MINNEAPOLIS — For half of the game Friday night, the No. 1-ranked Minnesota men's hockey team put on an impressive display of passing and shooting, one Minnesota State often seemed too content to sit back and watch.
“I thought we played passive,” Mavericks coach Mike Hastings said after his team's 4-1 nonconference loss. “I don't want to play passive.”
Minnesota often played keep-away with the Mavericks in front of its home crowd of 9,697 at Mariucci Arena as it built a 3-0 lead by the midway point of the second period.
"I don't think a passive style is conducive to what we do," Hastings said.
Justin Kloos and brothers Mike Reilly and Connor Reilly scored the Gophers pretty goals, with two set up by senior winger Nate Condon, while Mavericks freshman goaltender Cole Huggins did his best to keep the game within reach.
“We came out sluggish,” Mavericks defenseman Zach Palmquist said. “They were all over us right away. … We put ourselves in a hole right away, and it did seem like they were toying with us a little bit.”
Palmquist scored Minnesota State's lone goal, making it a 3-1 game at with 7:12 remaining in the third period.
At that point, the Mavericks finally had some life.
After getting outshot 13-8 in the first period and 24-19 through two frames, Minnesota State had a 16-6 advantage in the third. But Gophers goalie Adam Wilcox held off the late charge.
Wilcox finished with 34 saves. The biggest of the game came during an MSU power play about six minutes before Palmquist's goal, as he stretched out to make a kick save on a point-blank shot by Johnny McInnis after a perfect behind-the-net feed from Matt Leitner.
"We've got to get that last 2 percent," Hastings said. "We've talked about that a lot."