Hot Gophers put the fire to Vermont in six-goal rout

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 21, 2011 - 11:57 PM

Minnesota stayed undefeated with another strong offensive display by its corps of young snipers.

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The nation's highest-scoring college hockey team embarrassed another opponent at Mariucci Arena on Friday.

The No. 8 Gophers scored three goals in both the first and second periods to rout Vermont 6-0 in a nonconference game. The rematch, because of the Gophers-Nebraska football game across the street on Saturday, won't be until Sunday afternoon.

The Catamounts could use the extra day to figure out what happened.

The Gophers (5-0) opened the season at home two weekends ago by pummeling Sacred Heart 9-0 and 6-0. So in three games at Mariucci, they have outscored the opponents 21-0 and goalie Kent Patterson has three shutouts.

Vermont, picked to finish sixth in Hockey East this season, was playing its first game of the season, and it showed.

"A lot of guys walked out of the locker room and weren't ready for the game," Catamounts coach Kevin Sneddon said. "They weren't ready for the pace. They weren't ready mentally."

The Gophers, coming off an emotional road sweep of defending NCAA champion Minnesota Duluth, scored twice in the first four minutes.

Second-line teammates Jake Hansen and Erik Haula had the assists on both goals. Hansen set up Kyle Rau for the first goal at 44 seconds, finding the freshman with a pass across the slot.

Rau, the left winger on the first line, jumped on the ice on a quick line change and was uncovered near the right post. He has five goals, and this was at least his third from nearly the same spot just outside the crease.

"[Kyle] is a quick, little guy," said center Nick Bjugstad, who had two goals. "He wheels right in there."

Freshman Sam Warning, the usual left winger on that second line, made it 2-0 at 3:37. Haula, from the high slot, found Warning down low. Bjugstad scored the third goal of the first period from the left circle with 4:34 left.

Taylor Matson, Bjugstad and Zach Budish had goals within a 6:33 stretch in the middle of the second period as the Gophers expanded their lead to 6-0.

"We're excited. Everyone is scoring," Bjugstad said. "I didn't have that many shots, but they were going in for me." He scored on both of his shots.

The Gophers came in averaging 6.25 goals per game and, until the third period against Vermont, had scored at least one goal every period.

Vermont pulled senior goalie Rob Madore, playing in his 100th game, after Bjugstad's second goal. Madore was the team MVP last season and had a career 2.68 goals-against average.

"Early on we left [Madore] out to dry," Sneddon said. "We played so poorly in our zone. We were giving up tap-in goals. That's poor coverage."

The Catamounts also did little on offense. Vermont was 0-for-6 on power plays and had only 17 shots on goal, six in the final two periods.

"We could have come in a little lax -- we felt we were the better team on paper," Hansen said. "But we came out hot and scored two goals [my] first two shifts."

At home, that was plenty for Patterson.

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