COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — History was on the side of Minnesota, which notched its 147th all-time victory over Colorado College in a 3-0 blanking Saturday. The Gophers swept the weekend series against the Tigers for the first time since January 1992 when Minnesota won back-to-back games with scores of 6-1 and 4-1 in Minneapolis.
Physical play by both teams resulted in 22 penalty minutes in the first period, 12 for the Tigers and 10 for the Gophers. But, in a repeat of last night’s 2-1 Gopher victory, the opening stanza was scoreless.
Though CC was faced with a penalty kill 23 seconds into the game, the Tigers outshot Minnesota 10-3, but as a result of penalties and physical confrontations throughout the period, neither team was able to convert on any scoring chances.
Despite managing only five shots in the second period, the Golden Gophers demonstrated why they are two-time defending national champions by tallying two goals.
Forward Andy Sertich scored at 1:12 of the second stanza on a deflection by Tiger forward Aaron Slattengren, and Minnesota scored its second tally of the period at 15:10 when Thomas Vanek, Minnesota’s leading scorer, notched his 13th goal of the season on an up-ice pass from Jake Fleming. Vanek skated through the zone and snapped the puck over CC goaltender Matt Zaba’s shoulder.
With nine seconds left on the clock Tiger center Trevor Frischman was sent to the box on a slashing call. Linemate Tyler Liebel had a shorthanded breakaway chance, but was turned away by Gopher goaltender and Colorado Springs native Kellen Briggs to end the period 2-0.
The Gophers dominated third-period play, notching their third goal at 1:36. Gopher captain Grant Potulny tossed the puck into the net on the power play just before the net was knocked off. Potulny lifted the puck, which rolled over Zaba’s back to give the Gophers a 3-0 lead.
Minnesota’s Briggs posted two wins in the weekend series in front of his hometown crowd, earning the third shutout of his career to tie the school record for rookie shutouts with Adam Hauser.
Briggs registered 24 saves in Saturday’s victory. Zaba made 21 saves in his fourth loss in net for the Tigers.
“We played pretty well in the first two periods,” said CC head coach Scott Owens. “We had good goaltending, we killed penalties and we were good defensively. Collectively, we can’t get anything done offensively.
The Tigers face off against Minnesota-Duluth at the DECC January 16 and 17, while Minnesota travels to Minnesota State for a two-game series.