MINNEAPOLIS — The Gophers have struggled all year scoring goals, especially at home.
They have only reached the four goal plateau three times in 14 home games before Friday’s night’s tilt against Alaska-Anchorage. And those three games were the first three of the season.
“The effort was evident right from the first shift. I thought all four lines played well, the six defenseman, the goaltender made some good saves,” said Minnesota head coach Don Lucia.
In eight of their home games they scored two or less goals.
So Friday night’s five goal outburst finally gave the Mariucci faithful something to cheer about as well as earning a free custard from Culver’s, a longtime Wisconsin Badgers tradition that has made its way north.
“I thought we did a great job attacking the net. A good job of not over passing and still making plays when plays were there,” said Lucia.
The Gophers dominated the first 10 minutes of the game outshooting the Seawolves 9-3 on their way to a 2-0 lead.
“They got all five goals off rush chances. We talked about that we have to have the ability to defend the rush,” said Seawolves head coach Dave Shyiak.
Nate Condon opened the scoring at 4:30 on a transition goal. Condon skated the puck into the zone and shot high over the blocker side beating Rob Gunderson high.
“It was a clear cut 2 on 1. I didn’t even see it go in, I saw the reaction from everyone else. It felt really good,” remarked Nate Condon.
Sixty-two seconds later, the Gophers made it 2-0, when Tom Serratore went top shelf on Gunderson from the top of the crease on a goal line feed from Nick Larson.
Minnesota almost made it 3-0 on a blast from the right point that went off Gunderson shoulder and popped straight up landing behind the goaltender. Defenseman Brad Gorham swooped in just before the puck crossed the line to clear the puck out of harm’s way.
The Seawolves made it 2-1 on a power play goal. Minnesota’s penalty kill percent down to epic lows at 73.2% for the season.
Minnesota goaltender played well allowing just one goal on 29 shots.
Patterson made the stop on blueline shot from Luka Vidmar and lost track of the puck at the side of the net. The puck was just a foot behind him within glove reach. Mitch Bruijsten picked up the puck and scored on a wraparound play while on his backhand.
“I thought when they went up two goals they relaxed a bit. We got that one break on the power play goal made it a game,” said Shyiak.
Nick Larson scored at 2:19 of the second on the power play on a short feed from Kevin Wehrs on a transition play.
The play started on a faceoff in Minnesota end. The Gophers had just survived a defensive turnover in deep. Patterson had to make two shorthanded saves. The Gophers started back the other way lead by Wehrs fed a 4 foot pass to Larson who fired a bullet past Gunderson.
The game could have easily been 2-2 but instead the Seawolves were down by two.
The Gophers extended their lead to 4-1 on another goal of transition at 10:57. Nick Larson took a pass on a 3-on-2 from Nick Bjugstad and split the defensemen firing a shot from 15 feet out past Gunderson
Aaron Ness made it 5-1 and earned the crowd free ice cream on yet another transition goal.
The same two teams faceoff Saturday night at 7:05 at Mariucci.
Video: Minnesota coach Don Lucia:
Video: Alaska-Anchorage coach Dave Shyiak: