McLaughlin’s game-winning breakaway goal clinches sweep for Gophers

With time winding down in the third period and the score tied 1-1, Minnesota freshman forward Blake McLaughlin found himself with the puck and no one near him after a turnover as he approached the offensive zone.

McLaughlin out-skated Notre Dame defensemen to the net and sent a back-handed shot past Notre Dame goaltender Dylan St. Cyr for a goal — and a Gophers lead — with 7.8 seconds to play.

Minnesota closed out the final few seconds to complete a 2-1 win for its first sweep of the season — on the road and against the ninth-ranked team in the country, no less.

“I like our team. I’ve been saying that for a while,” head coach Bob Motzko . We’re not pretty at times, and we weren’t pretty at times tonight. But we have a work ethic and a goalie, and we do special teams pretty well.”

McLaughlin makes the headlines, but the big star of the game was goaltender Mat Robson, who stopped 34 shots. Over the last three games — all Gophers wins — Robson has tallied 104 saves while allowing just one goal in each.

The Gophers and Notre Dame will square off again for a weekend series Feb. 22-23 in Minneapolis.

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Minnesota hopes to keep things rolling next weekend when it visits unranked Michigan State.