BEMIDJI, Minn. — One night after Sam Warning matched his personal best for points in a game, the Minnesota junior tied his personal record for goals in a game.
Warning scored the first and third goals for the No. 3 Gophers in a 5-1 win against Bemidji State Saturday at the Sanford Center.
“Like I always say, I have to give credit to my linemates and just get pucks to the net,” Warning said. “We played hard and fast and got pucks to the net and we got rewarded for it.”
Warning left Bemidji with five points — three goals and two assists — on the weekend, stepping up as Minnesota’s offensive leader on an 11-goal weekend and a sweep.
Warning’s totals after four games — five goals and four assists — have the makings of a vast improvement from a sophomore season shortened to 29 games because of injuries. He finished with eight goals and 15 assists in 2012-13.
“The big challenge for Marshall this year is being consistent,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. “As a junior, he’s off to a tremendous start.”
After the Gophers took another early penalty, they allowed an early goal, just as they did Friday.
Jeff Jubinville opened the scoring for the Beavers 2:37 into the game, 10 seconds after the tripping penalty to Minnesota’s Hudson Fasching expired. Danny Mattson moved the puck ahead from the blue line to Marku Gerbrandt cutting into the slot. The Gophers left Jubinville open on the backside and Gerbrandt slid the puck to Jubinville, who sent a one-timer through Minnesota goalie Adam Wilcox’s pads.
“The Gophers moved well and defended well and made it hard for us to get second-chance opportunities,” Bemidji coach Tom Serratore said. “We had to rely a lot on our power play.”
It took Warning and the Gophers nearly 15 minutes to respond with the equalizer, partly because they were without junior captain Kyle Rau. Rau, a first-line center, was cut on his leg underneath the breezer as he took a big check early in the first period. He headed down the tunnel and didn’t return until after the first intermission.
“Kyle got cut on the back of the leg so he had to get stitched up and we couldn’t get much flow going with our lines,” Lucia said. “It was a difficult start, taking a penalty 15 seconds into the game and turning a puck over for the first goal. Bemidji came out extremely hard like we knew they would.”
Then came five unanswered Minnesota goals.
Warning waited in the left circle and fired a one-timer from a low angle below the dot and the shot made its way through traffic and past Bemidji netminder Andrew Walsh with 2:55 left in the first period. Warning’s big windup left him on his knees after the goal as his teammates helped him to his feet.
“I was just tired; I saw it go in and I was a little exhausted,” Warning said. “I got a pass from (Travis) Boyd and it deflected off a defender, so it was a pretty lucky goal.
“That was a big momentum shift because we didn’t start too good.”
Minnesota got its first lead of the game at 11:40 of the second period when Taylor Cammarata knocked in a puck that ricocheted off the end glass with Walsh out of position. The Gophers broke into the zone led by Hudson Fasching, who backhanded the puck on goal.
Warning swept in front of the crease and tapped the puck through Walsh’s five-hole two minutes after the Cammarata goal.
Mike Reilly and Justin Kloos added goals for Minnesota and Adam Wilcox made 24 saves. Kloos also had two assists and Cammarata had an assist to go with his goal.
The Gophers (4-0) next host Boston College Friday night and Sunday afternoon at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis. BSU falls to 0-3-1 and opens its WCHA schedule at Alabama-Huntsville next weekend.
“We play probably the best team in the country next weekend (Boston College),” Lucia said. “We have a lot of holes in our team so we have a way to go.
“We beat the teams we’re supposed to and it’s nice to be 4-0 in nonconference, but the competition will really step up and we’ll find out where we’re at.”