Gophers redeem themselves with 3-0 win over St. Lawrence

Gophers freshman forward Nathan Burke scored his first two career goals in the 3-0 victory.

Freshman Nathan Burke skates back to the bench after scoring his first goal of the season at Mariucci Arena on Saturday, Nov. 17.

Tony Saunders

Freshman Nathan Burke skates back to the bench after scoring his first goal of the season at Mariucci Arena on Saturday, Nov. 17.

by Jack Warrick

A freshman came out of the locker room wearing the hard hat on Saturday.

Gophers’ forward Nathan Burke got to wear the player of the game helmet after he scored his first two collegiate goals Saturday night to help the Gophers get redemption for a Friday night overtime loss to St. Lawrence.

“Obviously it’s exciting. We’ve been working hard in practice, and after last night, it was definitely cool to kind of bounce back and help my team out,” Burke said. “They did all the work, I just happened to go to the right places.”

Minnesota split the St. Lawrence series after winning 3-0 on Saturday night at 3M Arena at Mariucci. The Gophers lost the first matchup on Friday in overtime 4-3.

Burke scored once in the first period, and again in the second period to give his team a 2-0 lead in the second frame. His linemate, Sammy Walker, caught a break away and scored with under four minutes left in the game to give the Gophers a 3-0 win.

Burke scored the second with 12:17 to play in the second period. Burke sniped the top right corner with a shot so fast the refs had to check to make sure it didn’t hit the post. It was assisted by linemates Walker and Blake McLaughlin.

“We can see Burkey’s skill in practice and everything. He got a shot and did his thing,” said goaltender Eric Schierhorn. “It was a pretty sweet goal. His second one should probably be on ‘SportsCenter.'”

Burke, an Arizona native, scored his first collegiate goal at 11:59 left to play in the first period. Tyler Nanne threw him a crisp pass from the other side near the boards and he one-timed the puck top shelf on goaltender Emil Zetterquist, who played his first game and got his first win on Friday when St. Lawrence beat the Gophers. The Burke goal was the first of the game. 

Walker scored on a break away thanks to a centering pass from defenseman Jack Sadek for a 3-0 lead with minutes left to play. He skated straight down the ice at the goaltender, stick handled once to slide him over, and deposited the final goal at 3:29 left on the clock in the third period.

The defense held St. Lawrence to 12 total shots. It was a stark comparison to Friday’s game when other goaltender Mat Robson faced 38 shots in three periods of regulation play.

“Today was much better, and that’s the way you got to play the game,” said head coach Bob Motzko. “We gave up 11 grade A chances on the penalty kill last night. We gave up 12 shots all game today.”

Schierhorn got the shutout win facing 12 shots, while Robson faced over three times as many the night before.

“I don’t love it, but I’ll take a shutout whenever I can get it,” Schierhorn said. “Not knocking St. Lawrence, that was probably the easiest shutout that I’ve had in college hockey, but that’s a credit to my team more than it is a knock on them.”

The Gophers committed no penalties in the first period. It was the first period of penalty-less hockey the Gophers have played since the first period of the 7-4 win over Duluth on Oct. 7, the second game of the year.

The Gophers will play Michigan State on Friday and Saturday in a two-game series back at 3M Arena at Mariucci.

“I hope that this is another staple, another stamp of a direction turn in our compete level, and we had to make some changes. We made some changes in our lineup. We made some changes in our lines, but they made the change in how they were going to play,” Motzko said.