After a lackluster weekend last weekend getting swept at home against Notre Dame Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach Bob Motzko took blame and said is team wasn’t ready to play. He said that would change this weekend. Message delivered. Minnesota came out on fire and then some and routed Arizona State 10-0 Thursday night. Minnesota got a pair of hat tricks and Jack LaFontaine recorded his third shutout on the season.
The Gophers came out and wasted no time and scored four goals in the first period and outshot the Sun Devils 22-2. Blake McLaughlin got the scoring started early on a goal right in front on a gorgeous pass from Scott Reedy who returned to action after missing the last three games with an injury.
Cleanup duties: accomplished pic.twitter.com/KWEinlt5PD— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) January 22, 2021
Less than four minutes later it was the captain Sammy Walker scoring his first goal of the night on a gorgeous backhand after keeping the puck in the Sun Devil zone with some gorgeous skating.
It would take five more minutes before Nathan Burke made it 3-0 Gophers on a pretty drop pass by Cullen Munson.
The boys are buzzin' pic.twitter.com/8bVHCml7G2— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) January 22, 2021
Minnesota would round out the scoring in the first period with the second of the night by McLaughlin. He would score on the power play by finding a rebound in front and jamming it past the first ASU goalie of the night in Justin Robbins.
Can't stop, won't stop. pic.twitter.com/DZm5yNVKjl— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) January 22, 2021
Minnesota wasted no time adding to their lead early in the second period when Walker scored his second of the game on a rebound of a breakaway after a gorgeous stretch pass by Jackson LaCombe. Walker also drew a penalty on the play which would result in another Gopher goal moments later.
On that power play just 1:16 later it would be Brannon McManus scoring his first of the game as he took a pass and placed the puck into a wide open net to make it 6-0 Minnesota.
You just can't leave Brannon alone like that.— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) January 22, 2021
But boy do we like it when they do. pic.twitter.com/Av9MGHMKDA
The Sun Devils would use a Minnesota penalty to record some shots on goal and with 6 minutes left in the second period finally eclipsed the number of goals Minnesota had with the number of shots on goal they had at 7-6. It would only last about three minutes as McManus would score his second of the period on a gorgeous wrister on a two on one to add the extra point and make it 7-0 Minnesota headed into the second intermission.
Goal No. 7 from No. 7 pic.twitter.com/hpWvPi0UKr— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) January 22, 2021
Six minutes and seven seconds into the third period McManus finished off his second career hat trick and his first ever natural hat trick (three goals consecutively) when he tipped in a Sampo Ranta pass to make it 8-0. it was the first natural hat trick for the Gophers since Sam Warning did it nearly seven years to the date against Ohio State on January 18, 2014.
That goal was the last for the second ASU goalie, Evan DeBrouwer and in entered the third goalie, Bronson Moore who actually was on the ASU club team as of last week. He didn’t fair much better as Ben Meyers would tip in a Carl Fish shot to make it 9-0 with 3:51 left in the game.
We're not done yet. pic.twitter.com/lYJrX1uPF6— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) January 22, 2021
Minnesota would put an appropriate cap on the scoring with 1:15 left in the game as Sammy Walker made it a pair of Gopher hat tricks on the night with his third goal of the game on another pretty Scott Reedy feed.
Along with the pair of hat tricks and two goals from McLaughlin it was a productive point night for another pair of Gophers. Both Scott Reedy and Jackson LaCombe picked up four assists in the game. Minnesota outshot the Sun Devils 52-14 for the game as LaFontaine would make all 14 saves for his third shutout of the season and in his career.
The ten goals are the most Minnesota has scored since a January 17, 2004 10-3 win over Minnesota State. It was the largest margin of victory since a 12-1 win over Alabama-Huntsville in November of 2002. That game was also the last time Minnesota has more than one hat trick in a game as Thomas Vanek, Jon Wabel and Troy Riddle all scored a trio of goals in that game.
The Gophers will look to hear the Battle Hymn once again as they go for the sweep at 4PM Friday live on Fox Sports North.