The eighth-ranked Minnesota men’s hockey team continued its winning ways on Friday night, trouncing Vermont of Hockey East 6-0 at Mariucci Arena to advance to 5-0-0. Goaltender Kent Patterson recorded his third consecutive home shutout of the season, stopping 17 Catamount shots in the first meeting all-time between the two schools.
In almost identical fashion to the way he kicked off the Gophers’ season-opening series against Sacred Heart two weeks ago, Kyle Rau put UM ahead less than a minute into the game.
After he received a seeing-eye pass from Jake Hansen near the right hash mark in the offensive zone, Rau waited patiently for UVM netminder Rob Madore to bite on the play before skating to the side of the crease and sliding the puck into the empty net. Rau’s goal, his fifth of the season, came just 44 seconds into the game.
Less than three minutes later, another freshman—Sam Warning—doubled the Minnesota lead. Sophomore Erik Haula found Warning waiting at the side of the goal on the tail end of an in-tight, tic-tac-toe play that was started by Hansen to make it 2-0.
Before the first intermission, Nick Bjugstad gave the Gophers a three-goal lead by beating Madore five-hole, opting to shoot on a three-on-one with Rau and Zach Budish at 15:26.
Minnesota would keep piling on in the middle frame.
At the 7:20 mark of the second period, Nate Condon dished a pass to captain Taylor Matson from behind the net. Despite having UVM’s Matt Marshall draped all over his back, Matson deposited the puck into the back of the net with a one-time shot to extend the lead to four goals.
UM’s top line struck again midway through the period when Rau hit Bjugstad with a pass on an odd-man rush. Bjugstad quickly wristed a shot past Madore to make it 5-0, ending the Catamount goalie’s night.
With backup goaltender Alex Mazzano between the pipes, Zach Budish capped the scoring with the Gophers’ only power-play score of the game, blasting a shot from the slot off the right post and in.
UM’s run of 15 straight periods with goal ended after UVM held Minnesota scoreless in the final 20 minutes, but Patterson turned aside four shots to preserve the shutout. The senior from Plymouth, Minn. has now blanked Mariucci Arena visitors for the last 186 minutes, 36 seconds, dating back to last season.
The Gophers will look to complete their third sweep of the season and advance to 6-0-0 for the first time since 2001-02 in the series finale on Sunday. The game will begin at 1 p.m.