Gophers solidly defeat Michigan State on the road

The top-ranked Minnesota men’s hockey squad bounced back to post a 3-2 road win over Michigan State Saturday, in a game that wasn’t as close as the final margin might indicate.

Mike Reilly tallied his seventh goal and 11th point of the season – both lead all Big Ten defensemen – for the eventual game winner, as the Gophers led, 3-0, midway through the game before holding on.

“We got a much better start tonight … than we got (Friday),” noted head coach Don Lucia, who saw his Minnesota squad improve to 12-2-2 overall and 3-0-1-0 in Big Ten play.

Minnesota was in control for much of Saturday afternoon’s contest, and led, 2-0, following Seth Ambroz’s power-play, tip-in goal at 18:25 of the first period.

Michigan State (5-8-1, 0-1-0-1), which won a shootout point against the Gophers Friday, got a late power-play goal from Villiam Haag and a last-second, after-thought score to make Saturday’s final margin somewhat deceiving.

“From the start we knew we wanted to win the (game’s) first ten minutes,” noted Minnesota’s Christian Isackson, who scored his first goal of the year early Saturday. “They did a good job challenging us.”

Now, Isackson noted, the Gophers “have a little bit of a break. But we’re still going to be practicing, trying to get better.”

After enjoying their lengthy winter break, the Gophers will return to action Jan. 3, when they host a Mariucci Classic event that will also feature Ferris State, RPI and Colgate.