MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The Minnesota men's hockey team showed no rust after their final off week of the 2010-11 season in a 5-1 triumph against Alaska Anchorage at Mariucci Arena on Friday night. The Gophers got goals from five different players and received solid goaltending from Kent Patterson, who stopped 28 shots in the victory.
The Gophers got on the board 4:30 into the game when freshman Nate Condon and defenseman Cade Fairchild converted a two-on-one into an early goal. With the passing lane to Fairchild blocked off by a Seawolf defenseman, Condon fired a snapshot over the shoulder of UAA goaltender Rob Gunderson for his sixth goal of the season and first since Nov. 28.
Just 1:02 later, freshman Tom Serratore added to the lead when he buried a pass from Nick Larson. Larson set up Serratore with a one-timer just outside the crease after streaking down the right wing with the puck.
Later in the period, the Seawolves took advantage of Serratore's third penalty of the season to trim the deficit to 2-1. Mitch Bruijsten took a pass from Luka Vidmar and scored a wraparound goal to cut the Gopher lead to one heading into the second.
Fortunately, the Gophers began the second stanza similar to the way they started the game.
Just over two minutes into the period, Larson blasted a feed from Kevin Wehrs past Gunderson to give the Gophers a two-goal goal lead. Larson's shot from just inside the blueline crossed the goal line with two seconds left on a Minnesota man-advantage, making it the first power-play tally of his career.
The Gophers continued to rack up scoring chances until Jake Hansen scored a backbreaking goal 57 seconds past the midway point of regulation. Skating into the offensive zone with speed, Hansen redirected a pass from freshman center Nick Bjugstad into the lower right corner.
With 2:26 remaining in the middle frame, Seawolf forward Chris Crowell received a game misconduct for hitting Gopher defenseman Justin Holl from behind near the UAA blueline.
Alaska Anchorage was able to kill off the ensuing five-minute major that ended 2:33 into the third period, but couldn't build any momentum with Patterson holding down the fort between the pipes.
Just over halfway through the third, defenseman Aaron Ness finished the scoring with his first goal of the season and first since being named the team's third assistant captain.
Minnesota ended the game with 96 shots attempted (tied for the highest this year) and 48 shots on goal (third-highest total of the season).
The Gophers will look to complete their fourth sweep of the season on Saturday night at 7 p.m. in their final meeting of the regular season with the Seawolves.