Minnesota comes into the game 5-3-2, averaging 3.4 goals per game and allowing only 2.6 goals per game. Their powerplay scores at a 26.2% clip, while their penalty kill comes in at 80.9%. Most of the Gophers’ goals come after the first period, with 25 of their 34 goals being scored in the second and third period.
The Gophers’ leading scorer is Tyler Sheehy, with a 4-8-12 line. 4 players have 4 goals, and nine players have multiple goals on the season, including multiple defensemen. The Gophers will have one of the most balanced attacks that the Huskies will see this year. In goal, the Gophers are anchored by Eric Schierhorn, an undrafted sophomore. He has an even 90 SV% and a 2.66 goals against average. He saved 90.6% of shots he faced last year, so he is beatable- not quite at the level his predecessor Adam Wilcox was while he played for the Gophers.
The highlighted storyline this matchup features is the return to Matthews Arena of former Northeastern forward Mike Szmatula. Benedict Arnold transferred away from Northeastern after his sophomore season. In his two years on Huntington Avenue, he potted 28 goals and 40 assists for a grand total of 68 points. He also was named to the 2013-14 Hockey East All-Rookie team. After sitting out during 2015-16, Judas has posted a 4-7-11 line while skating on the Gophers’ top line. Aaron Burr was also teammates with Huskies captain John Stevens while in the USHL, and was close friends with Huskies senior Tanner Pond.
The game is the last of an out-of-conference agreement that Northeastern and Minnesota have, with the Gophers holding a 2-1 edge. The keys for the Huskies will be for their goaltender, whoever it is, to control their rebounds, for the defense to clear rebounds that are let up, and for the powerplay to cash in when given the chance. Minnesota is beatable. The emotions will be running high for the seniors, playing against their former teammate, but Northeastern must keep them in check and play a crisp, clean 60 minutes if they want to escape Black Friday with the victory.