MINNEAPOLIS — Michael Shibrowski’s last start in net for Minnesota was Oct. 19, 2012 against Michigan Tech.
He made his start against Minnesota State on Saturday night count.
The senior netminder from Andover, Minn., stopped all 25 shots he faced, and led Minnesota to a 3-0 win over the Mavericks.
The shutout was Shibrowski’s first of his college career and he was the game’s first star, a day after his birthday.
“It was good, I guess I owe the guys for that,” Shibrowski said. “One of the better presents I got this year.”
Even with his successful night, the senior backstop was quick to point out that he didn’t play a perfect game.
“There’s a couple plays that I’d like to have back,” Shibrowski said. “But I guess you can’t complain with the way things turned out.”
Shibrowski started off last season splitting time with then freshman Adam Wilcox. The two sharing the net lasted all of two weeks. Shibrowski got pulled in his second start against Tech and only saw action in one more game last season.
“You can’t say enough about what Adam has done for us and how well he has played,” Shibrowski said. “I was kind of waiting and seeing and it worked out that I played tonight, so I’m just thankful for the opportunity.”
According to freshman defenseman Jake Bischoff and Gophers’ coach Don Lucia, that opportunity couldn’t have came to a better person.
“The guys love him, he’s a tremendous teammate,” Lucia said. “He’s a guy that, even though he hasn’t played much, he works as hard as anybody on the team.”
Bischoff gave the Gophers the lead six minutes into the game when he beat Cole Huggins from the high slot. The goal was Bischoff’s third of the season and he played back-to-back games for the first time this season.
“It definitely helped my confidence,” Bischoff said. “It felt good to get out there two nights in a row with the team.”
Minnesota State appeared to have tied things up a couple minutes later when Bryce Gervais tipped a shot past Shibrowski, but upon further review, Gervais obviously redirected the shot with his glove. It appeared that both Gervais and Shibrowski knew that the goal would be overturned.
“I kind of saw him make that punching motion,” Shibrowski said. “You never know what the ref is going to call, but I tried to alert him to it as calmly as possible.”
After a bad turnover in their own end by the Mavericks, Tom Serratore got his stick on the puck before Huggins was able to freeze it and roofed a shot to give Minnesota the 2-0 with eight minutes remaining.
Freshman Hudson Fasching put the game on ice a couple minutes later when he housed a one-time pass from Sam Warning.
Shibrowski said that thoughts of the shutout started creeping into his head after Fasching’s goal, but that he quickly tried to forget about it.
Huggins also played well for the Mavericks and kept the team in the game until the two quick Minnesota goals late in the third.
“Cole did a good job again,” Minnesota State coach Mike Hastings said, adding that the game plan was for the team to play more aggressively in front of Huggins. “I thought we were more in the game, we had more opportunities and we limited their opportunities early.”
There is a possibility of the Gophers and Mavericks meeting again this season at the North Star College Cup, which will be held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., in January.