MADISON, WI- Eric Schierhorn played like a machine in his first trip to Madison, but a second period shot showed that he's not a machine. He's a man.
The only bit of red that Minnesota's freshman goalie could not contain against the Badgers was the blood flowing from his face when a Grant Besse shot hit him flush in the mask. The shot required six or seven stitches for Schierhorn, who said he had never had that happen before and didn't miss any time.
Otherwise Schierhorn stopped all Wisconsin 29 shots he faced against the rival Badgers in a physical 4-0 Gopher victory at Kohl Center.
"I felt good. Not too many Grade A scoring chances, easy, just kind of kept it to the outside," said Schierhorn, who also stopped a pair of breakaways and a toe drag move by Cameron Hughes.
Minnesota (12-10-0, 7-2-0-0 Big Ten) won its fourth consecutive game to retake first place over idle Michigan.
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Hudson Fasching, in his 100th career game with the Gophers, opened the scoring against Wisconsin (4-11-6, 1-6-2-1 Big Ten) with his career-high 14th goal of the season. Left alone in front of the net and positioned perfectly, Fasching tapped home a rebound on the power play 14:12 into the first period.
It's a play he has been making on the ice more and more lately.
"A goal like that, especially an easy one, makes you feel really good. It's a confidence booster," said Fasching, who has 10 goals in his last 11 games. "It kind of started the ball rolling ... we had a bit of a dry spell (on the power play)."
Steve Johnson made it 2-0 in the second period and Justin Kloos added his third shorthanded goal of the season with 7:55 remaining in the second period, beating Wisconsin goaltender Matt Jurusik high to take away any momentum the Badgers were gaining.
Wisconsin out-shot Minnesota 13-7 in the second period and players were physical in an attempt to create offense, however, the team had nothing to show for it other than making a goalie bleed. A quick fix on the bench by the athletic trainer and Schierhorn was back in the net without missing time, only asking for his helmet to get back in there, according to Fasching.
"It really instills a lot of confidence when you got a guy in the net between the pipes," he said.
Both teams were not afraid to throw their bodies around or try to get under the skin of their opponents. Several after the whistle scrums happened, a side effect of the border battle rivalry between two historical foes expecting it to carryover tomorrow.
"It's a rivalry. We don't like these guys. They don't like us," said Schierhorn, an Anchorage, AK native. "(Kohl Center) was fine. The student section was pretty sweet. They were out there for warm-ups, that was pretty fun. They always help you get up for a game."
Vinni Lettieri added a late goal when he deflected a Leon Bristedt shot into the net past Jurusik, who made 21 saves for the Badgers.
Schierhorn finished with his third shutout this season. Only five goalies - Adam Wilcox, Kent Patterson, Robb Stauber, Kellen Briggs and Jim Mattson - have more in a season.
"He comes out of his net pretty far and likes to cut down angles. We were just shooting, which makes it tough to score," said Besse, who was held pointless after scoring eight points in his last five games against the Gophers. "We have to try and go east-west and get him moving. If we can do that tomorrow, I think that will help."
Minnesota and Wisconsin finish the two game series Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. CT.
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation mostly covering both the University of Minnesota and Big Ten. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate