Gophers men’s hockey scores five unanswered goals in 6-3 win to sweep Michigan State – The Minnesota Daily
The Gophers are now atop the Big Ten with 25 points after their comeback victory.
After a slow start in East Lansing against Michigan State, the No.9 / 11 Gophers found their place to mount a 6-3 comeback victory to claim the sweep, their seventh straight victory over the Spartans, and take the top spot in the Big Ten with 25 points.
The Gophers, who have split their last five series, are on course for “more consistency,” something head coach Bob Motzko wants his team to improve in the second half of the season.
Much of the first period wasn’t good for Minnesota. The Gophers allowed a shorthanded goal and converted just one of four power plays.
Michigan State’s Erik Middendorf scored the game’s first goal just 3:01 of the first period on an empty net after graduate student goaltender Jack LaFontaine gave up the puck behind the Minnesota net. Next, Jeremy Davidson extended Michigan State’s lead to 2-0 after burying a power-play rebound with 8:29 remaining.
However, the “nine” line stopped the bleeding for the Gophers with 1:16 left in the first period. Freshman Chaz Lucius buried a sharp-angled shot from the bottom of the left circle on the power play to reduce Michigan State’s lead to 2-1.
Early in the second period, Minnesota started controlling the game like they did on Friday night, although they failed to convert to two more power plays.
However, the Spartans got the first answer as Middendorf scored his second goal of the game on a rebound to take Michigan State’s lead to 3-1 with 10:38 left in the period.
In a game where the Gophers started to control the pace of play and shots on goal, nothing seemed to be going their way, especially for most of the second period.
But with less than two minutes to go in the second period, that all changed as junior Ben Meyers and rookie Aaron Huglen scored just 38 seconds apart to tie the game at 3-3 heading into the third period.
Looking to build on their momentum after Huglen’s insane pinball-style goal, the Gophers did just that, scoring three goals in the third period.
Elder Blake McLaughlin scored the game-winning goal for the Gophers after deflecting a point shot from sophomore Brock Faber, marking Minnesota’s first game lead at 4-3.
To close Minnesota’s dominating final in their sweep, junior Jack Perbix scored his third goal this season, and Meyers closed the win by scoring his second goal of the night.
The Gophers’ first four unanswered goals came in the space of 5:03 that stretched from the end of the second period to the start of the third period.
Meyers led the sweep with four goals and one assist. He leads Minnesota with 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in 20 games this season.
The Gophers (12-8) won their third serial sweep this season and the first since sweeping Notre Dame on Saturday, October 30, 2021.
Perbix, Meyers, junior Bryce Brodzinski and rookie Matthew Knies recorded multi-point games as 12 Minnesota skaters scored one point in Saturday’s comeback victory.
The Gophers recorded 60 shots on goal, the season high, while Michigan State had 24.
Minnesota will look to continue their unbeaten start to the year by hosting Alaska on Friday, Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. at 3M Arena in Mariucci.