Balanced scoring equals sweep

Chris Lempesis

Minnesota’s men’s hockey team just might be one of the deepest teams in the country in terms of overall talent.

And a look at the box scores from the Gophers’ weekend sweep of Minnesota State-Mankato reflects just that.

Minnesota got offensive production from all four lines of forwards as well as strong output from their defensemen.

Eight different Gophers lit the lamp this weekend and a total of 13 players broke into the scoring column.

“That’s really good to see,” sophomore defenseman Alex Goligoski said. “When you have four lines contribute offensively and defensively, you’re going to have a good team.”

Of the 13 forwards that hit the ice for Minnesota this weekend, all but three broke into the scoring column.

The top line for the Gophers on Friday was the pairing of freshmen Phil Kessel and Ryan Stoa and sophomore Mike Howe. The three accounted for three goals and three assists.

On Saturday, it was the trio of seniors Gino Guyer and Andy Sertich and sophomore Kris Chucko that was responsible for the big night, turning out four points (one goal and three assists).

But the forwards weren’t hauling the load all by themselves.

Minnesota is known for its offensive defensemen and a few of them got into the act this weekend.

“They’re a big part of our offense,” said freshman forward Justin Bostrom, who scored his first goal with the Gophers on Saturday. “We try to get them involved as much as we can and we got some guys back there right now that are carrying some hot sticks.”

No defenseman is putting up bigger numbers for Minnesota at the moment than Goligoski. He had one goal and two assists in the series and was named the No. 1 star of the game Saturday.

He is also tied for the team lead in points, although the scoring has been pretty well spread out over the first four games.

As long as the Gophers are able to continue spreading out the scoring, utilizing their considerable depth, results like the ones seen this weekend might not become uncommon.