Gophers’ high-octane offense nowhere to be found

Gophers coach Don Lucia has seen his team score just one goal in three games so far this season. 

Courtesy: University of Minnesota Athletics

Who will light the lamp — and when will that happen? Talk about a question that’s almost never asked in Gopher hockey-land! Minnesota’s decades-long love affair with the goalmouth has all but dried up and disappeared early this season, and it’s causing growing concern.

To wit: nine periods played, one goal scored.

To put it in perspective, UM scored 12 goals in its first three games last season. The Gophers were shut out once all year (by UM-D, of course). During the 2012-13 season, they were whitewashed twice, both times in the last month of the season.

Minnesota hasn’t been shut out three times in a season since 2010-11 when it was goose-egged 6-0 by Wisconsin, then shut out not once but twice by Alaska-Anchorage.

So who’s going to prevent the third shutout in four games? Good question. Head coach Don Lucia shook up three of his four lines following a one-goal performance against Minnesota-Duluth last Friday. That resulted in a shutout loss, this time before an all-time record crowd in Duluth the following night.

 "We’ve got to score goals," Lucia said this week. "It’s hard to win when we’re always playing from behind."

One big area of concern is the accuracy of Minnesota’s shooting. The bald facts from Saturday’s game tell a sorry tale: The Gophers took more than 60 shots; 21 of them wound up on the UM-D net. Some of the rest were blocked, of course, but most simply failed to strike home.

Lucia: "We flat-out missed. When you do that, there’s no second shot opportunity, no rebound, not even the chance to create come chaos down there."

Join Ben Clymer and me Friday at 7 p.m. on FOX Sports North Plus and Saturday at 8 p.m. on FOX Sports North, as the Gophers try to right the ship against the Northeastern Huskies.

DOUG McLEOD is in his 20th season as play-by-play voice of Golden Gopher hockey (with 17 NHL seasons woven in there somewhere). He has called many of the greatest moments in Minnesota hockey history and is back for another season behind the mike on Fox Sports North.