MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) – The Gopher men's hockey team took the first step on its way to a Big Ten series victory as Minnesota knocked off Michigan State 3-1  Friday evening.

The Maroon & Gold continued a streak of 11-consecutive successful penalty kill opportunities as the defense and junior goaltender Eric Schierhorn led the way, stopping 25-of-26 shots by the Spartans. The Gophers had 27 shots and three different goal-scorers including a power-play tally from Brent Gates Jr. in the second to claim three points to begin the weekend.

Minnesota (6-3-0 overall, 2-1-0-0 Big Ten) staked an early lead just 3:22 into the game when sophomore defenseman Ryan Lindgren jumped up into the attack, banging home a feed from junior Jack Sadek to put the home team ahead with his first of the season and second career tally. The two teams skated evenly the rest of the first period, and Michigan State would actually take an 8-7 advantage in shots on net to the locker room after one.

Schierhorn continued his strong play between the pipes, turning away a couple of great looks for the Spartans in the first five minutes of the second. After MSU could not capitalize on a power-play chance when the Gophers were charged with a delay of game for playing the puck with a hand during the faceoff, Minnesota earned their first opportunity in the closing minutes of the period as Sam Saliba exited for hooking. With just 50 seconds remaining in the period, Gates redirected a one-time shot from Leon Bristedt to make good with the man advantage. Sophomore Ryan Zuhlsdorf earned the second assist on the play.

Michigan State (4-3-0, 0-1-0-0) earned a second chance on the power play just 13 seconds into the third period when Sadek was called for slashing, and the Spartans scored just after the penalty expired with Saliba slipping a rebound past Schierhorn to cut the lead in half. It wouldn’t take the Gophers long to regain their two-score edge as sophomore Rem Pitlick took a feed from freshman Casey Mittelstadt in the slot and knocked in his fourth of the season at 5:50. While Michigan State pulled their goalie for the final 90 seconds, the defense locked down and held the Spartans without a shot during the same time frame.

The victory marked No. 49 in the career of Schierhorn, moving him within one win of reaching the top-ten all-time in program history. Gates reached 20 career goals with his power-play score. Bristedt’s assist was the 91st point in his career as he inches ever closer to the century mark.

The same two teams will wrap up their Big Ten Conference series Saturday afternoon at 3M Arena at Mariucci, beginning at 4:05 p.m.

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