Sophomore Christian Isackson, a little-used forward last season, scored the first three goals as the Gophers crushed Lethbridge 7-0 on Saturday before a less-than-half-full Mariucci Arena.
This exhibition looked like a a varsity-JV scrimmage. The Gophers, tied for first in one preseason national poll and second in the other, dominated as expected. They outshot the Pronghorns from up north in Alberta 65-16.
Lethbridge's fate was sealed early when one of its forwards received a five-minute major penalty for checking from behind at 4 minutes, 17 seconds.
Isackson, scoreless in 11 games as a freshman, scored 1:45 and 4:13 into the power play to make it 2-0. He got his hat trick 68 seconds into the second period.
"I really put my head to the grindstone during the summer," Isackson said, "and came in trying to be as positive as I can."
Maybe his star is rising. The 6-2, 190-pound right winger was on the Gophers' first line with holdovers Nick Bjugstad and Kyle Rau.
"We wanted to experiment [with lines] at the beginning of the year," Gophers coach Don Lucia said. "Obviously, Christian knows it is a great opportunity for him. We talked about the things he needs to get better at, and he has done that."