Gophers Blank Mankato
MANKATO, MN (GopherSports.com) – Four different Gophers found the net and Eric Schierhorn added his second career shutout as the Gopher Hockey program opened this weekend’s series with a 4-0 win over Minnesota State Friday night.
Along with the rookie netminder’s 31 save on the night, the Gophers (4-4-0 overall, 0-0-0-0 Big Ten) successfully weathered five power-play opportunities on the night while Justin Kloos, Taylor Cammarata, Vinni Lettieri and Leon Bristedt found the net.
The in-state rivals battled back and forth through the first period and nearly skated to Minnesota’s third-straight contest with a scoreless opening stanza. But Kloos forced a short-handed turnover and took advantage with his second goal of the year at 18:33 to send the Gophers into the first intermission with a one-goal lead. Hudson Fasching picked up his first of two assists on the night on the play.
Minnesota added to the lead in the second period with Cammarata’s first goal of the season at 7:08. The junior was set up by Lettieri and Steve Johnson, who returned to the lineup following an injury. The Maroon & Gold also killed three penalties in the second period.
Lettieri and Cammarta would team up again early in the third period – this time it was Lettieri’s turn to score his first of the year. Cammarata forced an odd-man rush with Brent Gates Jr., who put his shot off of a sprawling Cole Huggins and eventually onto the stick of Lettieri in the slot. The junior forward blasted his shot home into the open net for the three-goal lead. Fasching added his second assist of the night at 12:56 when he fed Big Ten Third Star of the Week Leon Bristedt for the sophomore’s fifth goal of the year.
The Gophers have now won four of their last five games as Schierhorn moved to 4-4-0 on the year.
The two in-state rivals close out the nonconference series on Saturday night at Mariucci Arena. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.