Following a sweep of defending champion Minnesota-Duluth in two dramatic games last weekend, the Gophers left no doubt in the first game of their weekend series with Vermont.
No. 8 Minnesota (5-0-0, 2-0-0 WCHA) scored 44 seconds into a three-goal first period and never looked back en route to a 6-0 blowout at Mariucci Arena on Friday.
Kyle Rau scored the first goal of the game after skating into the Catamounts’ zone unnoticed after a quick line change. Rau took a cross ice pass from Jake Hansen near the crease and flipped it into the back of net.
But the Gophers were just getting started.
Hansen forced a Vermont turnover less than three minutes later and made the Catamounts pay. He centered the puck to Erik Haula who quickly snapped a pass to Sam Warning to the right of the goal. Warning blasted a one-timer past Vermont goaltender Rob Madore to make it 2-0.
Nick Bjugstad stretched the lead to three when he fired a wrist shot five-hole.
The three-goal lead would be more than enough for Kent Patterson.
Patterson recorded his third shutout, but only had to turn away 17 shots in total.
Minnesota only outshot Vermont 14-11 in the first period, but limited the Catamounts to two shots in the second period and four shots in the third.
Taylor Matson added an insurance goal 7:20 into the second period to make it 4-0.
Bjugstad scored his second goal of the game a little over two minutes later. Rau skated into the zone and centered a pass to Bjugstad who ripped it top shelf.
Vermont pulled Madore from the game following his fifth goal allowed and turned to Alex Vazzano in net. Vazzano saw significantly more success in net than Madore, making 18 saves on 19 shots.
Zach Budish scored the Gophers’ sixth goal of the game when he fired a shot from the slot that went off the post and into the net.
The Gophers continued their strong penalty kill play on the night, but could keep pace on their nation-leading power play. Minnesota went 6-for-6 on the penalty kill, but only converted on one of its six opportunities with a man advantage.
Budish’s goal at 13:53 in the second period proved to be the final goal of the game as neither team scored in the third period.
The Gophers have now outscored teams 21-0 in three home games this season. Minnesota and Vermont will play the second half of the weekend series Sunday at Mariucci Arena.