Minnesota scored 10 goals in back-to-back games to trounce Arizona State
Minneapolis, MN – After last weekend’s disappointing losses to Notre Dame, Minnesota needed a good weekend to get back on track.
Boy, did they get it.
The team’s first losing streak of the season ended with a bang, as the Gophers (13-3-0 Overall, 9-3-0 B1G) outscored Arizona State (5-13-2) 20-2 on the weekend. Minnesota reached the 10-goal plateau both nights – the first time they’d scored 10 goals in a game in just over 17 years.
As you’d expect from a 10-0 game, Thursday’s contest was a flat-out rout. Minnesota at one point early in the 2nd period was up 6-0 in goals and 30-2 in shots. ASU made it marginally more competitive from there, but the Gophers ended up winning 10-0 and outshooting the Sun Devils 52-14.
Brannon McManus and Sammy Walker both scored hat tricks Thursday, with Blake McLaughlin posting a 2G-2A line and Scott Reedy picking up five assists in his return to the lineup following an injury. Jack LaFontaine secured his third shutout of the season between the pipes.
Friday’s game didn’t feel as much like a rout as Thursday did – in fact, even though the Gophers scored less than a minute into the game, it was a pretty tight contest until Minnesota blew it open late.
Arizona State scored their first goal of the weekend midway through the first period on a breakaway to tie it at 1-1, and the game remained pretty close into the early minutes of the third. The Gophers scored three unanswered in the middle frame to take a 4-1 lead before ASU scored in the last minute of the period to make it a two-goal game and keep it close at 4-2.
Early in the third, the Gophers took a penalty, giving the Sun Devils a powerplay opportunity with a chance to get within one. However, Sammy Walker had been a single-handed penalty kill dynamo all game, and he created a two-on-one resulting in a Blake McLaughlin shorthanded goal that busted the game open in favor of the Maroon and Gold. The Gophers went on to score five more goals throughout the period to finish the game with a 10-2 win, a score that looked a lot more lopsided than the game felt.
Blake McLaughlin and Jack Perbix scored two goals each on Friday for the Gophers, while freshman defenseman Carl Fish picked up his first college goal in the victory. Sophomore goalie Jared Moe got the start for the second time this season, and earned his second victory over ASU in the process.
Arizona State is going through a difficult stretch – they are on the road the entire season, playing mostly Big Ten teams. Their 5-13-2 record would put them in the lower half of the Big Ten standings, but they do have quality wins over Wisconsin (x2), Notre Dame (x2), and Ohio State on the season.
Minnesota squares off against Ohio State in Columbus next, their second Friday-Saturday series of the year. Friday is a 5PM start, while Saturday’s contest is at 4PM. Both games can be seen on BTN, heard on AM1130, and streamed on the Fox Sports website.
Multiple Gophers had big offensive weekends. Blake McLaughlin led the pack with 7 points (4G-3A); Scott Reedy (1G-5A) and Brannon McManus (4G-2A) each had 6-point weekends; and Sammy Walker (3G-2A), Ben Meyers (2G-3A), and Jackson LaCombe (0G-5A) each had 5 points on the weekend.
Jack LaFontaine recorded his third shutout on the season, and now leads the nation with 11 wins. The senior netminder is fourth in the nation in both save percentage (0.949) and GAA (1.37).
The 20-goal outburst vaulted the Gophers up to 2nd in the country in total offense, behind only UMass Lowell. Minnesota is now averaging just over 4 goals per game. They also are 2nd nationally in defense, allowing only 1.62 goals per contest. Only Minnesota State allows fewer goals per game. The Gopher powerplay is 14th nationally, while the penalty kill is ninth.
Minnesota still leads the Big Ten standings, with 27 points in 12 games. They currently hold a 4-point lead over 2nd place Michigan, although the Gophers have two-games in hand over the Wolverines. Wisconsin is third with 22 points in 12 games.