The Gophers topped Mercyhurst, 6-0, tonight
First Victory in the Books
The Gophers won their season opener for the fourth-straight year. Their last loss on opening night came in 2009 to North Dakota. Tonight, the Gophers blew the game open with three goals in the second after having just a 1-0 lead after one period. The victory also continued a trend of lopsided victories to start the season. Two years ago, the Gophers bested Sacred Heart by a score of 9-0 and last season Michigan State was on the short end of a 5-1 score.
Rau Steps UP
Kyle Rau scored the Gophers first goal of the season. It was a power-play marker 5:25 into the period. It was a typical-Rau goal. He was stationed at the side of the net and found himself with just enough room to shovel the puck home after it trickled to him. Kyle will be asked to shoulder a lot of the scoring load this season after the departures of talented players like Bjugstad, Haula, and Budish. Travis Boyd picked up a helper on the tally. He is hoping to spark his offensive output this year, so that should be a good confidence booster for him.
The Rau goal from Travis Boyd kicked off a great night for Minnesota's junior class. Rau later set up a goal for fellow classmate Sam Warning. Seth Ambroz also tallied an unassisted goal to add to the party. He threw the puck between his legs from below the goal line and it banked off of a Laker defender and into the net. The coaching staff said this week that they are hoping to see returning players elevate their games. The junior class certainly did that tonight. As mentioned above, with the loss of some talented players, the Gophers need someone to pick up the scoring slack.
Minnesota dressed five fresh faces in the lineup tonight. They wasted little time making an impact. Justin Kloos was the first rookie to score, notching his goal on the power play during the second period. Fellow freshman Michael Brodzinski capped the scoring for the night with a point shot late in the third period. Hudson Fasching also showed moments of glory. He set up Mike Reilly for a goal, registering an assist, and displayed blazing speed on an end-to-end rush before passing to Kyle Rau.
The Gophers will battle New Hampshire tomorrow night in the Ice Breaker Championship Game. New Hampshire downed Clarkson, , in Friday's other semifinal. The Gophers and Wildcats have a long history against each other, dating back to 1979. Many Gopher fans remember the 2003 NCAA Championship Game when Minnesota topped New Hampshire, 5-1. Overall, Minnesota owns a 13-2-2 record against the Wildcats. The puck drops tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. CT.