MINNEAPOLIS – A dominant performance in the first 40 minutes carried the newly minted No. 8/7 Gopher men’s hockey program to a 4-1 win over No. 10 Ohio State on Monday night at 3M Arena at Mariucci as Minnesota has now won three-straight games to open its 100th season of play and five-straight contests dating back to last year.
Brock Faber, Sammy Walker, Bryce Brodzinski and Ben Meyers scored for the Maroon & Gold while Ryan Johnson added a pair of assists.
Minnesota (3-0-0 overall, 3-0-0-0-0 Big Ten) dominated the first half of Monday’s series opener – jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first period and holding Ohio State to just one shot on goal in the first 26:05 of action. The Buckeyes (0-1-0, 0-1-0-0-0) put a puck on net 30 seconds into the game and were then held without a shot on goal until 6:05 into the second period.
After an early goal by the Gophers was waved off, Faber snapped the scoreless tie at 11:22 for his first career goal with assist from Johnson and Jaxon Nelson. Walker then added to lead with another late goal in the period – his second of the season – at 18:54 after being set up by Sampo Ranta and Brannon McManus. The Buckeyes got on the board at 12:56 of the second period with a goal from Gustaf Westlund but Minnesota answered right back less than three minutes later when Brodzinski tipped Mike Koster’s shot from the point at 15:54 for a power-play goal. Johnson added his second assist of the night on the tally. Meyers picked up his first of the season with a short-handed, empty net goal at 19:04 of the third period.
In net, Jack LaFontaine (3-0-0) picked up his fifth-straight win dating back to last year, making 16 saves for the Gophers. The senior has now started 11-straight games for Minnesota and has allowed two goals or fewer in each of his last eight starts. Tommy Nappier (0-1-0) made 23 saves in his first outing of the year.
Minnesota closes out a four-game home stand on Tuesday, Nov. 24 against Ohio State on the Big Ten Network. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. CT.
Quotes from Coach
“I’m a little reluctant to say this…We have another whole level we’re going to hit yet. It’s going to take us some time – that’s what we’re excited about,” Minnesota head coach Bob Motzko said. “Tomorrow night is our fourth game in six nights – that’s not an excuse – we have to be ready to go. But we have a group that is going to be ready for that challenge.”
Minnesota has now won three-straight against the Buckeyes (all at 3M Arena at Mariucci) and is unbeaten in its last four against Ohio State (3-0-1)…the Gophers outshot the Buckeyes 27-17 while going 1-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill (Minnesota is 3-for-8 on the power play and 9-for-9 on the penalty kill this season)…the ‘U’ won 36-of-51 faceoffs with Meyers going 15-for-18 and Scott Reedy going 13-for-17.