COLORADO SPRINGS – Sophomore forward Blake McLaughlin’s goal midway through the third period gave the Gophers a 4-3 comeback victory over Colorado College at Broadmoor World Arena on Saturday night and a split in their season-opening series. The Tigers won the first game 3-2.
McLaughlin, of Grand Rapids, broke a 3-all tie at 10 minutes, 1 second of the final period. It was his first goal of the season; he had five as a freshman. It also helped him atone for a tripping penalty in the first period — the Tigers scored as it was expiring to go ahead 2-0.
“A good weekend for our hockey team,” Gophers coach Bob Motzko said. “We saw a little bit of everything, but overall I liked how we played all weekend.
“The mistakes cost us dearly. But even the first period when we were down 2-0 we were playing well.”
The Gophers switched to a different goalie this game, starting Jared Moe instead of Jack LaFontaine.
Moe, a 6-4 freshman and a New Prague native who played for Waterloo of the USHL last season, faced 10 shots in the opening period, and two slipped past him. Andrew Gaus scored at 2:01 on a rebound and Chris Wilkie, who had two goals on Friday, made it 2-0 on a high, glove-side shot at 17:10 — one second after McLaughlin came out of the penalty box.
Sampo Ranta, a sophomore forward from Finland, cut the Tigers’ lead to 2-1 on a power-play goal at 2:42 of the second period. Bryce Brodzinski, a freshman forward, and Moe had the first assists of their college careers on the goal.
Grant Cruikshank restored Colorado College’s two-goal lead at 13:31 of the middle period. But the Gophers tied the score at 3-all on goals by Sammy Walker, on a power play at 17:05, and by defenseman Matt Staudacher just 28 seconds later.
Walker got a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for contact to the head just under four minutes into the third period. But the Gophers successfully killed off that long man disadvantage.
The Tigers were 0-for-4 on the power play, the Gophers 2-for-7.
Moe finished with 27 saves, 10 in the third period. Ryan Ruck had 32 stops for Colorado College.
Afterward Motzko praised his penalty-killers and the determination of his players.
“We kept fighting through and found some offense,” he said, “and that’s what we needed to do.”