The first few minutes looked pretty good for the Penn State men’s hockey team.
But the rest of the night belonged to No. 2 Minnesota.
The Golden Gophers (22-4-5, 11-2-2) scored five unanswered goals to upend the Nittany Lions 5-1 Friday night in front of 9,929 at Mariucci Arena.
A power play goal 3:12 into the game had Penn State (6-21-2, 2-12-1) off to a promising start, with defenseman Kenny Brooks knocking home a rebound after Zach Saar’s initial attempt. David Goodwin also had an assist on Brooks’ third score of the season.
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Then the Gophers, who are 15-1-3 on their home ice this season, took over.
First, Mike Reilly sent a pass across to a wide-open Sam Warning to rifle a shot from the circle past Matthew Skoff. Just over three minutes later, the Gophers hammered shot after shot at the net, with either Skoff or sprawling defensemen keeping the net clear, until Hudson Fasching finally broke through while Skoff was playing without a stick.
Four minutes later on a breakaway, Fasching dropped the puck back to Kyle Rau for a two-goal lead.
“Penn State scored that first goal, and we got going after that,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia told the Big Ten Network.
Just 30 seconds into the second period on a power play, Taylor Camarata ripped a shot past Skoff, and Nate Condon completed the scoring on a breakaway for a shorthanded score.
Warning and Fasching each have 12 goals on the season, while Rau and Cammarata each have netted eight scores.
Skoff finished with 31 saves in the loss for the Nittany Lions, while Adam Wilcox stopped 30 shots to help the nation’s top defense slam the door on Penn State’s upset hopes.
The teams play again at 7 p.m. Saturday, with the contest shown live on NBC Sports Network.