The No. 4 Gopher men’s hockey team recorded its largest offensive output in just over 17 years on Thursday night as Minnesota earned a 10-0 win over Arizona State at 3M Arena at Mariucci.
The Gophers (12-3-0 overall, 9-3-0-0-0-0 Big Ten), who last scored 10 goals in a 10-3 win over Minnesota State on Jan. 17, 2004, picked up hat tricks from Brannon McManus and Sammy Walker while Jack LaFontaine picked up his third shutout of the season. The pair of hat tricks marked the first time the Maroon & Gold had recorded multiple hat tricks in a game since three Gophers (Thomas Vanek, Jon Waibel and Troy Riddle) did so in a 12-1 win over Alabama Huntsville on Nov. 1, 2002.
Thirteen Gophers tallied points in Thursday’s win including eight skaters with multi-point games. McManus (three goals, one assist), Scott Reedy (four assists) and Blake McLaughlin (two goals, two assists) led the way with a career-high four points each – Reedy having done so in his return to the lineup after a three-game absence due to injury.
McLaughlin opened the night with the game’s eventual deciding goal – one of four tallies in the first period by the Gophers before adding three in the second and three in the third. In addition to goals from McLaughlin, Walker and McManus, Ben Meyers and Nathan Burke scored for the Maroon & Gold while Carl Fish recorded two assists for his first collegiate points.
The Gophers outshot Arizona State (5-12-2) by a 52-14 margin on Thursday night for the team’s highest shot total of the season.
LaFontaine (11-3-0) made 14 saves on 14 shots to earnt the win for the Gophers while Justin Robbins (1-2-0) suffered the loss for Arizona State.
Minnesota returns to play on Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. CT
With three-straight goals, McManus recorded Minnesota’s first natural hat trick since Sam Warning tallied one in a 4-2 win over Ohio State on Jan. 18, 2014.
Motzko likes business-like approach
“We had a real strong game tonight…we had some orneriness to us,” Minnesota head coach Bob Motzko said. “Arizona State is banged up right now, and tonight was just not going to be a good night. They’re still a really good hockey team and a well-coached team. We just got on it early. They’ll have a good push tomorrow, and they’ll get back at it.”
(info and photos courtesy of Gopher Sports)