The University of Minnesota men's hockey team used a stellar performance from its fourth line Satuday to cruise to a 5-1 win and two-game sweep of non-conference foe Bemidji State at Mariucci Arena.
The line of Brett MacKinnon, Jerrid Reinholz and Barry Tallackson scored two goals and four assists to push Minnesota's winning streak to five games. The Golden Gophers are now 18-9-3 overall and 11-8-1 in the WCHA.
The Golden Gophers took a 1-0 lead after one period with the fourth line continuing its recent success in the scoring column. At 2:51, Tallackson fired a shot on net from the point with the rebound coming to MacKinnon. MacKinnon passed the puck across the goal mouth from a sharp angle for Reinholz to knock it in on the far side past BSU goaltender Layne Sedevie. The goal was Reinholz's second of the season. MacKinnon's assist was his second of the weekend. For the period, Minnesota out-shot the Beavers, 13-6.
For the sixth consecutive game, the Maroon and Gold skated into the second intermission with a 2-1 lead. In tonight's second period, Minnesota took a 2-0 lead before BSU rallied to cut the advantage to one.
The Golden Gophers opened the period's scoring with Troy Riddle's power-play goal at 7:17. Riddle's shot from the left circle richocheted off a Beaver defenseman and squeaked by Sedevie's pads and the right post. Danny Irmen and Keith Ballard earned assists on the play. Ballard's assist pushed his point streak to four games.
Bemidji State struck back at 14:39 with Brendan Cook's team-leading 19th goal of the season. With Riddle in the penalty box for tripping, Cook and Andrew Murray skated in on a two-on-one with Murray feeding Cook with a pass across the slot to beat UM goaltender Kellen Briggs' high stick side.
The second period saw Minnesota out-shoot BSU 17-7, for a two-period total of 30-13.
The third period was all Maroon and Gold as Minnesota out-scored the Beavers, 3-0, to turn the game into a rout. Just 44 seconds in with UM on a 5-on-3 power play, Riddle scored his second goal of the night, deflecting in a Ballard shot from the high slot to beat Sedevie on the glove side. Matt Koalska picked up the second assist on the play. With the goal, Riddle moved into a tie for 15th place with Reggie Berg (1995-99) on Minnesota's career goals list with 73 career markers. He also moved into a tie for 16th place with Tom Rothstein (1981-85) and Grant Bischoff (1988-91) on UM's career points list with 161 (74-87--161). Riddle is second on the team this season with 16-16--32.
Minnesota took a 4-1 lead at 12:35 on MacKinnon's first goal of the season. Tallackson made a solid rush into the zone and made a nice pass, allowing MacKinnon to use a backhander to beat Sedevie to the stick side. Reinholz gained the second assist on the play to mark the second goal of the night in which the fourth line combined in the scoring. MacKinnon's one-goal, one-assist night marked the first multi-point game of his career.
The Golden Gophers wrapped up the scoring at 17:46 with Andy Sertich's coast-to-coast goal, his seventh of the season. Sertich got a pass from Judd Stevens in the Minnesota zone and rushed up ice to beat Sedevie via the five-hole.
For the third period, Minnesota out-shot BSU, 12-4, for a final shots advantage of 42-17.
Briggs earned the win, stopping 16 of 17 shots, to improve to 16-6-3 on the season. Sedevie got the loss with 37 saves and fell to 4-4-2.
Minnesota's success on the power play continued as the Golden Gophers went 2-for-6 with the man advantage. Riddle had both of UM's power-play markers to push his team-leading total of power-play points to 9-9--18.
The Golden Gophers are undefeated in five games, 11-1-2 in the last 14 games and 16-2-2 in the last 20 contests.
Minnesota returns to WCHA play next weekend with a key series against intrastate rival Minnesota-Duluth on Feb. 13-14.
Fourth line powers U in puck wins
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