Madison, Wis. – Eric Schierhorn used all of his equipment Friday to help the Gophers men’s hockey team to a fourth consecutive victory, and he has the mark to prove it.
Schierhorn stopped 29 shots, one of which opened a gash in his right eyebrow when the puck connected with his mask, in the Gophers’ 4-0 victory over Wisconsin at the Kohl Center.
The freshman sported six or seven stitches — he said he didn’t count — after completing his third shutout.
“It’s all good,” he said through a smile. “It really didn’t even hurt.”
Hudson Fasching scored the first goal and added two assists as the Gophers climbed a season-high two games above .500 and ahead of idle Michigan atop the Big Ten standings.
Schierhorn needed attention from athletic trainer Jeff Winslow after a second-period shot from Wisconsin’s Grant Besse hit him square in the mask, causing him to throw off his headgear as blood started dripping.
He went to the bench and backup Brock Kautz briefly took over the crease while workers cleaned Schierhorn’s blood from the ice. But Schierhorn didn’t miss any playing time after having the wound treated, striding back to the net before the ensuing faceoff.
Fasching said Schierhorn was more concerned about where his helmet was so he could get back in the game than about the blood.
“It really instills a lot of confidence that you know you’ve got a guy that tough between the pipes back there,” Fasching said.
The Gophers (12-10, 7-2 Big Ten) improved to 8-3 since the start of December, and they have given up only four goals in their four-game winning streak.
Fasching has been a steady offensive force during that 11-game run and, in his 100th game for the Gophers, he broke a scoreless tie in the first period with a power-play goal.
Wisconsin’s Eddie Wittchow blocked Michael Brodzinski’s shot in front of the net, but the puck rolled right to Fasching, who put it home for his 10th goal in the Gophers’ past 11 games.
“[Fasching’s] playing heavier on the puck — I think that’s the big thing,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said. “When he plays a power game, he’s better.”
Steve Johnson scored at even strength and Justin Kloos scored shorthanded in the second period, and Vinni Lettieri got the final goal late in the third on a shot that deflected off him.
Schierhorn needed to make just four saves in the third period to seal the shutout of the Badgers (4-11-6, 1-6-2-1), making his first taste of the Border Battle rivalry a positive one.
“We don’t like these guys; they don’t like us,” he said. “So any time we get a chance to come into their building, we want to show them up. And I think we did that, so we’re happy.”