Gophers Skate Past Spartans at Mariucci
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) – Justin Kloos scored 21 seconds into his 100th collegiate game and the Gopher Hockey program never looked back as Minnesota opened this weekend’s Big Ten series against Michigan State with a 5-2 victory at Mariucci Arena.
The Gophers (10-10-0 overall, 5-2-0-0 Big Ten) jumped back into a tie with Michigan for the league points lead (15) with the win after Hudson Fasching notched a two-goal night for the second-straight game while Leon Bristedt matched his career high with three points – all assists. Tommy Novak also contributed a pair of assists in the win.
After scoring four points last Saturday, Kloos scored Minnesota’s quickest opening goal of the season for his sixth goal of the year at 0:21 of the first period. Minnesota’s active-leading scorer with 79 points, Kloos was set up by Connor Reilly and Tyler Sheehy as Minnesota has now scored three times in the opening minute of play this season and is 8-1-0 when scoring first.
Meanwhile, Fasching’s two goals put him one point behind Kloos for the active-scoring lead at 78 while the junior forward and alternate captain leads Minnesota with 13 goals (third in the Big Ten) and 22 points (fourth in the Big Ten) this season. Fasching pounded home a loose at 2:16 of the second for his first of the night and scored again at 11:36 of the third after Jake Bischoff closed out the second with his fourth goal of the year – a new career-best for the junior after scoring three in both his freshman and sophomore seasons – at 5:58 for the eventual game winner. Bristedt assisted on all three of the goals while Novak had a pair of helpers and Nick Seeler picked up his third assist in the last two games.
Michigan State (5-16-2, 1-6-0-0) cracked the scoreboard at 12:29 when Connor Wood to make it 4-1, but Minnesota answered back less than a minute later when the line of Ryan Norman, Darian Romanko and Jack Ramsey reclaimed a four-goal lead for the Gophers at 13:13 as Norman scored his third of the year and tallied for the second-straight game. Villiam Haag cut it to 5-2 at 17:29 of the third, but the game would get no closer.
Four of Minnesota’s five goals on the night came from juniors as the class has now scored 34 of Minnesota’s 62 goals this year (.548). The Gophers also killed five disadvantages tonight and have now been successful in 15-straight penalty kills dating back to the Mariucci Classic title game with nationally ranked Harvard.
In goal, Eric Schierhorn made 17 saves to move to 10-10-0 for the Gophers with the win as Minnesota outshot the Spartans 30-19. Minnesota has now tallied 30 or more shots in four of the last five games (29 in a 4-3 overtime loss to Harvard on Jan. 2).
The Gophers close out this weekend’s series with Michigan State at 7:33 p.m. CT on Saturday at Mariucci Arena.