McLaughlin’s Late Goal Gives ‘U’ Sweep


NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Blake McLaughlin found the net with 7.8 seconds left in regulation to give the Gopher Hockey program a 2-1 win over No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday night and lock up Minnesota’s first series sweep under Bob Motzko.


McLaughlin netted both winning goals in the sweep for the Maroon & Gold – his first two collegiate goals – after tallying the eventual game winner in Friday’s 5-1 win over the Irish.


Minnesota (9-8-4 overall, 6-3-3-0 Big Ten) found another stellar performance on the other end of the ice from Mat Robson in goal. The junior netminder picked up his third-straight win against the No. 9 team in the nation, making 34 saves to improve to 7-4-4 on the season. Over the last three games, Robson has made 104 saves on 107 shots.


Notre Dame (12-8-1, 5-6-0-0) jumped out to an early lead when Jack Jenkins scored his third of the year at 7:29 of the first period – Robson’s only blemish on the night.


The Maroon & Gold answered back in the second when Brannon McManus notched a power-play goal at 10:47 off assists from Tyler Sheehy and Rem Pitlick. McManus, who tallied a goal and an assist on Friday, picked up his eighth goal of the year to set a new career best.


After exchanging goals over the first 40 minutes of play, it looked like the series finale was heading to overtime until Sheehy sprung McLaughlin loose on a partial breakaway in the game’s final seconds. McLaughlin’s game winner officially was scored at 19:52 of the third period as the Gophers closed out the series for their first sweep since taking a pair of road wins from Wisconsin on Feb. 9-10, 2018.


The Gophers were outshot 26-35 in the contest, going 1-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill. Minnesota was 4-for-4 on the penalty kill in the series.


Minnesota continues the 2018-19 campaign with a two-game Big Ten series at Michigan State next weekend.


Notes: A night after seeing his career-long, 10-game point streak end, Sheehy picked up a pair of assists and now leads all active Gophers with 126 career points (50 goals, 76 assists)…Pitlick now leads Minnesota with 22 points, 10 goals and 12 assists, having tallied points in 11 of the last 12 games and 16 of Minnesota’s 21 games this year. Pitlick has not been held without a point in back-to-back games this season…Minnesota improved to 2-3-0 in one-goal games this year while this is the program’s first win of the season when scoring fewer than three goals (1-7-4).