By: Dan McLoone
MINNEAPOLIS- It was a tale of two goalies on Friday night, as Minnesota welcomed Northeastern to Mariucci Arena by scoring three quick goals on Derick Roy to force an early goalie change for the Huskies. Freshman Ryan Ruck replaced Roy just over eight minutes into the game and performed admirably, making several highlight-reel saves as the Golden Gophers skated away with a 4-0 victory, dropping the Huskies to 1-3 on the season.
Roy struggled right out of the gate, allowing Tommy Novak to find an opening in front of the net on a power play and slot away a centering pass from Justin Kloos for a 1-0 lead just over six minutes into the first period. Two minutes later, Jack Glover lit the lamp for Minnesota, sending a puck through Roy’s five hole for a 2-0 lead. Exactly three minutes later, Tyler Sheehy sent a shot over Roy’s right shoulder to grab a 3-0 lead. Minnesota added a fourth goal with just under three minutes left in the game, as a Hudson Fasching centering pass deflected off of Colton Saucerman and underneath Ruck’s legs.
“The first five to six minutes we played pretty well. We wanted to have a quick start. And then we took a penalty, and they’re a team that’s been struggling to score goals so they moved them around and got one,” said Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan.
“Then we gave up a second goal. That was one that I’m sure we’d all love to have back, and then we just couldn’t stop the bleeding.”
After allowing seven goals in two games last weekend against Bentley, Roy was on a short leash by Madigan, who yanked his netminder after allowing three goals on just four shots. Ruck immediately settled in, making many nice saves as Northeastern worked to get themselves back in the game, including an incredible post-to-post save with his blocker hand in the second period to deny the Gophers a fourth.
“I thought he played really well,” said Madigan on Ruck. “He stood up, he made an unbelievable save. I wish they didn’t score that last one at the end because I thought we just tired them [out] for the last two or three minutes of the game.”
The Huskies tried to turn the game around following their early deficit, but Minnesota freshman goalie Eric Schierhorn had himself quite the night. Schierhorn weathered an onslaught of Northeastern shots throughout the rest of the game, making incredible save after incredible save to maintain the shutout. He stopped three different one-on-one breakaways, one each from Adam Gauedette, Sam Kurker and Kevin Roy. He also made an astounding cross-ice glove save on a Dylan Sikura one-timer in the first period.
“Once it went to three…from that point on and into the second and third period, I thought we played well,” said Madigan. “I thought we competed, we got pucks down low, we made some plays, we settled down, and had some really good grade-A chances.”
After an incredibly sloppy opening eight minutes for the Huskies, they played the Gophers evenly throughout the rest of the night, trading shots on goal. However, their effort for a comeback was in vain, as they just couldn’t get anything past Schierhorn.
“I’m not into moral victories, but I did like how our team responded after being [down] three to love,” said Madigan. “I thought at that point they really competed. We just have to respond a lot sooner than we did here tonight.”
There were 17 penalties combined on the night, including a scrum late in the third period that resulted in seven players sitting in the box at once. The penalties allowed Minnesota to score their first goal, while Northeastern finished the night 0-6 on the power play.
The win is Minnesota’s first of the season, while the Huskies dropped their third consecutive game. The two teams will square off again on Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET, which can be heard on WRBB.
Josh Brown contributed to this article.