Late flurry leads Gophers past Huskies

St. Cloud State had briefly wrestled away the game’s momentum.

Then, just like that, it was gone in 60 seconds.

The top-ranked Minnesota hockey team scored two key goals nearly one minute apart from each other in Friday’s third period, leading to a 4-2 road win over No. 10 St. Cloud State.

After the host Huskies tied the score at 2-2 early in the third period on a power-play goal from Drew LeBlanc, the visitors’ offense broke loose. Minnesota star Erik Haula scored the go-ahead goal with 10:28 remaining, handing the Gophers a 3-2 advantage. Then, St. Cloud native Nate Schmidt secured the Gophers’ win with 9:30 to go, as he ripped home a goal off a vicious slap shot.

“We got our opportunities to bury the puck tonight,” Schmidt said. “And it was a team effort tonight.”

Minnesota (19-4-4 overall, 11-4-4 WCHA) put shots on the net with ferocity all evening. The Gophers produced 42 shots on goal to the Huskies’ 24. Haula led the way for Minnesota, tallying his 12th and 13th goals of the season.

“One thing I talked to the coaches about after last season was consistency,” Haula noted. “I take pride in that, and I try my best to get on the scoreboard every night.”

“We had to gut this one out,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. “They tied it up there in the third, and then we came through. … I liked our resiliency.”

Minnesota and St. Cloud State (17-11-1, 14-6-1 WCHA) return to action at 7 p.m. Saturday.