MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) - Junior Eric Schierhorn led the way between the pipes as the No. 7 Gopher Hockey program defeated No. 9 Clarkson 3-1 on Friday night to start a four-game homestand at 3M Arena at Mariucci.
Schierhorn made 26 stops behind a stout defense while Minnesota had three different goal-scorers and eight different skaters with at least one point on the night. Freshman Casey Mittelstadt tallied two assists while sophomore Rem Pitlick scored the eventual game-winner for the Gophers in the second period.
"Eric gave us an opportunity early until we got our legs into the game," said head coach Don Lucia after the game. "We got better as the night went on. We had to shuffle the lines a little bit, but the guys who we need to score, scored. I'm happy for our team that we were able to find a win tonight against a quality opponent."
The two teams settled in to a feeling-out process in the first period, playing disciplined and trading five-on-five opportunities until Minnesota earned the first power-play chance of the game with just 2:31 remaining in the opening frame. The Gophers ripped one shot on net against Clarkson's Jake Kielly with the man advantage but couldn't come away with a lead after one. The Golden Knights held a 10-9 advantage in shots at the break.
The Maroon & Gold got their second power play early in the second, this time an extended opportunity including 35 seconds of 5-on-3 when Clarkson drew back-to-back penalties. Kielly and the Knights' defense continued to keep Minnesota off the board until the 14:32 mark of the period when freshman Scott Reedy broke through with his second of the year, banging home a rebound to give the Gophers the edge. Fellow rookie Mittelstadt and senior Jack Glover were credited with assists, as the `U' brought a 1-0 lead to the second intermission.
Minnesota wasn't done there as Rem Pitlick netted his third of the season at 7:04 of the third, assisted by Mittelstadt and junior Tyler Sheehy. The Gophers laid the pressure on early in the third, drawing another power play toward the midway point of the period. Brent Gates Jr. put Minnesota up by three thanks to the 5-on-4, scoring his second of the year with senior Steve Johnson and junior Tommy Novak earning assists at 10:55.
The Golden Knights broke through late as Nic Pierog scored with 1:18 remaining, but failed to light the lamp again despite pulling the goaltender for the final minute. Minnesota finished with 27 shots in the game, and Kielly made 24 saves for Clarkson.
The same two teams will wrap up their non-conference series Saturday evening at 3M Arena at Mariucci, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Single-game tickets, season tickets and flexible Pick-Your-Packs are currently available at GopherSports.com, by calling 1-800-U-Gopher or by stopping by the ticket office at 3M Arena at Mariucci.
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