In their first game since winning the NCAA championship, the top-ranked Minnesota Gophers showed the balance, depth and speed coach Don Lucia was looking for.
The Gophers handily beat 15th-ranked Ohio State 7-2 Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center -- the same ice where the Gophers won the NCAA title last April.
"We played the way I hoped we would," Lucia said. "We played pretty smart, we played hard, we had the puck a lot."
Three Minnesota freshmen -- Thomas Vanek, Gino Guyer and Tyler Hirsch -- scored their first goals. Sophomore goaltender Travis Weber shut out the Buckeyes for the opening 51 minutes. The power play scored on five of 11 chances, and the Gophers piled up 51 shots to Ohio State's 23.
"We played more as a team than I thought we would," said Minnesota's Keith Ballard, who had three assists to go with his third-period goal. "I thought we'd be rusty, but everything came together well."
In other weekend WCHA action, Denver beat Michigan State 5-0 Friday and Nebraska-Omaha 3-2 Saturday; Colorado College split a series with Mass.-Lowell winning 6-4 and then losing 4-1; North Dakota shut out Canisius 8-0 and then beat Michigan 5-4 in overtime the next night.
Notre Dame took a weekend series at Minnesota-Duluth after a 2-2 tie Friday and a 5-3 win Saturday; Wisconsin lost to RPI 5-1 but then beat Northern Michigan 4-3. St. Cloud State beat Ferris State 2-1 Friday before losing 6-3 Saturday. And Alaska-Anchorage beat Alaska-Fairbanks 4-2 but then lost 4-0 the following night.
North Dakota's win over No. 3 Michigan awarded the No. 13 Fighting Sioux the championship of the Xerox College Hockey Showcase in Buffalo, N.Y.
David Lundbohm scored 3:27 into overtime for the win, and freshman Zach Parise had two goals and set up two others for North Dakota.
After Nick Fuher gave the Sioux a 1-0 lead in the first period, Eric Nystrom and David Moss scored to give Michigan a 2-1 advantage after one.
Parise and Mark Mink traded goals in the second period, and Jeff Tambellini put Michigan ahead 4-2 with five minutes left. Parise scored at 16:46 to get the Sioux within one, then set up Brandon Bochenski's tying goal at 16:39.
Meanwhile in Omaha, No. 2 Denver won the Maverick Stampede after Luke Fulghum scored the winning goal with 1:25 left in regulation against Nebraska-Omaha.
Jon Foster and Connor James scored second-period goals to give Denver a 2-1 lead before Jason Jaworski, who also had an assist, tied the game at 11:50 of the second.
In Colorado, Ed McGrane had a goal and two assists as Lowell earned a split at tenth-ranked Colorado Springs. Geoff Schomogyi had a goal and set up another for Lowell. Peter Sejna scored for the Tigers.
Ferris State's Jamie Dunlap, Mike Kinnie and Jeff Legue each scored a goal and had an assist to rally from a two-goal deficit to beat St. Cloud State and split the series in Big Rapids, Mich.
Joe Motzko scored a pair of goals for St. Cloud State and the second, a shorthander, gave the Huskies a 3-1 lead midway through the game.
Mike Brown had 35 saves for Ferris and Jason Montgomery stopped 26 shots for the Huskies.
At the Ice Breaker Invitational in Madison, Wis., Mark Jackson and Rene Borque scored in a 2:03 span late in the third period as the Badgers won the third-place game against Northern Michigan.
Jackson tied the game at 16:41 of the third period, assisted by Borque, and Borque scored at 18:44 to give Mike Eaves his first victory as Badgers coach.
Ryan MacMurchy and Brad Winchester also scored for the Badgers. Bryce Cockburn had two goals for Northern Michigan.
In Duluth, Rob Globke had a third-period hat trick, scoring twice in the final 5:14, to lift Notre Dame over the Bulldogs.
John Wroblewski scored the other two Notre Dame goals.
UMD took an early 2-1 lead on goals by Luke Stauffacher and Jon Francisco, but Wroblewski tied it midway through the second period.
Globke made it 3-2 with a goal 3:13 in the third period. Tyler Brosz tied the game with a goal three minutes later, but Globke scored with 5:14 left, then hit an empty net.
Tony Zasowski stopped 39 shots for the Irish, while Isaac Reichmuth had 24 saves for UMD.
And in Alaska, Kelly Czuy scored twice as Alaska-Fairbanks beat Alaska-Anchorage. Czuy opened scoring for Alaska Fairbanks at 15:47 of the first period.
In the second, the Nanooks' Felipe Larranaga took a drop pass from Blaine Bablitz and scored low to the stick side of goalie Chris King at 11:16. Czuy scored his second goal at 18:16.
Jared Sylvestre scored the final goal at 18:46 of the third period.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.