MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There’s rarely been a hockey team that went far in a playoff run without great goaltending, and that includes the Gopher’s run to the Frozen Four with Kent Patterson.
And it might have been having one of the worse nights of his season and career that got Patterson to the top of his game at the right time.
Patterson knows he is the key this weekend in the Frozen Four, and he knows he’s been on a roll for most of it.
“I just think that I need to have the mentality that works for me each and every game where I’ve been playing my best. Obviously the two games against BU and North Dakota were two of my better games where I was controlling rebounds,” Patterson said.
Sometimes you learn more in defeat than you do in victories. For Patterson, the defeat that may have led to the victories came in the WCHA Final Five. The flood gates opened in the third period against North Dakota.
Patterson has regrouped since, and is recharged because of it.
“We talked about it and it was disappointing, but it was probably one of the best things for the team. It made us learn from our mistakes and know that we have to play a full 60 minutes and that we can’t quit at any time,” Patterson said.
So heading to Tampa, they try and keep him in a zone: One where the puck looks big and the net feels small.
“With Kent it’s about making sure he feels fresh mentally, fresh physically and confident,” said Gophers coach Don Lucia. “If that’s showing your goaltender highlight tapes of him making a bunch of saves, then that’s what you do. You want your goaltender feeling good right now.”
The Gophers face Boston College, the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday night.