Forwards Rem Pitlick and Brent Gates Jr. scored third-period goals as the No. 7 Gophers defeated No. 9 Clarkson 3-1 on Friday night at Mariucci Arena in nonconference men’s hockey before an announced crowd of 7,407.
Pitlick’s goal at 7 minutes, 4 seconds of the final period made it 2-0 and proved to be the eventual winning goal. It was the third goal of the season for the sophomore from Plymouth.
Gates added a power-play goal at 10:21.
“I had some chances, great plays by Casey [Mittelstadt], Scott [Reedy] and Tyler [Nanne] to me,” Pitlick said. “Luckily I contributed on one and I’m looking to help out our team [Saturday] at well.”
Junior Eric Schierhorn had a shutout for the Gophers until Nic Pierog scored for the Golden Knights with 1:18 left. Schierhorn finished with 26 saves.
Jake Kielly, a sophomore from Eden Prairie, stopped 25 shots for Clarkson (4-2-1). He came into this series as one of the nation’s top goalies, with a 1.32 goals-against average and a .958 save percentage.
“Eric gave us an opportunity early until we got our legs into the game,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said. “We got better as the night went on. We had to shuffle the lines a little bit, but the guys who we need to score, scored.
“I’m happy for our team that we were able to find a win tonight against a quality opponent.”
Reedy got the first goal of the game, scoring for Minnesota on a rebound at 14:32 of the second period. It was his second goal of the season. Mittelstadt, a freshman like Reedy, had an assists on both of the Gophers’ first two goals.
Both of them had been out of the lineup recently because of injuries, Mittelstadt for one game, Reedy for three.
And, as big as Pitlick’s goal was, so was Gates’ second goal of the season because it came with a man advantage. The Gophers came into this series scoring on only 9.7 percent of their power plays (3 for 31) — only five Division I teams were below that.
“On my goal, we had people in front screening and taking away the goalies eyes,” Gates said.
“We have been struggling a bit numbers-wise, but we’ve been working on it. We felt one coming. It felt really good to finally put one in.”
Minnesota was 1-for-5 on the power play against the Golden Knights — getting six shots on goal; Clarkson was 0-1 with two shots.
The Gophers are now 5-0 all-time against Clarkson, including a 4-3 overtime win a year ago in Potsdam, N.Y.