Improved aggressiveness lifts Gophers to win

Increased energy helped propel Minnesota to a 3-2 victory over visiting Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday in WCHA action.

Third-ranked Minnesota (10-3-2 overall, 5-3-2 WCHA) fired 33 total shots on goal and broke out of its power-play slump as it salvaged a weekend split with the visiting Mavericks.

A night after enduring their first home loss since early last March, the Gophers bolted out to a 3-0 lead by the second period, after Tom Serratore buried a goal promptly following a UNO turnover.

“You have to play hard and play smart (and) we did a much better job of that tonight,” noted Minnesota coach Don Lucia afterward. “The guys were into it — they did the job.”

Minnesota began the night with power-play goals from Erik Haula and Nick Bjugstad.

“I think we played a lot more physical, and managed the puck better,” explained Haula. “We had good energy.”

No. 14 Omaha (9-4-1 overall, 5-2-1 WCHA) closed to within 3-2 with barely two minutes left off a tip-in goal from Johnnie Searfoss but couldn’t completely close the gap. As a result, the Gophers are now 3-0-0 this season in games immediately following a loss.

The Gophers return to action at 8:30 p.m. Friday night at Colorado College.