Speed propels No. 9 Minnesota to 5-2 victory over Michigan

Minnesota had 45 shots Friday, the most in a game all season.

Sophmore forward Tyler Sheehy tries to steal the puck on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016 at Mariucci Arena. The Gophers tied 5-5 against the University of North Dakota.

Chris Dang, Daily File Photo

Sophmore forward Tyler Sheehy tries to steal the puck on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016 at Mariucci Arena. The Gophers tied 5-5 against the University of North Dakota.

Drew Cove

The Big Ten season resumed with a bang Friday for the Gophers.

No. 9 Minnesota (12-5-2) outlasted Michigan (8-10-1) 5-2 in the first game of the weekend series.

Gophers star forward Tyler Sheehy put on his own offensive clinic again and scored two goals and recorded an assist for Minnesota.

“The guys that we need scoring had our goals tonight.” said head coach Don Lucia.

Sheehy has 28 points for Minnesota in just 19 games, 14 goals and 14 assists.

After Michigan got the first goal of the game midway through the first period, forward Rem Pitlick had the answer the Gophers needed.

“This year I haven’t been shooting the puck as much,” Pitlick said. “I think I need to get that back into my game, but there I just drove wide, closed my eyes and just shot it, and luckily it went in.”

Pitlick led the USHL in scoring last season with 89 points and 46 goals, but so far this season has predominantly been recording assists.

Coming into Friday, the freshman had only two goals compared to 10 assists.

Lucia said that he thought the most important goal of the game was one scored with less than two seconds remaining in the first period.

Forward Mike Szmatula was able to gather a rebound in front of the Wolverines net, and increase the Gophers’ lead to 3-1 heading into the second.

Michigan came at Minnesota with a heavy, physical game, but the Gophers were able to find control in their speed and possession game.

The Gophers recorded 45 shots Friday, the most in a game this season.

Goaltender Eric Schierhorn was sharp again and recorded his fifth straight win and stopped 22 of 24 shots.

Minnesota will look to get the series sweep over Michigan Saturday.