No. 5 Minnesota (13-4-1, 10-2-0 WCHA) completed its first sweep in nearly a month with a 3-2 victory over Minnesota State on Saturday at Mariucci Arena.
The Gophers replicated their fast start from Friday with a goal less than three minutes into the game.
They maintained that strong attack throughout the first period and stretched their lead to three by the end of the frame.
Seth Ambroz put the Gophers on the board 2:37 into the game when he redirected a Zach Budish shot in for his third goal of the season.
There was an added intensity from both teams following the Ambroz goal and the referees did their best to maintain control of the game.
In whole, the Gophers were called for six penalties in the first period and the Mavericks took five.
Taylor Matson lit the lamp for the second straight game after Ambroz to put the Gophers up 2-0.
Then Kyle Rau housed his 11th goal of the season off a cross-ice feed from Mark Alt late in the first period to further pad the Minnesota lead.
Rau’s goal would prove to be the difference.
In the second, Zach Lehrke netted a power-play goal to cut the deficit to one.
Nate Condon had two prime scoring opportunities in front of the net with a chance to add to the lead, but goaltender Austin Lee stood on his head to keep Minnesota State (3-12-1, 2-9-1 WCHA) in the game.
Lee finished with 37 saves on the night and did not allow a goal after the three-goal first period.
Lehrke added another power-play goal with a five-on-three advantage in the third period to cut the narrow the gap to one and keep Minnesota State’s hope alive.
The Mavericks pulled Lee with less than a minute remaining and took a late timeout in attempt to net the equalizer, but came up short and the Gophers walked away with a 3-2 victory.
Minnesota stayed atop the WCHA with the sweep and is still one point ahead of rival Minnesota Duluth, which also recorded a sweep over the weekend.