Men’s hockey defeats British Columbia 3-0

by Dane Mizutani

Minnesota opened its season Sunday night and skated away with a 3-0 victory in an exhibition game against British Columbia. The Gophers controlled the tempo throughout the night en route to outshooting British Columbia 44-10. Amidst the flurry of shots, the team couldn’t seem to find the back of the net on a consistent basis.

Though the result was not at all comparable to the 6-0 drubbing of British Columbia from last season, head coach Don Lucia said he is satisfied with what he saw in the exhibition game.

“I’m glad it was a tight game,” Lucia said. “Guys competed hard. I think we made some nice plays.

“We haven’t had much work on special teams but I think five-on-five we did a lot of good things. I think we have the makings of a deep group.”

Jake Hansen wasted no time scoring the first goal of the night for Minnesota, as he scored a minute and 25 seconds into the contest. From there it looked as if the Gophers would cruise to victory, but that was not the case.

British Columbia freshman goaltender Steven Stanford stood on his head for a majority of the night, making save after save. Stanford tallied 41 saves in total.

There was a brief scare for the Gophers in the second period as Hansen limped off the ice after taking an Erik Haula shot to the skate. Hansen said he thought it was going to be worse than it was, but managed to stay in the game.

Minnesota was glad he did.

Hansen showed no signs of injury as he led a two-on-one break early in the third period. Hansen found Haula streaking down the ice, and Haula rifled a one-timer into the back of the net. This was the second line’s —  Haula, Hansen, and freshman Sam Warning — second goal of the night. Hansen said there was a budding chemistry that was prevalent as the game wore on.

“We haven’t got too much time to work together because they’ve been switching the lines up a lot,” he said. “Last week we skated together pretty much every day and we kind of started clicking a little bit there.”

Blake Thompson added an empty-net goal with two second left in the game, finalizing the score at 3-0.

The Gophers will officially open the season next weekend against Sacred Heart at Mariucci Arena.