The Gophers celebreate one of their 15 goals of the weekend.
For the second straight year, Minnesota started off the year with a home sweep of an East Coast team. The Gophers took down Massachusetts twice at home last season and beat Sacred Heart on back-to-back nights this weekend. In 2010-11, UM pulled off four sweeps. Two of them came at home and two came on the road. The Gophers swept Colorado College on the road and Michigan at home and on the road, in addition to its victories over the Minutemen.
Hansen, Haula, and Warning
UM's second line paid huge dividends on Saturday night, combining for 10 points. Erik Haula put up two goals and an assist, Sam Warning had a goal and two assists, and Jake Hansen chipped in with four helpers. The line combined for five points on Friday (and each player scored a goal) in the 9-0 win.
Not in Our Net
Minnesota posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time since March 10 and 11, 2006, when the team kept Minnesota-Duluth off the board in 7-0 and 2-0 wins. The Gophers also blanked Alaska-Anchorage 4-0 in the game before that. Kent Patterson earned his second career shutout and became the first goalie to record consecutive shutouts against the same team since Adam Hauser pulled off the feat on March 12 and 13, 1999 against Alaska-Anchorage at home. Patterson made 20 stops on each night.
Improvement on the Dots
Faceoffs were not one of the Gophers' strengths in 2010-11. The team won only 47.9 percent of its draws and Erik Haula was leader in faceoff percentage at among players who attempted more than 150 at 49.3 percent. This season has been different so far, as Minnesota has won 56.4 percent (75-for-133) of its faceoffs. Taylor Matson leads the team with 20 faceoff wins in two games.
New Game, New Faces
Christian Isackson and Nick Larson replaced Travis Boyd and Nico Sacchetti as Tom Serratore's linemates on UM's fourth line tonight and proved to be effective. Though they were held off the scoreboard, the trio did a good job preventing SHU from breaking out of the defensive zone. Also making his season debut tonight was Jake Parenteau, who filled in for Blake Thompson as Nate Schmidt's defensive partner. Parenteau played well, throwing his body around and breaking up multiple odd-man rushes.
Atlantic Hockey Opponents
The Gophers, who have been challenged by the young Atlantic Hockey Association in the past, exorcised some of their demons against the conference this weekend and improved their record against the AHA to 6-2-1 since the league began official play in 2003. It was the second time the Gophers have ever hosted an Atlantic Hockey opponent for a weekend series. Minnesota swept Niagara by scores of 7-1 and 5-2 in 2005-06.
Racking up the Shots and Making them Count
Minnesota attempted 188 shots in its sweep of SHU, putting 92 of those efforts on goal. The 92 shots gave way to 15 combined goals. It was the first time the Gophers scored 15 or more goals in their first two games of a season since 2000-01.