Gophers Win Mariucci Classic
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) – The No. 11 Gopher Hockey program picked up a goal from each of its top four scorers and 33 saves from tournament MVP Eric Schierhorn to win its first Mariucci Classic championship since 2012-13 on Saturday night.
The Gophers took down Massachusetts 4-1 in the championship game thanks to goals from Tyler Sheehy, Justin Kloos, Mike Szmatula and Vinni Lettieri.
For the second night in a row, the Gophers scored two power-play goals, a shorthanded goal and an empty-net goal as special teams sparked the win. Minnesota went 2-for-5 on the power play on Saturday (4-for-12 on the weekend) and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill (12-for-12 on the weekend).
Minnesota (11-5-2 overall, 3-1-0-0 Big Ten) picked up its 14th Mariucci Classic title thanks to multi-point games from each of its top three scorers – Kloos, Sheehy and Szmatula.
Kloos led the way with three points – two assists and an unassisted, shorthanded tally that eventually served as the game winning goal. The shorthanded goal stands as the captain’s third of the year (tied for the NCAA lead) and seventh career goal while on the penalty kill (tied for first among active NCAA skaters).
A night after seeing his eight-game point streak come to an end, Sheehy started new streaks by getting the Gophers going early with his 12th of the year. The sophomore blasted a one-timer into the net on the power-play 1:44 into the game from Kloos and Szmatula.
Kloos’ ninth of the season opened second period scoring at 5:02 followed by Jonny Lazarus’ lone goal for the Minutemen (5-13-2, 2-7-1 Hockey East) at 12:54. Szmatula added Minnesota’s second power-play tally of the night at 14:09. His sixth goal of the year came off a no-look pass from Sheehy and was also assisted by Kloos. Lettieri closed out the night with an empty-net tally from Steve Johnson and Jake Bischoff at 19:23 of the third period.
Schierhorn made 33 saves to pick up the win and move to 11-5-2 on the year. The save total is tied for the sophomore’s second highest this season.
With 60 penalty minutes between the two teams, this year’s championship featured the second most combined penalty minutes in Mariucci Classic history. The Gophers allowed just two goals against on the weekend – only two teams have allowed fewer in Mariucci Classic history (Minnesota’s 2012 squad and Princeton’s 1998 team each allowed one goal against). Minnesota outshot the Minutemen 39-34.
The Maroon & Gold return to Big Ten action with a home series against Michigan, Jan. 13-14, at Mariucci Arena. Tickets for the 2016-17 season are available at MyGopherSports.com or by calling 1-800-U-Gopher.