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Oct. 11, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota men's hockey team opened its 93rd season of play off strong with a 6-0 triumph against Atlantic Hockey foe Mercyhurst in the first round of the 2013 Ice Breaker Tournament at Mariucci Arena Friday night. Junior captain Kyle Rau gave the Gophers a lead 6:25 into the game and the Gophers never looked back as sophomore goaltender Adam Wilcox made 25 saves for his fourth career shutout.
With the victory, the Gophers moved on to the Ice Breaker Tournament championship game against 13th-ranked New Hampshire, which defeated Clarkson 4-1 earlier in the night. That game will begin at 7 p.m. in Minneapolis.
Despite outshooting the Lakers 14-8 in the first stanza, Minnesota only led 1-0 on Rau's tally, which came off a Ben Marshall rebound at the side of the cage on the man advantage.
The Gophers padded their lead in the second period when junior Seth Ambroz banked a behind-the-back shot from behind the net of a Mercyhurst defenseman's skate and in at the 3:37 mark.
Sam Warning made it a 3-0 game 8:15 later when he quickly toe-dragged around MU netminder Jordan Tibbett and backhanded a shot that narrowly crossed the goal line before a Laker defenseman was able to swat it away.
Freshman Justin Kloos capped the scoring in the second period, beating a sprawling Tibbett upstairs on the power play off a cross-ice feed from captain Nate Condon. The goal was the first of the Lakeville, Minn. native's career.
Minnesota tacked on two more goals in the third period when defensemen Mike Reilly and Michael Brodzinski found the back of the net 7:10 apart. Freshman Hudson Fasching earned his first career point with a helper on Reilly's tally while Brodzinski's goal was his first in the Maroon and Gold.
The win was the fourth consecutive opening night victory for Minnesota, which outshot the Lakers 48-25. It was the second time in three years the team opened with a shutout as it downed Sacred Heart 9-0 to kick off 2011-12.
Wilcox's 24 saves were a career-high in a shutout. Offensively, the Gophers were paced by Warning and Rau, who had a goal and two assists apiece.
Minnesota improved to 2-0-0 against Mercyhurst all-time as it topped the Lakers 9-2 in the opening round of the 2003 NCAA West Regional in the teams' only previous meeting. The Gophers are 13-2-2 against Saturday opponent UNH.
Pitlick, Westby Earn USA Hockey Honors
Pitlick was named the Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year while Westby was tabbed the Adult Player of the Year.
Register for the 43rd Annual John Mariucci Golf Open
Registration for the John Mariucci Golf Open is open now with the event set for July 18 at Chaska Town Course.
USA Hockey Spotlight: Todd Richards
Richards and Team USA will play Canada in semifinal action on Saturday, May 21 at 12:15 p.m. CT.