Third Period Hat Trick Gives Gophers Win
MINNEAPOLIS (Gophersports.com) – Brannon McManus’ third period hat trick – his first three collegiate goals -- pushed the No. 7 Gopher Hockey program to a 6-3 victory over No. 11 Penn State on Sunday night at 3M Arena at Mariucci with Minnesota rookies scoring five of the team’s six tallies in the win.
Casey Mittelstadt and Sam Rossini joined McManus as freshmen goal scorers while Brent Gates Jr. picked up the remaining goal to represent the Maroon & Gold upperclassmen. McManus and Tommy Novak, who notched his second career three-point night with three assists, led the way as 11 Gophers tallied points in the game while Eric Schierhorn picked up the win in his 79th-straight start for Minnesota, setting a new program record.
After falling behind and chasing in Friday’s 3-1 loss to the Nittany Lions, Minnesota (2-2-0 overall, 1-1-0-0 Big Ten) flipped the table on Sunday by jumping out to a two-goal lead in the first period. Mittelstadt put the home squad on the board at 13:34 followed by Gates at 19:17.
Penn State (2-2-0, 1-1-0-0) made a game of it in the second with goals from Alec Marsh at 1:53 and Andrew Sturtz’s power-play tally at 16:06. Sandwiched in between the Penn State tallies was Rossini’s first career goal – a shorthanded tally -- at 15:28 as Minnesota went into the second intermission with a 3-2 lead.
From there it was the Brannon McManus Show as the freshman forward rallied off three goals in the final stanza, scoring even-strength tallies at 1:43 and 8:12 and then responding to a Denis Smirnov power-play goal at 11:47 with one of his own at 16:09 to complete the hat trick.
In goal, Schierhorn made 23 saves to move to 2-2-0 on the year. The two-time Big Ten Goaltender of the Year made his 79th-straight start for the Gophers, passing John Lothrop for the school record. Schierhorn is the NCAA active leader in consecutive games played by a goalie and ranks eighth all-time in the category, having started every game of his career.
Minnesota outshot Penn State 32-26 while going 1-for-4 on the power play and 1-for-3 on the penalty kill.
The Gophers return to nonconference action next weekend with a two-game series against North Dakota. Minnesota will be making its first trip to Grand Forks, N.D. since the 2011-12 season.
Single-game tickets, season tickets and flexible Pick-Your-Packs are currently available at GopherSports.com, by calling 1-800-U-Gopher or by stopping by the ticket office at 3M Arena at Mariucci.