Dec. 30, 2017
MINNEAPOLIS - The No. 10 Gopher Hockey program closed out 2017 with a nonconference series sweep over Army West Point, besting the Black Knights 4-1 on Saturday as Mat Robson earned his first career win and Don Lucia became the first coach in program history to win 450 games with the team.
Minnesota (12-9-1 overall, 4-7-1-1 Big Ten) improved to 10-2-0 on the year at 3M Arena at Mariucci thanks to goals from Tyler Sheehy, Tyler Nanne, Mike Szmatula and Sam Rossini.
Making his second start for the Maroon & Gold, Robson (1-1-0) made his home-ice debut on Saturday and turned away 25 out of the 26 shots he faced for his first collegiate win. Between Robson's performance and Eric Schierhorn's 13-save shutout on Friday, the Gophers defense surrendered just one goal on the weekend against 39 shots.
On the other end of the ice, seven Minnesota skaters tallied points on Saturday including multi-point games from Szmatula and Rossini. Rossini's goal and assist marked his first career multi-point performance with the Maroon & Gold.
For the second night in a row, Sheehy got the Gophers going when he put the Gophers up early in the first period. The defending Big Ten Player of the Year scored his seventh of the year at 10:58 off a feed from Tommy Novak before Nanne added to the lead at 19:39 of the opening stanza with his third goal of the year off a setup by Rossini and Szmatula.
Minnesota built on the lead when Szmatula found the net at 1:17 of the second period for his sixth of the year with assists from Scott Reedy and Brent Gates Jr.
Rossini closed out Minnesota's scoring for the night with his third of the year at 8:15 of the third period - an unassisted tally - before Army West Point eventually broke through at 9:23 with a goal from Brendan Soucie.
The Gophers return to action next weekend with a home-and-home series against St. Cloud State. Saturday's series opener is in St. Cloud while Sunday's finale is set for 6 p.m. CT at 3M Arena at Mariucci. Single-game tickets, season tickets and flexible Pick-Your-Packs are currently available at GopherSports.com, by calling 1-800-U-Gopher or by stopping by the ticket office at 3M Arena at Mariucci.
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