Freshman Logan Cooley scored two goals and had an assist as the No. 2-ranked Gophers men's hockey team defeated Lindenwood University 4-0 on Saturday night in its season opener at 3M Arena at Mariucci before an announced crowd of 6,867.
"We liked a lot of things we saw," Gophers coach Bob Motzko said. "There's an arrow pointing in the direction of things we need to get better at, exciting with a couple of the young guys, but it was a good hockey game.
"We're real pleased after Game 1 because it gives us a starting point of what we got to do moving forward."
Nine freshmen made their first appearances in a college hockey game for Minnesota, accounting for a plus-six rating combined.
For their first game in Division I, the Lindenwood Lions acquitted themselves quite well. As expected Minnesota won, but it wasn't a drubbing. The Lions, representing a private school of 7,000 in St. Charles, Mo., kept the score relatively close.
Jaxon Nelson had the only goal of the first period, almost 8½ minutes into the game, on a power play.
Cooley, the No. 3 pick in the first round by the Coyotes in the NHL draft last summer, made it 2-0 just over 5½ minutes into the middle period. About two minutes later Matthew Knies got the home team's second power-play goal for a 3-0 lead. The 5-10, 180-pound Cooley from Pittsburgh got the Gophers' final goal midway through the third.
Minnesota goalie Justen Close made 16 saves for the shutout. The Lions' Trent Burnham stopped 30 shots
One area Lindenwood struggled in was in taking too many trips to the penalty box: the Lions had six penalties for 33 minutes, including a five-minute major and 10-minute game misconduct, the Gophers had three penalties for six minutes.