MINNEAPOLIS- Hudson Fasching mentioned after Friday's game that he wanted Minnesota's first win to be a foundation for building the right habits. His message may have spread to the rest of the team, but the junior forward took the lessons to heart.
Fasching scored twice Saturday, finishing the weekend with three goals as the Gophers held off a late Northeastern charge to sweep the Huskies with a 4-3 victory Saturday.
"This is big for us. This is a lot of lessons learned," he said as Minnesota (2-3-0, 0-0-0-0 Big Ten) enters its bye week with two much-needed victories after starting the season 0-3. "The thing we learned tonight is that you cannot ever let up on a game. You got to play a full sixty (minutes).
Anyone arriving late to Mariucci Arena on Saturday learned a valuable lesson delivered by the Gopher second line of Fasching, Leon Bristedt and Tommy Novak about punctuality. Being on time matters. Showing up to the rink ten minutes late, even with an 8:00 p.m. start, meant missing four goals in the opening 4:07 of play.
Three of those were by Minnesota, which for the second straight night buoyed a quick, three-goal start into a lead Northeastern (1-4-0, 0-0-0 Hockey East) could not overcome.
"We had good starts two nights in a row. To score three goals right off the bat like we did, the guys came out with really good energy to start the game, made really good plays," Gopher head coach Don Lucia said, happy to be able to lean on and get contributions from his leaders Saturday.
Those came quickly. Fasching lit the lamp less than a minute into the game when he scored off of a Bristedt pass on the doorstep. He was joined by Michael Brodzinski and Bristedt, whose jubilant celebration following his first goal of the year capped a 3-0 Gophers lead 17 seconds after Brodzinski's goal.
"You can watch in the big leagues and there are players that don't have points yet. There's nothing you can do about it. You have to battle every day, work hard in practice," Bristedt said about getting on the scoreboard after several close calls. "Eventually it is going to come for you. I feel like that is what happened today."
John Stevens broke Northeastern's scoring drought with his third goal of the season less than thirty seconds later. The junior from Sea Isle City, NJ poked a loose puck in the crease past Eric Schierhorn, who made 25 saves Saturday.
"I thought Eric did a nice job again tonight," Lucia said about his goalie, who twice stopped NU's Sam Kurker on a breakaway. "Maybe he was a little overaggressive and chased a couple pucks, but what I liked about his game is that he was rock solid again in the third."
Even those who came late were treated to action, however. The Huskies took its timeout after the third goal and Jim Madigan's team clawed its way back into contention. Freshman goaltender Ryan Ruck stayed in the game, settling down and helping Northeastern.
That included stopping Minnesota's first penalty shot at Mariucci Arena in four years when Ruck denied Vinni Lettieri in the second period. Kurker and Eric Williams scored to make it a one goal game for the latter half of Saturday.
Northeastern pestered the Gophers throughout the third period as the home team went into a defensive shell, blocking nine shots, and Fasching's second goal late in the first period proved to be the difference. Looking to pass to Novak, the junior instead noticed he had more room with the Huskies focusing on Justin Kloos and took advantage with the man advantage.
"We learned that we can battle through any adversity," said Brodzinski, ending the night with a goal and three points. "We have a young team, but they're learning real quick."
MIN- Hudson Fasching (2) (Leon Bristedt, Michael Brodzinski 00:59)
MIN- Michael Brodzinski (1) (Connor Reilly, Justin Kloos 3:22)
MIN- Leon Bristedt (1) (Ryan Collins, Nick Seeler 3:39)
NU- John Stevens (3) (Nolan Stevens, Kevin Roy 4:07)
MIN- Fasching (3) (Justin Kloos, Brodzinski 18:38 PP)
NU- Sam Kurker (1) (Jake Schechter, Mike McMurty 2:04)
NU- Eric Williams (1) (Dylan Sikura, Adam Gaudette 12:52 PP)
NU- 6 - 13 - 9 -- 28
MIN- 17 - 8 - 7 -- 32
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