Bob Motzko was trying his best to stay patient. When the Gophers men's hockey coach looked at his roster, he saw a wealth of players who could score — but few of them were actually doing it.

Motzko felt it was just a matter of time before that changed. On Friday, he was proved right, as the No. 6 Gophers pummeled Minnesota Duluth 5-1 at 3M Arena at Mariucci. Cal Thomas scored the first goal of his college career, Rhett Pitlick got his first of the season and Bryce Brodzinski added a pair to lift the Gophers out of a three-game slump.

A crowd announced at 10,739, the second-largest in arena history, saw the Gophers put together a complete performance. They outshot the 14th-ranked Bulldogs 30-15 and held them without a goal on three power plays. UMD did not score until Carter Loney's goal at 16 minutes, 3 seconds of the third period.

During their three-game losing streak, the Gophers scored just five total goals. Getting five in one game, Motzko said, should be "fuel in their tank" for Saturday's series finale and beyond.

"These are young guys," Motzko said. "We've had a tough schedule, and goals are hard to come by. That gets in their brains.

"They can breathe now. You've got to play the game the right way, but they also need to be rewarded to continue to move forward."

The game was the Gophers' first this season with all players healthy and available. Captain Mike Koster, a defenseman, made his season debut after recovering from a knee injury.

After the Gophers were swept by Wisconsin last weekend — and tumbled from the No. 1 ranking — they were eager to atone. Though Motzko wasn't happy with the outcome, he wasn't worried.

His team gathered itself following a poor showing in the first game and played much better in the second. With everyone healthy, he said last week's practices had a different feel. The Gophers spun that into a productive week of preparation.

"We tried to simplify our game in practice," forward Charlie Strobel said. "It's about going back to the basics, playing simple hockey and outworking the opponent."

Their first task Friday was to come out blazing, pushing pucks deep into the Bulldogs' zone and putting pressure on them during the opening 10 minutes. They succeeded, and Thomas scored on a rebound just 3:21 into the game.

Brodzinski netted a goal off a Bulldogs turnover with 15.9 seconds left in the first period, and Moore's snipe from the left circle put the Gophers up 3-0 at 1:14 of the second. Pitlick, whose speed helped set up Thomas's goal, jammed the puck in midway through the third on a sequence that ended with an injury to UMD goaltender Zach Stejskal.

Stejskal, who recorded 17 saves, had to be helped off the ice and was replaced by Matthew Thiessen.

After their rousing start, the Gophers made good on their next aim: a strong finish. They allowed UMD only two shots on goal in the second period and five in the third.

"We've been talking all week about working hard, getting pucks deep and getting on them as a group," said Thomas, whose first college goal came in his 47th game. "We wanted to play a full 60 [minutes]. We didn't really think we'd done that this year."

Not long after the game, the Gophers already were focused on Saturday's game in Duluth.

"That's one win," Koster said. "We've got to make sure we keep rolling and keep getting a step better every single day."