MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) - The No. 5 Gopher Hockey program made NCAA history on Friday night, clinching its sixth-straight regular-season conference championship behind a 4-0 win over Michigan State at Mariucci Arena.
Jack Sadek scored a pair of goals and Eric Schierhorn made 24 saves to pick up his fifth shutout of the year for the Gophers. Darian Romanko and Ryan Collins also scored for the Maroon & Gold.
Minnesota (23-10-2 overall, 14-5-0-0 Big Ten) has now won the first four Big Ten regular-season championships in conference history. The Gophers also won MacNaughton Cups as WCHA champions in 2012 and 2013. This year's title marks the 18th overall in program history with eight coming under head coach Don Lucia.
Sadek, who scored his first career goal earlier this year, notched goals two and three with nearly identical shots from the point at 7:52 and 16:36 of the first period. The sophomore defenseman sent the Gophers into the first intermission with a two-goal lead behind his first career multi-goal game. Jake Bischoff and Jack Ramsey set up the opening goal while Taylor Cammarata assisted on the second tally. Bischoff's assist gave the senior defenseman a point in nine-straight games - a career best for the alternate captain.
Romanko added his second career goal and second of the season at 11:31 of the third period from Ramsey and Brent Gates Jr., before Romanko set up Ryan Collins' third goal of the season at 19:12 along with Rem Pitlick. Romanko's two-point night stands as the sophomore forward's first career multi-point game.
In net, Schierhorn shut down any chance for the Spartans (7-23-3, 3-14-2-0) to find the back of the net, making 24 saves on 24 shots to move to 23-10-2 on the year. The sophomore goaltender now leads the Big Ten in wins (23), saves (873) and shutouts (five). He ranks tied for second in the nation in wins and tied for fourth in shutouts.
Of note for the Gophers: Minnesota outshot Michigan State 28-24...three of Minnesota's four goals came from defensemen...the Gophers improved to 17-0-1 on the year when the penalty kill is unblemished (3-for-3 tonight)...senior forward Mitch Rogge will make his college debut on Saturday night...Saturday's contest marks the 500th Gopher game at Mariucci Arena, where the Gophers are 324-128-47 all-time...Minnesota has a chance to set a Big Ten single-season record with a win on Saturday as a victory would give the Maroon & Gold 15 conference wins on the year.
The Maroon & Gold close out the regular season on Saturday night with a 7 p.m. CT tilt against the Spartans. The Gophers Senior Celebration will take place prior to the game. Tickets for the 2016-17 season are available at MyGopherSports.com or by calling 1-800-U-Gopher.
-Pride on Ice-
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Haula and Schmidt were expansion selections from the Minnesota Wild and the Washington Capitals, respectively, while Bischoff was part of a trade between Vegas and the New York Islanders.
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