Hudson Fasching celebrated more than his NHL debut Saturday night. The former Gophers standout forward scored his first career goal 8:37 into the first period to jump-start a come-from-behind 3-2 win for the Buffalo Sabres.
Fasching used his big body to fend off a Winnipeg defenseman and then cut in front of the net where he forced in the shorthanded goal.
"It's really exciting. It's like a dream come true," Fasching said after the game. "It's been a whirlwind. I think that's been the perfect word for me. It feels like yesterday I was at the University of Minnesota, and now I'm here."
Fasching, who grew up in Burnsville, signed with Buffalo on Monday after completing his third season with the Gophers. He had one year of college eligibility remaining, but is scheduled to graduate with his degree this spring.
Minnesota fans can catch a glimpse of Fasching in the national spotlight Monday night on NBC Sports Network at 6:30 p.m. Buffalo will go for a third straight win against Detroit, which is fighting for a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Fasching was Saturday’s third star of the game and is the newest piece to the Sabres’ large crop of young talent. Sabres rookies Sam Reinhart (playing his first full season in the NHL) and Jack Eichel were the first and second stars, respectively.
Former Minnesota State standout defenseman Casey Nelson, the WCHA Defensive Player of the Year, also made his NHL debut on Saturday night and assisted Fasching’s goal.
Fasching is the 19th former Gophers star to play in the NHL this year. Mike Reilly and Kyle Rau debuted earlier this season.
Fasching also scored in his collegiate debut in 2013-2014. He recorded an assist in his first game with the Gophers and then followed up with a goal and assist the next night.
Defensemen Nick Seeler and Michael Brodzinski also signed pro contracts last week and will leave the Gophers after their junior seasons. Both are expected to start in the AHL.
Check out Fasching’s first goal: