she was fouled on a 3-point attempt of her own and made two of the three shots to put the Gophers ahead 57-51 with exactly four minutes to go.
Nebraska began its game-ending run by making 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to tie the game at 57 with 3:06 to play. A pair of free throws by Hannah Whitfish then put the Huskers ahead 59-57. The Gophers had chances to tie, but committed turnovers on three straight trips down the floor. A layup from Sam Haiby pushed the lead to four for Nebraska and, after another Minnesota turnover, she sank two free throws to ice the game with four seconds left.
The game was tight throughout.
The first quarter alone saw nine lead changes as neither team could gain separation. The Huskers led 14-11 after the first 10 minutes and got their lead to 16-11 before Bell went on a personal 6-0 run to put Minnesota back on top.
Nebraska regained the lead and held it for most of the second quarter, but Bell made a free throw with less than a minute to go in the half to make it a two-point game before senior Irene Garrido Perez buried a 3-point at the buzzer to send the Gophers into the locker room up 27-26.
The third quarter was dominated by Minnesota’s front court as the Gophers outscored the Huskers 19-12 in the frame. Bello had seven points and four rebounds in the quarter, Lamke had six points and five rebounds, and senior Palma Kaposi added two points and another rebound. Combined, the trio scored 15 of Minnesota’s 19 points and pulled down 10 of the Gophers’ 13 rebounds in the quarter.
Minnesota held a sizeable edge on the glass, outrebounding Nebraska, 43-24. In fact, Minnesota had 24 rebounds just on the defensive end.
After playing three games in three cities over six days, Minnesota has a few days before they return home to play Purdue on Thursday night at Williams Arena.
Minnesota is 9-13 all-time against Nebraska, including 3-10 in Lincoln … the Gophers are 3-3 on the road this year … Kenisha Bell leads the Gophers with 16 games in double figures this year … Taiye Bello has a team-best 12 games with at least 10 rebounds