DULUTH - Mike Connolly of Minnesota Duluth took seven shots on Saturday night against the Gophers and scored on five. Nice percentage.

By early in the second period, UMD was ahead 3-0 on the junior left winger's hat trick. The Gophers rallied, twice getting within one goal, before the Bulldogs eventually won 6-4 at Amsoil Arena before an announced crowd of 6,764.

When Connolly scored the final goal of Friday's 2-2 overtime tie, it was an omen.

"Connolly hadn't scored against us until the last one [Friday] night and then he rips off four more to start the game," Gophers coach Don Lucia said. "He was the difference."

His five goals, the final one an empty-netter, tied a school record set by Pokey Trachsel on Nov. 11, 1972, against Lake Superior State and helped keep the Bulldogs (18-5-4, 13-4-3) in a first-place tie with Denver in the WCHA.

The Gophers (11-11-4, 8-9-3) showed some grit against the onslaught despite playing without captain Jay Barriball for the final two periods because of an undisclosed medical problem.

Minnesota trailed 5-3 when Lucia pulled goalie Kent Patterson with a little over two minutes left. Nate Condon's goal with 1:35 left got the Gophers within one for 15 seconds until you know who scored.

UMD's six-goal outburst came the night that coach Scott Sandelin reunited his top line for the first time in a month.

"It worked pretty well, didn't it?" said Connolly, a 5-9, 180-pound whirlwind from Calgary, Alberta.

Center Jack Connolly (no relation) and right winger Justin Fontaine, up from the second line, both had assists on Mike Connolly's first three goals.

"It was one of those nights when the puck was finding my stick," Connolly said. "Jack and Fons made plays around me. And I wanted to make sure that I made it tougher on Patterson tonight."

In the first three Gophers-Bulldogs games, Patterson held UMD to two goals each game.

"I have never had a night like this," Connolly said. "I haven't even had a hat trick in years and years."

"Might as well give him the puck if he is putting it away," Jack Connolly said.

The Gophers responded well in the second period to Connolly's early flurry. Kevin Wehrs scored at 1:55, Mike Hoeffel eight minutes later. Then Patrick White appeared to tie the score at 3-3 with four minutes left in the period, but his goal was waved off for goalie interference by a teammate.

Connolly's fourth goal, with 1:17 left in the middle period, put the Bulldogs ahead 4-2.

The two teams kept trading goals after that: Defenseman Cade Fairchild scored for the Gophers midway through the third period, Travis Oleksuk for UMD, Condon, then the empty-netter.

"We got a little comfortable, especially with a 3-0 lead," Mike Connolly said. "But we got the win and it feels good."