Minnesota Rides Stout Defense, Timely Goal Scoring to Easy Victory
State College, PA – After controlling the play for the majority of the game on Friday, the Gophers may have felt like they deserved a better result than the 3-2 OT loss to the Nittany Lions that they had.
On Saturday, Minnesota was rewarded for their good play.
The Gophers controlled play on offense, smothered on defense and were disciplined throughout, resulting in steady advantages all over the ice. The final score of 7-1 did not feel like an outburst of firepower from a team that has so often been stymied in the scoring department, but rather the inevitable result of doing the little things better than the other team for nearly a full 60 minutes.
Minnesota (9-10-0 Overall, 4-2-0 B1G) dominated the possession in the first minutes of the game and finally broke the ice at 7:43 of the opening frame. Leon Bristedt took a beautiful feed from Tommy Novak and put the puck past PSU (13-4-3, 3-1-0) goaltender Matthew Skoff to give the Gophers an early 1-0 lead. After taking a too-many-men penalty at 11:40 of the period, the Gophers extended their lead to 2-0 on a Hudson Fasching shorthanded goal. Minnesota drew their first power play on a roughing call at 15:24 of the first, but were not able to capitalize on the man advantage (they went 0-4 for the game) and were up 2-0 after 1.
The Gophers pushed the lead to 3-0 at 2:29 of the second when Tyler Sheehy put home a rebound off the end-boards. Minnesota would play six of the next 15 minutes on the power play, but did not score again in the period, and at the end of two the Gophers held a 3-0 lead.
Vinni Lettieri put Minnesota up 4-0 on a bad Penn State turnover at 1:31 of the third. Michael Brodzinski took a double-minor at 5:49 to give PSU life, and the Nittany Lions pulled their goalie with more than 12 minutes left in the period to try and jumpstart the offense, but Justin Kloos took advantage by firing the puck into the empty net at 9:24 to put the Gophers up 5-0. Minnesota went shorthanded again on a Jack Glover roughing penalty at 13:13, but again it was the Gophers taking advantage, with Hudson Fasching getting his second shorthanded goal of the game on a great individual rush up the left wing before cutting in front of the net and stuffing the puck past Skoff. PSU’s Vince Pedrie, the hero of Friday night’s game, got his second goal of the weekend to break Eric Schierhorn’s shutout bid at 16:21 of the third, but Minnesota’s Ryan Norman answered back with a goal of his own at 17:25 to close out the scoring at seven for Minnesota and one for Penn State.
Minnesota outshot PSU 32-30 in the game. Penn State came into the contest averaging 45 shots on goal per game, so the Gophers did a great job limiting Penn State’s chances.
The win moved the Gophers up to second place in the B1G standings, with 12 points on the season. The team is two points back of first-place Michigan.
Minnesota hosts Michigan State next weekend. The Spartans sit at 5-15-2 overall and 1-5-0 in the B1G, so the Gophers will be looking to earn some more points and potentially move back atop the conference standings.
Gophers with points – Justin Kloos (1G-3A), Hudson Fasching (2-0), Nick Seeler (0-2), Tyler Sheehy, Leon Bristedt, Vinni Lettieri, Ryan Norman (1-0 each), Tommy Novak, Darian Romanko, Jack Ramsey, Jack Sadek (0-1 each)