The Minnesota Golden Gophers open up their 100th Season with a Sweep over 10th Ranked Penn State.
Bob Motzko has entered his third season as the head coach of the Golden Gophers. In the face of adversity, he will have to lead his team in one of the most difficult seasons during the pandemic. There is no doubt that they are just happy to be on the ice and have the chance to prove themselves after they lost 13 of their first 18 games last season.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 250 fans are allowed to be at the game, along with the cardboard cutouts, of course, one of which is Site Expert Lake Martin. Keep an eye out for that goon.
There are many current Gophers who have been drafted in the NHL over the past couple of years — Jackson LaCombe (ANA), Robbie Stucker (CBJ), Ben Brinkman (DAL), Mike Koster (TOR), Sammy Walker (TBL), Brock Faber (LAK), Scott Reedy (SJS), Bryce Brodzinski (PHI), Ryan Johnson (BUF), Jack Perbix (ANA), Blake McLaughlin (ANA), Jared Moe (WPJ), Jack LaFontaine (CAR) and Sampo Raanta (COL). There is immense talent on this roster and this is a very underrated roster.
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The Gophers began their 100th season with consecutive games on Thursday night and Friday afternoon against Penn State.
Penn State has had the Gophers number over the years where they have won 8 out of the last 10 meetings against the Gophers.
The Gophers were able to pull off an impressive 4-1 victory Thursday night and were headed into the Friday afternoon game with confidence and hope of a sweep.
The question is could they do it again and sweep Penn State to begin their season?
It didn’t take long for the Gophers to strike first.
A pass from the left circle down low was redirected by senior Scott Reedy who scored his first of the afternoon and second of the season. The puck trickled in and would be the Gopher’s first powerplay goal of the game.
Just over two minutes before the end of the period, Penn State would score the equalizer.
It began from a turnover from the blueline in the offensive zone that led to an odd-man rush for Penn State. Christian Sarlo would put it home with a beautiful shot in what he thought would be the game-tying goal going into the first intermission.
However, that wouldn’t be further from the truth. The Gophers resiliency would get them the go-ahead goal.
A beautiful stretch pass from the Gophers defensive blueline to Sammy Walker would result in a terrific offensive scoring chance. Sammy Walker walked in and made no mistake firing it past the goaltender for his first goal of the season from the right circle with just over a second remaining in the first period.
The Gophers would get their second powerplay goal of the afternoon after a snipe from the slot from senior Brandon Mcmanus. It was a result of a clean entry into the offensive zone by Walker who fed it to Mcmanus to create a high-danger scoring chance in the slot.
The Gophers 3-1 lead would not hold on and the Gophers had to play to the end to secure the win.
It was a solid coast-to-coast play and Kevin Wall was untouched all the way to the offensive zone circle where he backhanded it past senior goaltender Jack Fontaine who would have liked that one back. Penn State was able to gain some momentum but was unable to manufacture enough offense to score the equalizer.
The Gophers were able to hold on and secure the sweep with a huge 3-2 victory.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers will play next on Monday against the Ohio State Buckeyes.