Minnesota Rocks North Dakota 6-2

The fifth-ranked Minnesota men's hockey team ended its three-game losing streak on Saturday night, trouncing WCHA rival North Dakota 6-2 at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D. The Gophers put No. 17 UND in a hole early and did not look back in earning their first victory of 2012.

UM's leading scorer got his team on the board early, giving the Gophers a lead they would not relinquish.

Just 2:37 into the contest, Nick Bjugstad potted his 18th goal of the season. Freshman Kyle Rau sent Bjugstad in alone on UND goaltender Aaron Dell. Bjugstad deked to the right and back left before sliding a backhander into the back of the net.

Bjugstad struck again with 20 seconds left in the opening frame, burying a Rau rebound to make it 2-0.

Minnesota wasted little time in padding its lead in the middle frame.

Just after the two-minute mark, Taylor Matson and Nate Condon entered the offensive zone on a two-on-one. Condon swatted a bouncing puck on goal, but Dell kicked it aside. Seth Ambroz then picked up the loose puck and beat Dell with a shot into the lower left corner.

North Dakota's Stephane Pattyn took a boarding penalty just 43 seconds later and the Gophers made it 4-0 three seconds after that when Erik Haula won a faceoff back to Nate Schmidt, who blasted a one-timer over Dell's shoulder.

UND got on the board just before the midway point in the game when Michael Parks deflected an Andrew MacWilliam past UM netminder Kent Patterson with 10:13 left in the period.

North Dakota inched closer less than four minutes later when forward Danny Kristo took a Ben Blood feed and took a shot off the crossbar and in.

The Gophers, however, would kill UND's end-of-period momentum by scoring with less than a minute to play for the second consecutive period.

After Ambroz made an impressive individual effort to get the puck out of the Minnesota zone, he dished a pass to Nate Condon, who snapped a shot past Dell to make it 5-2 with 20 seconds left.

Senior backup goaltender Brad Eidsness replaced Dell between the pipes to start the final frame.

As a Tom Serratore minor penalty wound down early in the third, Condon scored his second goal of the night to put the game out of reach and cap the scoring. Matson sent Condon on a breakaway and Condon roofed a shot over Eidness to make it 6-2. It was Condon's third shorthanded goal of the season.

With the victory, Minnesota earned its first win of 2012 and won its regular-season series against North Dakota for the first time since 2005-06, taking three wins in four games from UND on the year.

The Gophers return home next weekend when they host No. 8 Colorado College on Friday and Saturday at Mariucci Arena.


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