Legendary motivational speaker Zig Ziglar was always talking about adopting a day-for-vacation attitude in everyday life, a sense of optimism and motivation, that you can achieve a lot today, knowing that there will be some well-deserved free time in the near future. future lies.
On Saturday night, Gophers’ “day-for-vacation attitude” turned out to be too much for the Michigan State Spartans. In their last game before an extended hiatus, the Gophers jumped to a massive early lead and never offered their guests much hope.
Minnesota cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Spartans and a sweep of their weekend series. Thanks to the cancellation of their Penn State series, originally scheduled for next weekend but scrapped due to ongoing COVID-19 issues among the Nittany Lions, the Gophers are off for the next 12 days.
Opening a five-goal lead over the Spartans before ruining Jack LaFontaine’s shutout bid late in the second period, the Gophers (19-5-0, 15-5-0 Big Ten) got goals from a pair of forwards who quiet for a while. Senior Cullen Munson opened the scoring with his first goal since the season opener in November. Later in the first, Jack Perbix made it 4-0 with his first Big Ten goal of the season.
You saw it even with a 5-1 lead tonight, we blocked shots, said Gophers coach Bob Motzko. We’ve had a number of times over the past two bouts of settling down and facing a shot. I call that sale, emptying the tank. I thought we played a very strong game from start to finish.
LaFontaine finished with 18 saves. Perbix, who had scored twice in a non-conference win against Arizona State but failed to score in Big Ten play, admitted he had superstitions that might have got him back on the scoresheet.
Me and (Mason Nevers) and (Jonny Sorenson) decided to put sock tape on our sticks, Perbix said. It worked, so I’m not too mad about that.
Munson, who has had a mustache for much of the season, appeared clean-shaven in the post-game Zoom with reporters, though he claimed there was no superstition at work to get his second goal of the season.
I didn’t really do anything else, I just stayed with it, he said. It’s hard when you don’t score for so long, but you just have to believe it yourself and stick to it. It feels really good to buy one again.
The Gophers also got some good news on the out-of-town scoreboard on Saturday, as Notre Dame managed to rake in second in Wisconsin and tie in in Madison, Wisconsin. Going on to winning the conference percentage, which is now expected to determine the Big Ten title that the teams play unbalanced schedules, Gophers are sitting at .750 with two games remaining (vs. Michigan March 5-6 in Minneapolis) while the Badgers. 675 can be played with four.
If the Badgers go 4-0-0 in their perennial schedule, the Gophers would need a win and a draw or better against Michigan to take the crown of the conference regular season.
Perbix said he planned to send a thank you note to his friend Trevor Janicke, who plays for Notre Dame.
A goal from Spartans forward Gianluca Esteves was the only blot for LaFontaine. Across the track, Drew DeRidder started in goal for the Spartans (7-13-2, 5-12-1) and stopped six of the 10 shots he encountered. After Perbix made it 4-0 late in the first period, DeRidder gave way to freshman Pierce Charleson, who stopped 20 of the 21 shots he encountered in the last 40 minutes, allowing only a Sammy Walker goal in the second period. .
I thought we did a great job for the first 12 minutes. We had good pressure in good places, we were countering really well, we outsmarted them, said Spartans coach Danton Cole. We probably had three bad reads, and all three ended up in the back of our net. Unfortunately, those things happen.
The Minnesota win came almost exactly 95 years after the first-ever encounter between the Gophers and Spartans, played on the frozen Red Cedar River, which runs through the Michigan State campus. The Gophers won that game 2-0.
The Gophers won the season series and also won twice in East Lansing, Michigan in early December. Motzko said a break for the Gophers’ legs and their heads will be valuable.
Most important is the mental break. I think it was fine physically, but we’ll get up a bit, Motzko said. We have to stay sharp though, so we have a preliminary plan for the week, but we want to sleep on it until Monday.
Motzko also said there are few concerns about the teams’ power play. They were 0-2 with the man advantage on Saturday, scoring just one goal in the past 13 power plays, but the coach loved their look at the Spartans’ net and the way they moved the puck.
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