The green and black clad Sioux dictated the play early in the first period—consistently pressuring Minnesota in its own zone. UND's aggressiveness lead to its first scoring chance of the game, while shorthanded, on a two-on-one rush into the Gopher end.
Senior goalie Kent Patterson made a crucial save on the odd-man rush to keep the scoreboard clean at 0-0 after 20 minutes of play.
The Gophers got off to a rough start early in the second period when freshman Seth Ambroz drew a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for crosschecking to the head. The Gophers held strong on the ensuing penalty kill, however, thanks to tenacious fore-checking by freshman Kyle Rau and four saves by Patterson--keeping UND off the scoreboard.
Minnesota would get their opportunity on the power play later in the period after North Dakota's Dan Senkbeil rammed into Patterson while he covered up a puck for a whistle.
The Gophers capitalized on the man advantage when Rau found sophomore Nick Bjugstad all alone between the two face-off circles. Bjugstad did the rest, sniping a wrist shot over the shoulder of North Dakota goalie Aaron Dell for his seventh goal of the season, giving Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
The score held steady until 8:43 in the third period when Tom Serratore notched his second goal of the season off a breakaway pass from Nick Larson. Serratore beat Dell with a shot through the five-hole to give the Gophers a 2-0 lead.
Patterson preserved the shutout with six saves in the final period as Minnesota moved to 5-0-0 in the WCHA and 8-1-0 overall on the season with the win over North Dakota.
The two teams meet again at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night at back at Mariucci Arena for the series finale. The Big Ten Network will televise the contest.
INSIDE THE GAME
When UND and Minnesota meet on the same sheet of ice, tempers will undoubtedly flair and after-the-whistle scrums often occur more frequently than goals. Friday was no different as the heated rivals combined for 29 penalties and were assessed 69 minutes in infractions.
"We got a bit discombobulated with all the penalties," Lucia said. "But you know what? We scored the power play goal and didn't give up one."
It may be a little early to discuss goalie Kent Patterson as a Hobey Baker candidate, but he's already tied an all-time season record of Robb Stauber, the only Gopher goalie to win the prestigious award.
With the 2-0 victory on Friday night, Patterson tied Stauber's season record for shutouts at five. The difference? Stauber set the original mark while playing 44 games in the 1987-88 season, Patterson has only played nine. It seems likely the senior goalie will find himself alone, on top of the record book before the season is over.
"He's making key saves at pivotal moments," coach Don Lucia said of Patterson. "You're best penalty-killer is your goaltender and Kent has certainly done that. But I like the way guys are willing to block shots in front of him and clean up the rebounds."
Gophers -- Nick Bjugstad (7) on the power play, assists by Kyle Rau (7) and Nate Schmidt (11), 12:44. Gophers 1, North Dakota 0
Gophers -- Tom Serratore (2), assists by Nick Larson (1) and Travis Boyd (3), 11:17. Gophers 2, North Dakota 0
Nick Bjugstad goes top shelf to put the Gophers ahead over UND, Gophers up 1-0.
Break away goal by Tom Serratore, Gophers up 2-0.