Secondary Scoring Has Lifted Gophers Against North Dakota

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Go Gophers! Tom Serratore
Go Gophers!
Tom Serratore's third-period goal put Minnesota up 2-0 against North Dakota on Nov. 4 at Mariucci Arena.
Go Gophers!
One of the main reasons that Minnesota was able to sweep North Dakota (2-0 and 3-2) earlier this season at Mariucci Arena was because the Gophers received secondary scoring. Both Tom Serratore and Nick Larson tallied goals as the Maroon and Gold swept North Dakota at home in the regular season for the first time since Nov. 8-9, 1996.

In Friday's game, Serratore completed a breakaway goal with less than 10 minutes remaining in the third period to put Minnesota up 2-0. On Saturday, Larson scored at the 13:56 mark of the third period to tie the game 2-2, which Minnesota won when Kyle Rau scored a last-minute goal.

"They scored two of our five goals and without that we may not have won both games," said Minnesota coach Don Lucia. "We have been at our best when our secondary scorers contribute. You cannot rely on Bjugstad and Rau and those guys to score every night. The game becomes much easier when you get a forward, who may not contribute on a regular basis, to score a goal."

In Minnesota's two wins this year against North Dakota that is exactly what took place and the same scenario happened during Minnesota's last two wins in Grand Forks.

Last January 14, Nico Sacchetti scored the game-winning goal in the third period to beat North Dakota 3-2. The goal was Sacchetti's third of the season. On March 13, 2010, Seth Helgeson scored the game-winning goal and first goal of his career in the third period of a 4-2 win.  

"When we have been successful against them that is exactly what has happened," said Lucia. "Some guys who maybe are not your regular scorers stepped forward. A lot of times the top-end guys can neutralize each other and it depends on what secondary guys step up."

For Larson and Serratore it is a situation they enjoy.

"Anytime we can help out is big," said Larson. "Our main goal is not to score goals every night, but there is no reason we cannot put one or two in each weekend. It gives everybody else a little momentum."

The sight of seeing a non-traditional goal scorer light the lamp is also not lost on the rest of the team.

"You want all your lines to contribute during a WCHA weekend," said captain Taylor Matson. "Those guys had huge weekends the last time we played these guys. They work hard every day in practice and it is really good to see them get rewarded with goals during a game. It gets the bench excited as well."

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