Now in this case, the box score is pretty dead-on as Patterson started both games this weekend and Minnesota beat Sacred Heart 9-0 Friday and 6-0 Saturday. To be fair, playing the non-Denver nicknamed Pioneers is similar to a BCS team not named Michigan playing Appalachian State - Sacred Heart finished 11th in Atlantic Hockey last season and won six games - but the last time a Gophers goaltender had two consecutive shutouts was in 1999. It's even more impressive as Friday and Saturday were Patterson's first two collegiate shutouts.
Hello Mile High Hockey readers. My name is Nathan Wells and I'm the assistant editor over at SBN Minnesota (along with many other things). One of the things I do there is write about University of Minnesota Golden Gophers hockey and thought it would be great this year to try to give NHL fanbases updates on the many Gophers draftees. Sometimes box scores can be deceiving or do not tell the whole story so here is one person's first-hand account on goalie Kent Patterson and left winger Nate Condon.
Sacred Heart coach C.J. Marottolo said Friday night that "Kent was pretty good in net tonight; he made the saves he had to make when we did have our chances."
However despite Sacred Heart only getting forty total shots on goal (twenty both nights), Patterson was forced to make big saves. On Friday the Gophers took three early penalties in a span of eight minutes and the goalie bailed Minnesota out of two or three point-blank Pioneer shots in a 8-1 run. Saturday was even better as Patterson stonewalled an early breakaway and made a few side-to-side saves during the second and third periods.
Condon, on the other hand, played both nights with Taylor Matson (VAN) and Seth Ambroz (CBJ) on the Gophers' third line. He also spent good time on the penalty kill which was inconsistent. Condon has been a good two-way player for Minnesota and at times was the best defensive forward on the ice. At the same time, there were a couple shifts where he was out of position and wasn't able to take advantage of a less talented Sacred Heart team.
Nate's best moment occurred in Saturday's game where he had a perfect breakout pass to a streaking Taylor Matson, who then roofed a backhand over Pioneers goalie Andrew Bodnarchuk and made the game 4-0. That goal, which came twenty-seven seconds after another Minnesota score, put the game out of reach and ensured the Gophers' second consecutive victory.
Next weekend will give a better idea of where the two are, as the Gophers play the defending national champions Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, but in the end, Avalanche fans have to be happy with Kent Patterson improving upon his .919 save performance last season. Unfortunately in a series where many players overachieved for Minnesota, Condon only played to his expectations but it's a long season.
Finally as a bonus, here is some video (which comes from MN Hockey News) of Patterson talking after the game. If you have any questions I'll be sure to answer them either on here or on Twitter.