Minnesota wins season-opening Ice Breaker Tournament in Ind.

The Gophers beat Minnesota-Duluth and Rensselaer over the weekend.

Ben Gotz

The Gophers began their season strong, winning the Ice Breaker Tournament for the second consecutive year.

After holding on for a narrow 4-3 victory over in-state rival Minnesota-Duluth, the Gophers defeated Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 3-0 on Sunday.

The Gophers and Bulldogs used to face each other often in the WCHA, and although they’re no longer in the same conference, the game was still meaningful for the Gophers.

Senior Travis Boyd said earlier in the week that the team talks a lot about “winning the state.”

The Gophers got off to a good start toward that goal this weekend.

Minnesota jumped out to a big lead in its first game. The Gophers started fast, with senior forward Sam Warning scoring just 30 seconds into the game.

Senior Kyle Rau scored a shorthanded goal five minutes later, giving the Gophers a 2-0 lead on their first two shots of the game.

In the second period, the two teams exchanged power-play goals to make the score 3-1 in favor of the Gophers. But right before the half, sophomore forward Hudson Fasching netted another goal for the Gophers.

Though the Gophers managed to hold on for a close victory, their in-state rival took them right down to the wire, scoring twice in the third period.

The game fits in with recent editions of the two programs’ long rivalry, as the Gophers went 1-1-1 against the Bulldogs last year.

In the tournament’s final game, junior goaltender Adam Wilcox recorded the eighth shutout of his career against RPI to help the Gophers earn a 3-0 victory. Wilcox is now tied for second in program history in shutouts.

“We did a good job of boxing out [in front of the net],” Wilcox told reporters after the game. “I thought our structure in front of the net was second to none.”

The Gophers scored one goal per period in the win, starting with senior forward Seth Ambroz tipping a shot in front of the net in the first period. In the second period, Fasching scored his second goal of the tournament.

“I thought we played the game the right way today. We managed the puck much better,” head coach Don Lucia told reporters after the game.

The Gophers are the first team to win the Ice Breaker Tournament back-to-back in the tournament’s history.

“To start over, it’s a new year, and to be able to start on the same foot as we did last year is really exciting,” Fasching told reporters after the game.