The Gophers used a four-goal outburst in both the second and third periods, paired with Kent Patterson’s first career shutout to take control in their first game of the season.
Nick Bjugstad and Seth Ambroz added two goals apiece as No. 19 Minnesota (1-0-0) eviscerated Sacred Heart 9-0 Friday night at Mariucci Arena.
The Gophers didn’t waste any time netting the inaugural goal of the season and never looked back.
Highly touted freshman Kyle Rau, who head coach Don Lucia called “fearless”, fought to keep a puck in the zone and centered it to Nick Bjugstad. Bjugstad shot wide of the net, but Rau was there to bat it in as the puck floated around in the crease for his first career goal.
Minnesota controlled the tempo for a majority of the first period and had a pair of power play opportunities in attempt to build on their lead, but didn’t score.
The Gophers entered the first intermission with 1-0 lead.
It was the second period, however, when it all unraveled for the Pioneers.
Jake Hansen raced into the Sacred Heart zone at 5:26 into the second period off a beautiful lead pass by Erik Haula. Hansen beat Sacred Heart goaltender Steven Legatto with a slap shot stick side and the onslaught was on.
Bjugstad added a goal at 14:24 with a sprawling backhanded shot that beat Legatto top shelf.
Bjugstad was tripped in the process so the Gophers started on the power play for the ensuing faceoff, but couldn’t take capitalize of the man advantage.
This was a recurring theme for Minnesota on the night as they only converted on one of its seven power plays.
Haula and freshman Sam Warning scored two more goals at 16:27 and 18:37, respectively, to make it 5-0 entering the third.
Bjugstad scored his second goal of the night less than a minute into the third period when he found the puck behind the back of the net and used his length to beat Legatto on a wraparound goal.
Minnesota dominated nearly every facet of the game en route to outshooting the Pioneers 47-20.
Tom Serratore and Ambroz knocked in three late goals to finalize the score at 9-0.
Seven different players scored on the night for the Gophers and all four lines tallied a goal.
Minnesota will be back in action tomorrow night for the second game of the weekend series with Sacred Heart.
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