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Ice Breaker: Six players score for Minnesota in 6-0 win

Adam Wilcox made 25 saves for his fourth career shutout and Kyle Rau and Sam Warning each scored 3 points, but the story of the night is Seth Ambroz's goal.

University of Minnesota junior Seth Ambroz
University of Minnesota junior Seth Ambroz
Minnesota Athletics

It's not often a freshman's first collegiate goal takes a back seat in a game, let alone a period. That was the case Friday night in Minneapolis.

#5 Minnesota (1-0-0) scored three goals in the second period against Mercyhurst (0-1-0) to break the game open en route to a 6-0 victory at Mariucci Arena in the second Ice Breaker Tournament semifinal.

Six different players tallied goals for the team, which lost four of its top five scorers last season. Sam Warning and Kyle Rau (Florida Panthers draft pick) each scored three points (1G-2A) for the Gophers. Freshmen Justin Kloos and Michael Brodzinski (San Jose Sharks) both lit the red light for the first time wearing Maroon and Gold.

"I was really impressed by the Gophers. We're clearly a work in progress, we have a lot of work to do on our end," Mercyhurst head coach Rick Gotkin said about his team, picked to finish second in Atlantic Hockey, after the game. "We showed some signs and lost 6-0, but it didn't feel like a 6-0 game.

Still, the story of the night was Seth Ambroz's (Columbus Blue Jackets) goal to make it 2-0 3:37 into the second period. The junior forward shot the puck off the post, grabbed it behind the net and his shot went off Lakers goalie Jordan Tibbett's skate and into the net. It happened so fast where the referees went to check and make sure Ambroz didn't throw the puck towards Tibett, who made 42 saves in a losing effort.

The play also confused many of the announced crowd of 9,196 at Mariucci Arena. And even some on the ice.

"I don't even know what happened there. Typical Ambroz goal there," Minnesota goalie Adam Wilcox (Tampa Bay Lightning) said. "That's #17. That's how he scores his goals.

"(Teammates) were just laughing because if he's going to get a goal that's how it is going to be. No one else is going to do that."

More than flair, the goal gave Minnesota a cushion it needed. It changed the game. Although Rau was able to open the scoring 6:25 into the game by tapping in a Ben Marshall (Detroit Red Wings) shot on the power play, Mercyhurst was still in the thick of the game despite being out-shot 14-8. Lakers junior Chris Bodo just missed a pair of chances. Minnesota killed three penalties in the first period as well, leaving the door open.

Once Ambroz scored, momentum swung back in the Gophers' favor and stayed there.

"We've played teams like Minnesota in the past where we couldn't get the puck past the red line. It felt like we had some chances and some looks at 1-0, 2-0," Gotkin said. "You feel like if you can score one maybe if you can get back in it."

Warning, whose diving goal had to be reviewed to count, and Kloos made it 4-0 for the home team at the end of the second. At one point in the period the Gophers out-shot Mercyhurst 12-0 over an 8 minute period. The Lakers struggled to keep up on the Olympic ice sheet against a faster team. A step or two behind meant that they were the team now taking penalties.

The third period belonged to the Minnesota freshman. Hudson Fasching (Los Angeles Kings) found Mike Reilly (Columbus)

"He reminds me of (former Minnesota captain and the last player to wear #24 Zach) Budish, but he has a little more hands on him," Warning said about Fasching.

Then Brodzinski scored his first collegiate goal with 1:40 left on a wrist shot that beat Tibbett. It was the cherry on top of a solid start on both ends of the ice for the freshman defenseman.

"I thought he looked good," said Wilcox, who made 25 saves Friday for his 4th career shutout, about Brodzinski. "You never know what to expect coming in on D. He played the puck well behind the net. He was solid blocking shots, he was standing D side and obviously the goal is always nice in the first game."

With the win the Gophers face New Hampshire for the Ice Breaker Tournament championship tomorrow night (October 12) at 7:00 p.m. CT. The Wildcats defeated Clarkson 4-1 in the other semifinal (the Golden Knights play Mercyhurst at 4:00 p.m).

Tomorrow night is an early season test for Minnesota. It's one to see if tonight should be remembered for more than just a single goal and maybe the fact the Gopher scoring depth showed up against Mercyhurst.

"We'll find out tomorrow.," Lucia said. "We moved up and down the rink pretty good tonight, but at the same time how is conditioning going to factor in this early in the season? The opening night is a little more electric, game 1, so we have to come out with the same energy and play a team that has probably better team speed."

Other Notes:

-Ben Marshall left the game with 4 minutes left after taking a shot off his right wrist. An update wasn't available after the game.

-Lucia on Seth's goal: "Ambroz could probably try that 100 times and I don't think it'd work. He's not twinkletoes."

-An underrated story Friday is Minnesota going 5 for 5 killing penalties. The Gophers were

-Of the announced crowd, Mariucci was maybe 2/3 full.

-Kloos' goal is the first from a Minnesota #25 since Jerrid Reinholz on March 12, 2005.

Tomorrow's Ice Breaker championship game starts at 7:00 p.m. CT. It airs on Fox Sports North Plus.


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Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation and College Hockey News. You can also follow him on Twitter --