The Gophers men's hockey team didn't have many opportunities to score early on Friday. But it made the most of them.
Sam Rinzel and Bryce Brodzinski scored 92 seconds apart late in the first period, Rhett Pitlick had a pretty goal and two assists and Justen Close made 33 saves as the seventh-ranked Gophers beat No. 18 Penn State 4-1 at Pegula Ice Arena in State College, Pa.
"We adjusted and settled down," Gophers coach Bob Motzko said. "Two huge goals that we scored to take the lead there in the first after being outshot so greatly."
The Gophers (8-4-3, 4-3-2-1 Big Ten) won despite Penn State's 34-21 advantage in shots on goal. The visitors only had three shots on goal in the first period, but they scored on two of them, with Rinzel, a defenseman, tying the score at the 16:35 mark with his first college goal off a pass by Pitlick.
"We're trying to get him to follow in on the play," Motzko said of Rinzel.
At 18:07, Brodzinski scored his team-high ninth goal of the season. It gave him 100 career points — making him the 87th Gophers player to reach the milestone.
"That first period, they were kind of all over us, outshooting us." Brodzinski said. "It was just big to get that lead early and kind of settle the nerves for all the guys."
In the second period, Connor Kurth made it 3-1 by scoring for the third game in a row, cleaning up after a breakaway by Oliver Moore at 9:06, and Pitlick added a power-play goal at 11:42, one-timing in a pass from Jimmy Snuggerud out of midair.
Close made it hold up from there. He gave up a first-period goal to Dane Dowiak but otherwise shut down the Nittany Lions (8-5-3, 1-3-3), who began the night ranked fifth nationally at 4.1 goals per game.