After withstanding a strong first 10 minutes of pressure from the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, the Golden Gophers men’s hockey team cruised to a 6-1 victory at Mariucci Arena on Friday night. Minnesota received scoring from six different players on the evening, moving to 9-1-1 overall on the season.
Duluth outshot the No. 1 ranked Gophers in the game to a 37-34 advantage but sophomore goaltender Adam Wilcox stopped all but one Bulldogs shot on the night for a career high 36 saves.
“UMD’s a good team, they have good starts. That’s kind of what they’re known for,” Wilcox said after the game.
White Bear Lake native Charlie Sampair struck first for the Bulldogs at 4:19 of the first period. He put home a loose puck that Wilcox made the initial save on, but laid prone in the crease for Sampair to finish off. It was the first of the sophomore’s career but from that point forward, the Gophers barely looked back.
A.J. Michaelson would score his first of the season for the Gophers later in the opening period and the momentum shift was obvious for head coach Don Lucia’s team. Goals from Tom Serratore and Justin Kloos just a half minutes apart would close out the stanza.
“We had a little puck luck go our way and they didn’t, but that wasn’t a 6-1 game,” Lucia said. He gave credit to Duluth’s ability to get chances, but they had to go up against Wilcox, who was on his game on Friday night.
Minnesota would see another three goal output in the second period. Junior co-captain Kyle Rau scored his second goal of the season in classic form by crashing the net against the Bulldogs’ defense. Rau would also add an assist on a Michael Brodzinski power play at 17:07 in the second period to close out the scoring for both teams on the night.
The Gophers did have some trouble staying out of the penalty box. Luckily for Minnesota, the Bulldogs would go 0-for-7 with the man advantage.
The two teams will close out the series on Sunday for a matinee start at Mariucci Arena. Puck drop will be at 4 p.m. CT between the two former Western Collegiate Hockey Association foes.