MINNEAPOLIS – It has been a while since Scott Reedy had any kind of hat trick.
It’s safe to say he’s happy to get his first collegiate hat trick at this time of the season.
Reedy got the scoring started, then his second and third goals of the night put Minnesota ahead for good as the Gophers overcame an uneven first period to rally for a 5-3 nonconference victory over the Ferris State Bulldogs on Friday night at 3M Arena at Mariucci.
“It’s a lot of work, and I had to wait on it a little bit, but just being patient with it – it’s a good time to get it,” he said.
It may have been his first hat trick in a Golden Gophers uniform, but Reedy still remembers when he last scored three goals in a game.
“Probably when I was out in Michigan [with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program],” he said.
Reedy, who had missed time earlier this year due to an ankle sprain, has been getting healthier each week, according to head coach Bob Motzko. And it’s showing.
“Great for him to feel good. That jumpstarts a season,” he said.
Three different Ferris State players scored in the first period and Craig Pefley assisted on all of them, but it wasn’t enough for the Bulldogs, who suffered their 14th loss in 19 games played this season. Roni Salmenkangas made 27 saves.
The Gophers played strong early, capitalizing quickly on Reedy’s first goal less than two minutes in. But the Bulldogs, who only had seven shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes, had a quick response as defenseman Nate Kallen tied it on a low wrist shot from the slot. Kallen’s linemate Cooper Zech later gave Ferris State the lead with a power-play goal, but Minnesota replied with a power-play goal of their own as Brent Gates connected on a one-time snipe from the right circle.
Just as it seemed the first period would end in a deadlock, Jason Tackett knocked home a centering feed past Gophers goaltender Mat Robson, who ended up with only four saves. He gave way to senior netminder Eric Schierhorn after the first period, and Schierhorn stopped all 15 shots he faced to earn the victory.
Motzko would not name a starting goaltender for Saturday’s rematch, but he hasn’t lost any faith in Robson despite the shaky outing.
“It was a bad spot coming back from Christmas. He’s a calm, cool dude. There’s no way that this is gonna shake him,” he said.
In Motzko’s eyes, the first period was the rust of the holiday break that reared its head. But he was pleased at how the Gophers put it behind them.
“The mistakes; you’re gonna see that,” he said. “When the smoke cleared, I thought we did a lot of good things tonight.”
Schierhorn was able to keep the Bulldogs off the board in the second period, while Pitlick and Reedy scored second-period goals to give Minnesota the lead back. Reedy’s third goal, courtesy of a beautiful backdoor feed from Sammy Walker late in the third, completed the sophomore forward’s hat trick.
Schierhorn believed a night like this was coming for Reedy soon enough, based on what he had seen him doing in practice recently.
“You see it even before the whole year, he’s got skill,” he said. “Even on plays where he didn’t score, you could just tell he had a ton of confidence.”
The two teams will complete their series at 7:00 on Saturday night.
MINN goal at 1:53: Scott Reedy (1). Assisted by Nathan Burke (3) and Robbie Stucker (1, first collegiate point).
FSU goal at 3:20: Nate Kallen (3). Assisted by Craig Pefley (4) and Cooper Zech (13).
FSU power-play goal at 11:47: Zech (4). Assisted by Pefley (5) and Joe Rutkowski (5).
MINN power-play goal at 14:42: Brent Gates (5). Assisted by Tyler Sheehy (6) and Rem Pitlick (8).
FSU goal at 19:01: Jason Tackett (6). Assisted by Pefley (6) and Corey Mackin (9).
MINN goal at 4:10: Rem Pitlick (8). Assisted by Sheehy (7) and Tyler Nanne (6).
MINN goal at 6:18: Reedy (2). Assisted by Stucker (2) and Burke (4).
MINN goal at 16:15: Reedy (3). Assisted by Sammy Walker (7) and Stucker (3).
Power plays: Both teams 1-2.
Shots on goal: FSU 22, MINN 32.