Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 10/13/12
Despite his squad's decisive win one night earlier, Minnesota men's hockey coach Don Lucia said he sought greater consistency Saturday night against Michigan State. Apparently, Lucia got the Gophers' attention. Minnesota bolted out to a 3-0 lead barely seven minutes into its clash with Michigan State, en route to a 7-1 victory. Minnesota (2-0-0) got eye-opening performances from several skaters, as it unleashed 34 shots on goal. "We've been coming out strong," said Minnesota forward Nate Condon. "This year we took it right to them, because we knew they're a tough team." The Gophers, Frozen Four participants last season, gained control of Saturday's contest early. Barely five minutes in, Minnesota's 6-foot-6, 220-pound bull in a china shop, forward Nick Bjugstad, handed the hosts a 2-0 advantage off a stellar one-timer pass from teammate Kyle Rau. A couple minutes later, Tom Serratore got in on the scoring spree as well, as the junior forward knocked home a garbage goal in front of the net -- his first goal in nearly 11 months. Finally, with 53 seconds remaining in the opening period, sophomore defenseman Ben Marshall lit the lamp on a deep wrist shot, handing the Gophers a decisive, 4-0 lead. "It's opening weekend, and we've been waiting a while to get back out here. So we feel good," Rau said, explaining his squad's abundance of energy. Further evidence that all the game's momentum resided in Minnesota's corner? Rau added to the hosts' lead just 30 seconds into the second period, off a point-blank, one-timer score. The Spartans never recovered.Saturday marked the first collegiate start for Minnesota netminder Adam Wilcox, a freshman from South St. Paul. The athletic, gambling goaltender acquitted himself well, and No. 16 Michigan State was held scoreless until early in the final period. This year's Gophers are viewed as an explosive, balanced group. They lived up to that billing in their two-game set with Michigan State, with a ceaseless display of aggressiveness. "It was men against boys this weekend. You guys have a great team," said NHL icon Chris Chelios -- the father of Spartans Dean and Jake Chelios -- in a FOX Sports North interview. The Gophers return to action next Friday, in a 6 p.m. contest at Michigan Tech. Robby Incmikoski contributed to this report.
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