Gophers Open Ice Breaker with 4-3 Win
Kyle Rau became just the 49th player in school history to earn 125 career points
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (GopherSports.com) – Senior captain Kyle Rau tallied a game-high three points including his 125th career point as the top-ranked Gophers picked up a 4-3 win over Minnesota Duluth on Friday afternoon in the regular-season opener.
Minnesota (1-0-0 overall, 0-0-0-0 Big Ten) will now play in the Ice Breaker Tournament championship game on Sunday at Compton Family Ice Arena against either Notre Dame or RPI. Game time will be determined based off Friday night’s RPI/Notre Dame matchup – 11 a.m. CT should RPI win or 2:30 p.m. CT should Notre Dame win.
On Friday afternoon, the Gophers wasted little time in finding the net for the first goal of the season as Rau fed senior forward Sam Warning for the year’s first score just 30 seconds into the contest on the team’s first shot. Just over five minutes later at 5:44, Rau netted a goal of his own in similar fashion after being set up by Hudson Fasching – this time with the Maroon & Gold shorthanded.
Rau’s goal marked his 125th career point for Minnesota – making the senior forward just the 49th player in team history to reach the mark and the first since Jay Barriball (2006-2011). Rau would later add his third point of the day with an assist on Fasching’s eventual game winner, giving the Eden Prairie, Minn., native 126 points (48 goals, 78 assists) in 122 career games.
While the Gophers sported a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, the Bulldogs (0-1-0 overall, 0-0-0 NCHC) actually outshot Minnesota 11-6 in the opening session while the two teams would go shot for shot over the next 40 minutes – each with six shots in the second and 10 in the third to end the game with a 27-22 advantage for Minnesota Duluth.
Last year’s leading goal scorer Justin Kloos made it a three-goal lead with his first of the year 4:01 into the second period on a power play after being set up by Michael Brodzinski and Ben Marshall. Kloos scored 16 goals as a rookie last year – the first freshman to lead the team in goals since Barriball in 2006.
From there, the game would tighten for the duration. Dominic Toninato scored his first of two goals for the day at 13:21 of the second on the power play before Fasching found the net for the eventual winner at 18:45 of the second. Rau and Brodzinski picked up assists on the goal – giving Rau his seventh-career game with at least three points while Brodzinski matched his career high with two points and recorded two assists for the first time in his career.
The Bulldogs would net a pair of goals in the third period to draw within one of the Gophers but couldn’t find the equalizer. Andy Welinski scored 25 seconds into the final period while Toninato closed out the game’s scoring at 4:16.
In goal, Adam Wilcox earned the win for Minnesota with a 24-save performance to move to 1-0-0 on the season while Kasimir Kaskisuo took the loss for Minnesota Duluth with 18 saves.
-Pride On Ice-