Gophers start Big Ten play with 5-3 win

Tyler Sheehy now has 12 points in six total games against the Buckeyes.

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 Gophers escaped with a victory in their first Big Ten game after a shaky opening 10 minutes.

No. 11 Minnesota hadn’t won on the first night of a series since October 28th until it beat No. 10 Ohio State Friday.

“I think [defenseman Ryan] Collins’ goal was huge,” said head coach Don Lucia. “We came out and had a good surge in the second, but unfortunately we gave it right back, but I liked the way … we played in the third.”

The game started bleak for Minnesota and the Gophers were severely outplayed in the beginning, which included Minnesota scoring on its own net.

Goaltender Eric Schierhorn has had rough endings to Friday night as of late and nearly looked like he’d repeat the trend, but he was able to pull out the win and made 18 saves.

“I’m happy for him,” Lucia said. “We changed his routine, but I just told him ‘don’t skate today, just get stretched and loosen up’, and I thought he was sharp all game long.”

Minnesota’s five goals came from only three scorers in Collins and forwards Leon Bristedt and Tyler Sheehy.

Sheehy scored the fourth and fifth goals of the night, the fourth being the eventual game winner.

“They were good,” Sheehy said. “Definitely they were fun, they were kind of big goals, so, to be able to get the bench up a little bit and give us a little momentum is definitely a good thing.”

Sheehy is the Gophers’ leading scorer for the season with seven goals and 10 assists in 13 games played this season.

The sophomore forward also has a knack for scoring against the Buckeyes. In six games played all time versus Ohio State, Sheehy has 12 points.

Bristedt also netted two goals Friday and ended a scoreless drought.

“It was really nice to see…” Lucia said. “[forward Tommy] Novak threaded a really nice pass on the first one, and he’s just been a little snake bitten…”

The Gophers handed the Buckeyes their second loss of the season, and will face off again Saturday at 7 p.m. at Mariucci Arena.