The Gophers scored three goals in the first 9 minutes and 6 seconds en route to a 7-2 victory over Michigan State on Friday night in a Big Ten hockey series at 3M Arena at Mariucci. They are 8-0-1 in their last nine meetings with the Spartans.
Linemates Rem Pitlick and Tyler Sheehy got the first two goals for Minnesota (4-5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) only 25 seconds apart in the fourth minute of play on the first two shots of the game. That prompted Spartans coach Sam Saliba to replace Drew DeRidder in goal with John Lethemon.
About 5½ minutes later, Brannon McManus made it 3-0 — on the Gophers' third shot on goal. Seven seconds later, Mitch Lewandowski got the first goal for the Spartans (4-7, 0-3).
Brent Gates, the other wing on the Pitlick's line, restored Minnesota's three-goal lead just 54 seconds into the second period. Sammy Walker's goal at 7:12 gave the Gophers a 5-1 lead.
The two teams traded goals in the final 10 minutes of the middle period. Patrick Khodorenko got MSU within 5-2, but Clayton Phillips answered with 1:55 left. McManus had the only goal of the third, on a power play in the 12th minute.
Matt Robson stopped 22 shots for the Gophers; Lethemon had 16 saves and Lethemon, who returned in the second, had six for the Spartans.
The Gophers' seven goals tied their season high this season — they beat Minnesota Duluth 7-4 on Oct. 7. They came into this series averaging only 2.33 goals per game, which put them 43rd nationally.