Lucius, Gophers men’s hockey dominate Michigan 5-1 en route to second-consecutive Friday night victory

Freshman Chaz Lucius recorded his first-career multi-goal game after scoring two goals in the first period.

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Junior Bryce Brodzinski celebrates with senior Captain Sammy Walker in a game against the University of Notre Dame on Friday, October 29, 2021 at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis, Minn.

by Michael Lyne , Sports Reporter

All season long, Gophers head coach Bob Motzko has talked about how his team needs to come into series and play better on opening Friday night games.

Before last Friday’s win against North Dakota, Minnesota held a 2-5 record on Friday nights, snapping a three-game losing streak on that day, respectively.

And now, after getting their third Friday victory of the season, the No. 11/12 Gophers (10-7) added another one to that column after dominating No. 3/2 Michigan in a win as they are now 5-1 in games following a loss this season.

Minnesota, led by freshman Chaz Lucius, had a heck of a first period as they scored three goals and did not concede one goal against one of the nation’s best teams.

Lucius earned his first-career multi-goal game after he capped off the offensive explosion after he scored his second goal of the night with 19.5 seconds remaining in the period.

Sophomore Brock Faber opened up the scoring for the Gophers 8:33 seconds into the game, pulling off a forehand-backhand move and showing off his keen patience after receiving a pass on a 2-1 odd-man rush with junior Jaxon Nelson. Nelson collected his first assist this season.

Then, Lucius added onto the lead after scoring his first goal in the slot 1:55 seconds later after finishing off the play from a pretty feed from freshman Matthew Knies.

In the second period, Minnesota continued to play stingy defense, killing two penalties and dominating Michigan in the score column. They added two more goals after a Wolverines’ goal from Dylan Duke was waived off due to an offside entrance into the offensive zone.

Reunited with senior Sammy Walker, senior Blake McLaughlin received a pass from the co-captain at the Wolverines’ goalline and worked his way toward the front of the net to fire the puck past Michigan’s Erik Portillo to extend the Gophers’ lead to 4-0.

Serving as Minnesota’s extra-skater for a third-straight game, junior Jonny Sorenson added the Gophers’ fifth goal of the night after he buried a pass from Walker on an odd-man rush.

Even though the Gophers conceded one goal to Michigan’s Thomas Bordeleau in the third period, they continued to play stingy defense as they killed three more penalties against a lethal Wolverines offensive attack. Minnesota’s penalty kill units finished a perfect 5-5.

Notables

Against his former team, graduate student co-captain Jack LaFontaine made 30 saves, earning a .968 save percentage.

Lucius’ two-goal night extends his point streak to three games. He has four goals and one assist over that stretch, which account for five of his eight points this season.

Junior co-captain Ben Meyers had two secondary assists as he holds a team-high 18 points (five goals, 13 assists).

Knies recorded an assist on Lucius’ first tally of the night, which marks his ninth assist. He now has four goals and seven assists in his last eight games.

Walker tallied two assists. He has 98 career points (41 goals, 57 assists) in 122 career games.

What’s up next

The Gophers will look to earn their third series sweep of the season when they take on Michigan on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 6 p.m. in the first half finale of the Big Ten season.