ANN ARBOR, MICH. – This was quite a reversal of fortunes.
One night after playing perhaps their best, most complete game of the season, the Gophers were back to their inconsistent selves: a fifth consecutive weekend with a series split.
No. 3 Michigan routed Minnesota 6-2 on Saturday night at Yost Ice Arena. On Friday it was a dominating 5-1 victory, except in favor of the visitors.
Bryce Brodzinski scored midway through the opening period for the No. 11 Gophers — the Wolverines challenged the goal, but lost the review.
After that it was all Michigan (13-5, 6-4), especially Michael Pastujov who had his first career hat trick.
Mark Estpa and Pastujov, a fifth-year forward from Bradenton, Fla., got goals 27 seconds apart — the Wolverines' two quickest goals this season — to put Michigan ahead 2-1 with 4:45 in the first. Pastujov scored his second goal with 1:48 on the clock.
Michigan got three more goals in the second. Pastujov got the first — his third goal of the game, all back-to-back, and seventh of the season — a little less than four minutes into the period. Jay Keranen and Nolan Moyle, with 34 seconds in the period, kept the scoring spree going.
After Keranen made it 5-1 at 13:38 of the second, Gophers coach Bob Motzko pulled goalie Jack LaFontaine. Justen Close replaced him.
The Gophers (10-8, 6-4) got the only goal of the third period. Grant Cruikshank scored it with 3:50 left.
LaFontaine finished with 21 saves, Close had 17 and Michigan netminder Erik Portillo 21.