Justen Close, a junior from Kindersley, Saskatchewan, made his first start in goal for the Gophers on Friday night and got the win.
Replacing regular Jack LaFontaine, who signed with the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes, Close stopped 14 shots as the No. 8 Gophers beat Alaska 4-1 at 3M Arena at Mariucci for their third straight win.
"Great for Justen to play a whole game," Gophers coach Bob Motzko said. "Three of the last five times we've suited up, he's played and we've got three wins. [Two in exhibition games.] He's getting more comfortable and confident. And away we go."
Freshman Tristan Broz scored his first goal and Matthew Knies, another first-year player, his first goal since Nov. 20, in the opening period to put Minnesota (13-8) ahead 2-0.
Payton Matsui scored for the Nanooks at 13:09 of the second on a power play.
Blake McLaughlin and defenseman Jackson LaCombe, shorthanded, had the Gophers' final two goals in the third. Ben Brinkman had three assists. Gustas Grigals had 22 stops for Alaska.
Goalie Owen Bartoszkiewicz was added to the Gophers' roster this week and was the backup to Close for this game. Bartoszkiewicz, of Northville, Mich., was playing for the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL. He had a 3-7-1 record with a 3.32 GAA.
Potomak's hat trick continues U win streak
Amy Potomak scored three goals — all in the opening period — to lead the No. 4 Gophers to a 7-2 rout of host Minnesota State Mankato in WCHA hockey.
Minnesota (17-5-1, 12-4-1) won its 53rd straight game over the Mavericks and third this season. The second game of the series will be at 4 p.m. Saturday at Ridder Arena.
Brittyn Fleming gave MSU Mankato (9-11-1, 5-11-1) a 1-0 lead at 25 seconds — only the third time Minnesota has not scored first in a game this season. The Mavericks also got the last goal; Kelsey King scored in the last minute of play.
Other goal scorers for the Gophers were Emily Zumwinkle in the first, Taylor Heise in the second and Madeline Wethington and Emma Conner in the third.
Skylar Vetter made 29 saves for the win; Calla Frank stopped 41 shots for MSU Mankato.
Friday's men's results
Northern Michigan 4, No. 1 Minnesota State Mankato 2: Andre Ghantous scored twice and Rico DiMatteo stopped 30 shots as the Wildcats (13-8-1, 5-7-3) ended the Mavericks's nine-game winning streak. Julian Napravnik and Connor Gregga scored for MSU Mankato (20-5, 13-3-1). Northern Michigan is coached by Grant Potulny, the ex-Gophers assistant and player.
Bemidji State 5, Bowling Green 3: Alex Ierullo had a goal and two assists and Mattias Sholl stopped 30 shots as the Beavers won on the road.
Ferris State 3, St. Thomas 1: Peter Thome made 31 saves and Cameron Recchi scored a power-play goal for the Tommies as they lost in Big Rapids, Mich.
No. 7 Minnesota Duluth 4, Miami (Ohio) 1: Casey Gilling, Kobey Bender and Quinn Olson scored third-period goals for host UMD.
No. 13 Notre Dame 3, No. 16 Ohio State 2 (OT): Spencer Stastny's goal 31 seconds into overtime enabled the visiting Irish to beat the Buckeyes. Ohio State, after pulling its goalie, tied the score on Jake Wise's goal with 2:50 left in the third.
No. 4 Michigan 3, Penn State 2: The Wolverines scored three goals in the opening period, including power-play goals by Matt Beniers and Kent Johnson in the last 1:35, to defeat the Nittany Lions. Tyler Paquette and Kevin Wall scored for Penn State in the first five minutes of the third. Erik Portillo made 28 saves for Michigan, Oskar Autio 38 for the Nittany Lions.
Wisconsin 5, Michigan State 2: Mathieu De St. Phalle scored twice as the host Badgers beat the Spartans.