A belated congrats to Gophers alum Erik Haula, who scored his first NHL goal on Saturday night in a 3-2 overtime win for the Minnesota Wild over Alex Goligoski and the Dallas Stars.
The native of Pori, Finland has taken a liking to Hockey Day Minnesota -- the forward has five points (two goals, three assists) in four career appearances in the event. Haula tallied the game-winning goal and two assists in his first appearance as a freshman for the Gophers (a 7-3 Minnesota win over Denver) before picking up an assist in last year's 4-4 overtime tie with North Dakota as a junior in his final collegiate appearance for HDM.
In 17 games with the Wild this season, Haula has three points and two assists to go along with his first NHL goal -- he's also played 24 games with the organization's AHL affiliate in Iowa with 17 points (nine goals, eight games).
Haula is one of 15 former Gophers to play in the NHL this season including four program alums (Thomas Vanek, Paul Martin, Blake Wheeler, Phil Kessel) who will compete in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games next month in Sochi, Russia.