The Gophers started the season with a 5-1 victory over the Spartans of Michigan State.
Fast Start Pays Off
The tone of the game was set right away as the Gophers come out flying tonight. Sam Warning used his speed within the opening minutes to get a clear breakaway. Michigan State goalie Will Yanakeef made a nice save, but the Gophers never turned back, as they continued to apply intense pressure. It quickly paid off as Ben Marshall and Nick Bjugstad found the back of the net within the game's first seven minutes. Christian Isackson added a third goal later in the period. The Gophers used their speed on the large ice to control the pace of play tonight.
Opening Night Done Right
The Gophers have made a habit of stating the season on the right foot. They have now won on opening night five of the last six years, the only blemish coming at North Dakota .in 2009. Tonight, the Gophers were strong right out off the gates, pouncing on Michigan State for a first period 3-0 lead. This mirrors last season where Sacred Heart found themselves down inside of the opening minute when Kyle Rau scored his first collegiate goal.
The Gophers have struggled with Michigan State in the recent past, the Gophers defeated the Spartans tonight for the first time in the last four meetings. Last season in East Lansing, MSU came out on top 4-3 on Friday night before the teams skated to a 4-4 tie on Saturday.
Goaltending Checks Off
Michael Shibrowski earned his first collegiate win tonight since Feb. 6, 2010 when he backstopped Colorado College to a 5-3 victory against Mercyhurst. He was strong in between the pipes tonight as he made 25 saves, including robbing MSU's Matt Berry, who was in on a breakaway in the third period. Only a late goal from Tanner Sorenson ruined Shibrowski's perfect night. The pundits have asked questions of Minnesota's goaltending this season, and Shibrowski has answered all questions. He gave the Gophers exactly what they needed tonight after stopping all nine shots he faced against Lethbridge in the exhibition.
All Four Lines were Rolling
The Gophers made it look easy offensively tonight as all four lines were creating chances. The top line preformed exactly as expected with Nick Bjugstad tallying a goal and an assist and Christian Isackson following up his exhibition hat trick with his first career goal, but the Gophers were more than one line tonight. Members of the top three lines scored and the fourth line was around the net all night. Jake Parenteau, who moved up to forward tonight seemed to fit in seamlessly and give the team energy with his linemates, Tom Serratore and A.J. Michaelson. If the Gophers have all four lines working, they will be a tough match for any opponent.