Minneapolis, MN – On a bitterly cold Minnesota evening, the Gophers started their second-half push off right.
Buoyed by an early Tyler Sheehy goal, Minnesota (11-9-1 Overall, 4-7-1-1 B1G) stymied the Army Black Knights (8-9-2, 6-7-2 Atlantic Hockey), only allowing 13 shots on goal throughout the game. Eric Schierhorn was 13-13 on saves, picking up his third shutout of the season. With Casey Mittelstadt and Ryan Lindgren off to the World Junior tournament, some new faces were in the lineup, including new Gopher blueliner Clayton Phillips, who just joined the program from the USHL over the winter break.
Sheehy’s wrist shot at 10:01 of the first period was all the offense Minnesota would need, and it was almost all that they got. The Gophers did not generate more than a handful of quality chances despite their 33 total shots on goal, and Army goalie Jared Dempsey was solid, keeping the Black Knights in the game with a chance late into the third.
In fact, Army went on the powerplay at 11:11 of the final frame down 1-0 with a chance to tie the game. The Gopher penalty kill was up to the task, and Jack Sadek’s seeing-eye wrister from the point with 3:19 left in the third sealed the game. Leon Bristedt tacked on an empty netter at 19:18 for the third Minnesota goal of the game.
In all honesty, the game wasn’t that exciting – the Gophers struggled to create offensively, and as evidenced by their 13 total shots on goal Army wasn’t doing much either. Here are some takeaways from the game:
Clayton Phillips (wearing #6) looked like he belonged on the Gopher blueline. He was heady and solid, making good breakout passes and several key defensive plays. He also was playing on the second powerplay unit.
Scott Reedy was assessed a 5-minute major for spearing and a game misconduct at the end of the game. Because of the timing and nature of the penalty, Reedy may be forced to sit out Saturday’s contest.
The team definitely missed Casey Mittelstadt. Tommy Novak is the Gophers’ best playmaker with Mittelstadt out of the lineup, and although he played a good game Minnesota just didn’t ever get much going offensively.
Minnesota and Army square off again Saturday night. The game can be seen on FSN+, streamed on Fox Sports Go or BTN2Go, and heard on iHeart Radio, AM1130 and FM103.5.