Minnesota looked poised for a matchup with Notre Dame during the Ice Breaker Tournament in the first weekend of the season before an Irish loss derailed that opportunity.
But top-ranked Minnesota got its crack at No. 15 Notre Dame on Friday and rolled past the Irish 5-0 at Mariucci Arena.
“I thought our effort was really good tonight and for the first time all year, I thought that our forwards really worked in the offensive zone,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said.
The Gophers outshot Notre Dame 44-20, including 18-6 in the first period, when they set the pace of play.
“I thought we were doing a good job of controlling the puck in the offensive zone much more effectively than we had been,” Lucia said.
Sophomore forward Justin Kloos picked up where he left off the weekend before. Coming off a hat trick in a 4-3, overtime victory against St. Cloud State, Kloos scored again just over two minutes into Friday night’s game.
Junior goaltender Adam Wilcox made a few key saves to preserve the Gophers’ lead, including turning back a 2-on-0 Notre Dame breakaway attempt that followed a turnover by Ryan Collins.
“We made a couple mistakes there with giving up some odd-man rushes,” Lucia said.
But Wilcox said Notre Dame’s skaters made the play a little easier for him.
“They were kind of on the right side of the net for a 2-on-0, so I had a little bit more of an advantage, not worrying about going from left to right,” Wilcox said.
Wilcox recorded his ninth career shutout, moving into second place on Minnesota’s all-time list.
“I think I kind of needed to get a little more balanced and a little bit more calm,” he said, “and I was working on that in practice and I had a good week of practice, so it carried over into the game.”
The Gophers got third- period goals from defensemen Mike Reilly and Ben Marshall, and defenseman Jake Bischoff had another waved off in the second period.
Leon Bristedt added his first collegiate goal for Minnesota.