Minnesota and Schierhorn aim to fight inconsistency

The Gophers lost 8-3 last Saturday after three-straight second game wins.

Drew Cove

It has been a tale of two seasons so far for goaltender Eric Schierhorn.

Schierhorn’s performance, along with the Gophers’ overall play, has been mired in inconsistency.

No. 11 Minnesota has split each of its last three weekend series and has a record of 7-5-2.

“I’m chasing it a little bit right now,” Schierhorn said. “I tried to make some changes to my game over the summer and at the start of the year to make myself more efficient, and I think I kind of got away from what’s made me successful and just competing … I’m just trying to get back to that full time.”

Schierhorn had an impressive freshman season for the Gophers. He started all 37 games for the team and compiled a record of 20-17-0.

The sophomore netminder finished his rookie season with a goals-against average of 2.69 and a save percentage of .906.

Last weekend against Ohio State, the Gophers got their first victory on a Friday night since Oct. 28 against Clarkson.

“The only difference [between Friday and Saturday night] would be pre-game skate on Fridays instead of Saturdays,” Schierhorn said. “That’s been the case my whole hockey career, so that’s not doing anything.”

Since that Oct. 28 game, Schierhorn had given up 15 goals in three Friday night games. In three games on the second night of series since that weekend, he let in just two goals.

Friday nights have been problematic for the Gophers this season. They have allowed comebacks in numerous games, but Schierhorn finally found a Friday victory this past weekend.

“It felt good,” Schierhorn said. “It’s not really a secret, my game hasn’t been as good on Fridays, so it did feel good to get the win … but I’ve got to string together two now.”

The trend of inconsistency has gone beyond the goaltender. The defense has also given up chances and exposed Schierhorn to shots that would have been difficult for him to stop.

“We’ve been consistently inconsistent,” said head coach Don Lucia. “I think that’s fair to say, and until we take a step in the right direction from a defensive standpoint, then we’ll continue to win and lose a game [every weekend].”

Minnesota’s defensive struggles have led to some bad losses this season. Schierhorn and the Minnesota defense will have to prove to their coaches that they’re done splitting series each weekend.

“Eric [Schierhorn]’s our guy,” said captain Justin Kloos. “I’m looking forward to how he plays this Friday and how he plays the rest of the season. He’s a confident kid, and we have complete trust in him.”