Minnesota entered Friday night's contest ranked second in the nation with 4.2 goals per game and showed the Bulldogs just how dangerous its offense can be.
The Gophers scored six unanswered goals against in-state rival Minnesota-Duluth en route to a 6-1 win at Mariucci Arena. That includes 3 goals in a 2:54 stretch of the first period that erased a lackluster opening 13 minutes.
"I think us getting that first goal kind of got us going a bit.," Minnesota (9-1-1, 0-0-0 Big Ten) head coach Don Lucia said. "(Taylor) Cammarata made a couple plays, but the difference for me was that Wilcox was very good in the net and that we had a little puck luck go our way."
Minnesota-Duluth (5-5-1, 2-2-0 NCHC) freshman Charlie Sampair got UMD on the board first 4:19 into the game. Following a Bulldogs power play, Minnesota failed to clear a Sammy Spurrell shot out of the area. Sampair tapped it home for his first collegiate goal.
"I thought we had a good start. Obviously our fourth line got a big goal," said Bulldogs head coach Scott Sandelin. "I thought that we were playing well and doing the right things."
That stood for nearly ten minutes while Minnesota-Duluth's forecheck frustrated the Gophers. Passes out of the Minnesota zone were being picked off and UMD's defense made it difficult for the home team to set up shop.
That changed when Cammarata (New York Islanders) won a puck battle in the neutral zone. The freshman barreled down on Bulldogs goalie Aaron Crandall before passing the puck to a wide-open A.J. Michaelson down low. Michaelson finished for his first goal of the season.
They got one back and off of that they got some momentum," Sandelin said. "I thought we made it easy for (Minnesota) at times."
Tom Serratore and Justin Kloos quickly sniped goals over Crandall's right shoulder 36 seconds apart and all of a sudden it was a 3-1 game with 2:52 remaining in the first period.
Kyle Rau (Florida Panthers) made it 4-1 5:26 into second period when he tallied his second goal of the season.
It feels goods finally," Rau said about scoring his first goal since October 11. "It was a long time coming. Fasching and Warning did all the work, but I just tapped it in."
He was followed by Travis Boyd (Washington Capitals) scoring his third goal of the season with a highlight-reel deke. Michael Brodzinski (San Jose Sharks) added his third with 2:53 remaining in the second on the power play to make it 6-1.
Both teams got physical during the latter half of the game, but it is to be expected when Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth play each other. There were 32 players suited up Friday that hailed from the "State of Hockey." Each knew what it meant for the Gophers and UMD to play one another despite this being a non-conference series.
Closer to home is Wilcox, whose cousin Alex Stalock played goalie for the Bulldogs from 2006 to 2009.
"My mom and (Stalock's mom) watch the games together . I can't imagine the households are too friendly after these games, but it's always fun," Wilcox said. "I'd go up and watch him play the Gophers. It's always kind of tradition."
More importantly for Minnesota than its offense responding was the depth. A member of each of the four lines scored the first four goals, however, the start coming from bottom-six players like Michaelson and Serratore is key for a team looking to kick it into the next gear.
Friday was also the fourth time this season that six different players scored a goal for the Gophers this season.
"Our team had six different guys score a goal," Lucia said. "That's kind of our team.
"That's the way it has to be."
Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth play again Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on Fox Sports North.
MINNESOTA-DULUTH - Charlie Sampair (1) (Cal Decowski, Sammy Spurrell 4:19)
MINNESOTA - A.J. Michaelson (1) (Taylor Cammarata 14:14)
MINNESOTA - Tom Serratore (2) (Travis Boyd, Seth Ambroz 16:32)
MINNESOTA - Justin Kloos (5) (Cammarata, Michael Brodzinski 17:08)
MINNESOTA - Kyle Rau (2) (Sam Warning, Hudson Fasching 5:26)
MINNESOTA - Travis Boyd (3) (Seth Ambroz, Tom Serratore 12:26)
MINNESOTA - Michael Brodzinski (Mike Reilly, Rau 17:07 PP)
Minnesota-Duluth 15 - 7 - 15 -- 37
Minnesota 15 - 14 - 5 -- 34
Aaron Crandall 22 saves (5 goals given up)
Matt McNeely 6 saves (1 goal given up)
Adam Wilcox 36 saves (1 goal given up)
Three Stars: 1) Adam Wilcox 2) Tom Serratore 3) Michael Brodzinski
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation and College Hockey News. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate
Matt Christians contributed to this report.