Gophers Take Down Catamounts 5-1 in Series Opener
Nov. 23, 2012
BURLINGTON, Vt. – Eleven different Gophers notched points including the first career goal for Mike Reilly and the first career points for A.J. Michaelson and Adam Wilcox as the No. 4 Minnesota men’s hockey team topped Vermont 5-1 on Friday night.
Minnesota (8-2-2 overall, 4-2-2 WCHA) pushed its unbeaten streak to five games with the win (3-0-2) and outshot its opponent for the 11th time in 12 games this season (35-23 on Friday night).
In a night of several firsts, Seth Ambroz’s fourth goal of the year at 7:54 of the first period opened the game for the Gophers and gave Michaelson his first point as a Gopher with an assist. Travis Boyd also earned an assist on the goal. The Catamounts (2-6-2, 2-5-2 Hockey East) would respond at 15:26 when Brent Bruneteau tallied his second of the year (assists from Matt White and HT Lenz), but the Gophers would set the pace for the remainder of the game – scoring four unanswered goals in the Minnesota’s debut at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Kyle Rau picked up the eventual game winner – his team-high third of the year – at 18:39 of the first period with assists from Zach Budish and Erik Haula. Rau, Budish and Nick Bjugstad led the way for Minnesota with two points (one goal, one assists) each. Haula, meanwhile, had additional reason to celebrate tonight’s win as the junior was named an alternate captain prior to puck drop.
After allowing 12 shots by the Catamounts in the first period, Minnesota would give up just 11 in the game’s final two stanzas while setting the pace of play with 24 shots of its own in the final 40 minutes. Budish, Rau and Bjugstad would hook up early in the second period for the game’s lone power-play goal at 2:26. Budish found the loose puck in front of the Vermont net and slammed his third goal of the year through the scrum for the insurance goal. Minnesota would finish the night 1-for-4 on the power play while the Catamounts were 0-for-4 on the advantage.
Wilcox, who put together another stellar performance in net, earned his first career point later in the second. The rookie netminder made one of his 22 saves and pushed the loose puck to Nate Schmidt in the corner. From there, Schmidt found Bjugstad streaking out of the penalty box for the breakaway goal – Bjugstad’s team-leading seventh goal of the year. Wilcox, who leads the WCHA in goals against average, improved to 7-1-2 in his rookie campaign. The South St. Paul native has allowed just six goals during Minnesota’s current unbeaten streak and has now given up one goal or less in six of his appearances this season.
The Gophers closed out the night with Mike Reilly’s first career goal just over two minutes later at 14:56. Reilly, who entered the night with six assists under his belt, was set up by Jake Parenteau for the game’s final goal.
Minnesota is now 2-1-0 all-time against the Catamounts and has outscored Vermont 16-5 in those meetings. The two teams close out this weekend’s nonconference series tomorrow night at 6 p.m. CT.
-Pride on Ice-