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Gopher goalie Eric Schierhorn stays strong against UND

Of all the bitter back-and-forth associated with the return of the UND-Minnesota men's hockey rivalry, Minnesota junior goalie Eric Schierhorn almost pulled off the best punking Friday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

UND's Rhett Gardner scores a powerplay goal late in the third period as linemate Shane Gersich, Minnesota goalie Eric Schierhorn and Jack Glover look on. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
UND's Rhett Gardner scores a powerplay goal late in the third period as linemate Shane Gersich, Minnesota goalie Eric Schierhorn and Jack Glover look on. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Of all the bitter back-and-forth associated with the return of the UND-Minnesota men’s hockey rivalry, Minnesota junior goalie Eric Schierhorn almost pulled off the best punking Friday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Schierhorn nearly forced a couple of UND students to hang on to frozen gophers for an entire game for no reason.

Rhett Gardner’s third period goal with 6 minutes, 20 seconds left, freed the gophers onto the ice, but Schierhorn had the last laugh as he stopped 34 shots to lead Minnesota to a 2-1 win in the series opener.

Gardner’s goal snapped a streak of 69 straight stops of UND shots by Schierhorn dating back to last season.

“Tonight, I just blocked (the fans) out,” Schierhorn said. “You know they’re there. It’s a pretty impressive crowd, but you’re so focused on the game, you’re not worried about that. I wish we could do this four times a year every year, home and home. It’s the best rivalry in college hockey. That’s why you go to a school like Minnesota, to play in packed houses like this.”

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UND controlled play for most of the matchup and peppered Schierhorn with 10 shots on six power plays.

“He was huge,” Minnesota defenseman Steve Johnson said. “He was on fire. He works really hard. We expect that out of him. Whenever he can bail you out, you’re going to take advantage of that. He’s a great goalie, and we’re taking advantage of that.”

Schierhorn held off a frantic final two minutes as UND played with an empty net.

“It’s a culmination of a whole summer of work,” Schierhorn said. “I feel more comfortable and confident and at ease. It’s showing in games and it’s something I feel really good about.”

Minnesota helped out Schierhorn defensively, too, blocking 29 shots to UND’s six. Tyler Nanne blocked six shots, Jack Glover had five and four went to Jack Ramsey, who sacrificed his body in front of a Gabe Bast slapper just before the final buzzer.

“That energizes me and the team,” Schierhorn said. “It brings us closer. The sellout from all the guys was unbelievable and that’s why we won.”

Related Topics: UND FIGHTING HAWKS HOCKEY
Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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