At the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, host St. Cloud State outlasted the Minnesota men Saturday, 4-3.
Netminder Ryan Faragher led the way for St. Cloud State, as he posted 36 saves, allowing the Huskies (18-11-1 overall, 15-6-1 WCHA) to remain atop the conference standings.
"They've got a lot of big bodies," Faragher said of the visiting Gophers, "and they crash and they get the rebounds. ... We needed to come out tonight with a great effort. I think the guys came out and showed we're capable of (playing) with the top teams."
St. Cloud State owned a decisive, 4-1 lead early in Saturday's third period, after star Drew LeBlanc lit the lamp on a breakaway.
But top-ranked Minnesota (19-5-4 overall, 11-5-4 WCHA) made a fierce, last-gasp effort. First, Gophers standout Nick Bjugstad scored a goal thanks to a vicious slap shot, with 9:08 remaining. Then, with 5:34 to go, Minnesota's Nate Condon scored his tenth goal of the season, helping the visitors draw to within 4-3.
Alas, St. Cloud State's defense stood tall from there on out. The Gophers had scored four or more goals in 11 of their past 12 contests.
"St. Cloud State is a very good team," noted Minnesota head coach Don Lucia. "It was certainly entertaining for the fans. We made a couple mistakes ... You're not going to win giving up four goals on the road.
"We'll take (the weekend split)," Lucia added, "and move forward."