Gophers men shine in exhibition

The game marks the start of 2009-10 season.

Max Sanders

In its first and only tune-up before the regular season, the Minnesota menâÄôs hockey team cruised past British Columbia, winning 6-1 . With five Gophers finishing with at least two points and goals on two of three power plays, Minnesota easily handled an overmatched British Columbia squad. After killing an early British Columbia power play, the Gophers took advantage five minutes later, scoring on a power play of their own. Senior Jay Barriball took a pass from sophomore Jordan Schroeder on the left side of the Thunderbirds zone, and from inside the left circle fired a shot that found the back of the net for the first goal of the game, 29 seconds into the Minnesota power play. With under a minute to play in the period, junior Mike Hoeffel extended the GophersâÄô lead to two. Schroeder tallied his second point of the game on his second assist, and Minnesota closed out the period with a 2-0 lead. The start of the second period began right where the first left off, with junior Cade Fairchild upping the Gophers lead to three with a goal from the top right circle of the British Columbia zone. The lone goal for the Thunderbirds came nine minutes into the second. After a turnover by Minnesota in its own zone, British Columbia had a three-on-one advantage in front of the net, and freshman Max Grassi put the puck past a defenseless Kent Patterson to cut the Minnesota lead to 2. Momentum from that goal would be short lived, as just over a minute later senior Tony Lucia intercepted a pass deep in the Minnesota zone and skated the length of the ice en route to a score. The goal brought the GophersâÄô lead back to three, and it was more than enough for Patterson. With starting goalie Alex Kangas out with the flu, Patterson stepped in and performed well, stopping eight shots in two periods before getting pulled after the end of the second period. In the third period, Minnesota padded its lead with a goal by Nico Sacchetti . After gaining control of a loose puck, Sacchetti spun around and fired a slap shot past Francois Thuot to give Minnesota a four goal lead. After a two-minute holding penalty was called on British ColumbiaâÄôs Jason Lynch , freshman Nick Leddy scored 18 seconds into the power play. The final goal of the night sealed MinnesotaâÄôs victory 6-1. The victory now extends MinnesotaâÄôs exhibition unbeaten streak to 12, with the second consecutive exhibition opener victory over British Columbia. The Gophers now have 11 days to prepare for the start of the regular season, when conference play begins Oct. 16 with a two-game road series against North Dakota.