East Lansing, Mich. - Jack LaFontaine stopped 24 shots and the power play clicked for two goals Thursday night as the No. 5 Gophers began a four-game road trip with a 3-1 victory over Michigan State at Munn Ice Arena +in Big Ten hockey. They have won their first five games this season — the program’s best start in nine years.
“It was a very, very good first road game,” Gophers coach Bob Motzko said. “Special teams and goaltending dictated the score of the game tonight, but I really liked how we played from start to finish.”
Ben Meyers gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead at 7 minutes, 21 seconds of the opening period. Then, 1:36 later, Sampo Ranta made it 2-0 with an even-strength goal.
In the second period, Scott Reedy scored the Gophers’ third goal at 4:09 on another power play. It was his team-leading fourth goal of the season. Meyers and Ranta each have two goals.
Minnesota was 2-for-7 on the power play, Michigan State 0-for-4. The Gophers have killed 13 consecutive penalties so far.
The Gophers, at 5-0, have a conference-leading 15 points. The Spartans are 2-2-1 overall, 1-2-0-1 in Big Ten play for two points, which puts them in last place.
LaFontaine had a shutout until Cole Krygier scored with 3:42 left to play. Michigan State’s Drew DeRitter stopped 31 shots.
Sometime earlier in the day, LaFontaine was named the national men’s goaltender of the month for November by the Hockey Commissioners Association.
LaFontaine, a senior from Mississauga, Ontario, was 4-0 last month, capped by his first career shutout, 2-0 over Ohio State on Nov. 24.
He had a .961 save percentage and a 1.00 goals-against average. His wins, GAA and save percentage led the nation among goalies with more than one appearance this season.
After this victory his save percentage and goals-against average stayed virtually the same.
LaFontaine has given up two goals or fewer in his past 10 starts going back to last season.