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Gophers roll to victory at Notre Dame – Twin Cities



SOUTH BEND, Ind. — All week, Minnesota coach Bob Motzko preached patience when facing Notre Dame. But the Gophers looked notably impatient to score when facing the Irish.

For the fifth consecutive series, dating back to Thanksgiving weekend, the Gophers won the opener of a two-game series on Friday, scoring early and often to blast past Notre Dame 5-1.

“Strong, strong game. All four lines were in on the offense tonight,” said Motzko, heaping praise on his club after they won their fifth consecutive meeting with the Irish. “Good transition, good team speed, good team defense. One bad penalty kill. That was it. … It was awful strong by us.”

Needing a win to keep pace with conference leaders Ohio State and Michigan, the Gophers 15-10-0 (10-5-0 Big Ten) got a pair of goals from Blake McLauhglin, who now has nine goals in 12 career games played at Notre Dame’s Compton Family Ice Arena. Grant Cruikshank, Tristan Broz and Sammy Walker added goals for the Gophers, who got a career high 28 saves from Justen Close.

The opening 20 minutes were something akin to a perfect road period for the Gophers, who built a three-goal lead relatively quickly, and chased the Irish starting goalie after just five shots – three of which went in the net.

Cruikshank started things with a seeing-eye wrist shot that was the team’s first shot of the game, and eluded Matthew Galajda for a 1-0 lead.

“It was a great start for us. We’ve been a great road team all year, and I think we have a nice little comfort when I come on the road with each other,” Cruikshank said. “We came out flying. It was great.”

Broz got his second collegiate goal just over two minutes later, tipping in a shot by Jackson LaCombe that was stopped but lingered in the crease just a bit too long.

Then McLaughlin bounced one off the hip of the goalie from behind the goal line. The play began when Close cleared the puck up ice, and the goalie was credited with his first career assist on the scoresheet. Walker scored on the first shot of the second period to make it a four-goal lead.

“This is his building, no question,” said Motzko of McLaughlin. “You see that all the time. All hockey players tell you they just love certain buildings and things go well for them.”

Notre Dame (17-8-0, 9-6-0) got a second period power-play goal from Trevor Janicke to ruin the shutout bid.

Matthew Galajda started the game in goal for the Irish, but he left after stopping two of the five shots he faced. Former Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Fargo Force goalie Ryan Bischel finished the game with 17 saves.

“That’s been a tendency of ours here at home. We don’t start well on Friday nights, and then it just spiraled out of control after that,” said Irish coach Jeff Jackson. “I’ve got to believe our guys were ready, but not ready in the right way. Most of the problems we had were self-inflicted.”

The series concludes with a 5 p.m. first faceoff on Saturday.



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