The Gophers’ goaltender is showing his best play early on this season.
Minnesota’s junior goaltender Eric Schierhorn has won seven of 10 games for the Gophers this season, and he has a chance to make it eight or nine against Michigan this weekend.
“No complaints on my end,” Schierhorn said. “The [defensemen] are doing their job, the forwards are doing their job as far as defensive responsibilities.”
Schierhorn has been Minnesota’s uncontested starting goaltender since he arrived two years ago, and he’s off to his best start in the maroon and gold.
This season the goalie has collected seven wins in 10 games. Last season, it took 14 games to get to seven wins, and his freshman season, it took 15 games.
Schierhorn has slightly changed his approach in the net, and that has been a factor into his altered game.
“It’s just a sense of calmness in my game that I think you can see,” Schierhorn said. “Whether it’s second saves, body positioning, rebounds, I’m making things a lot easier on myself as far as not getting out of the crease too much.”
The Gophers experienced this unusual consistency early in the season from Schierhorn, and this time it looks to be a continuation of the improvements he made in the second half of last season.
After the first series of the year ended in a sweep last season, it took until early December for Schierhorn to help his team earn another. This season, he recorded his first sweep at the end of October, and has recorded two series sweeps already this season.
This consistency is important for the Gophers, and Schierhorn and his teammates know that’s what he needs to be.
“[He’s] consistent, that’s the most important,” said captain Tyler Sheehy. “He’s always going to have a solid effort with us, and we can definitely rely on him on the back end.”
Schierhorn’s record over the last four games has been impressive and beyond his career statistic numbers.
The goaltender has collected all seven of Minnesota’s wins, including the four-game winning streak the team is currently on. He has allowed three goals in four games, including a shutout, his second of the year.
Schierhorn’s individual stats are greater than his career totals. In his first two seasons with the Gophers, he had a 2.69 and 2.61 goals against average, so far this season it is at 1.80.
Like his goals against average, his save percentage is also significantly improved over his career numbers. In his first two seasons, Schierhorn had a save percentage of .906 and .908, and this season, 10 games in, it is .933.
“This year he is playing well,” said head coach Don Lucia. “We’re 10 games in, and [I think it’s] safe to say that he’s played his best hockey as a Gopher.”
Schierhorn has the seven wins, two shutouts, and this four game winning streak going, but he doesn’t want to attribute it all to his changed play.
The junior goalie said the defense in front of him has played well, keeping pucks from reaching him and stopping scoring chances before they arise.
“It’s nice to get on a four game roll here,” Schierhorn said. “Going into Yost [Ice Arena], haven’t had the best of luck on Fridays the last couple years, so [we’re] looking to turn that around.”