They aren’t typical names you see in a Minnesota box score, at least not in the scoring summary. But when their top goal producer isn’t producing, names like Jake Parenteau, Seth Helgeson and Nico Sacchetti will start to pop up.
The trio, which scored a total of eight goals coming into Saturday’s game against Boston University, notched Minnesota’s second, third and fifth goals to lift the Gophers over the Terriers 7-3 in the West Regional semifinals at the Xcel Energy Center.
“We try to use our depth up front and in the back,” Sacchetti said. “As you saw, our blue line got some really important goals for us tonight. It’s a team game. When someone doesn’t score that you expect to, you have to have secondary scoring.”
Kyle Rau, who is third on the team in goals scored, gave the Gophers a 1-0 lead six minutes into the game, but it was the secondary scoring that followed that carried Minnesota.
Jake Parenteau scored on a shot from the high slot that beat BU goaltender Kieran Millan high to the glove side. Helgeson scored on a wrist shot that also beat Millan from between the circles.
“I gathered the puck and I just shot,” Helgeson said. “I think my eyes were closed. I was just trying to shoot and not get blocked.”
Sacchetti’s goal gave the Gophers a two-goal lead with 11:52 remaining. The senior has been a healthy scratch for much of the season, seeing action in only 21 games coming in with three goals and no assists.
Saturday, he skated in, put a move on Millan, and finished through the five hole.
“The puck was in their feet and I just came by and I had already picked up a little head of steam,” Sacchetti said. “I just picked it out of the pile and fought through one guy. I was looking for Tommy [Serratore] back door, but last minute, I decided to take it to the net and go five hole.”
Added Jake Hansen, who scored the eventual game winner in the second period and an empty netter in the third: “Nico’s goal was so huge for us. It swung the momentum in our favor.”
Nick Bjugstad, who once led the nation in goals scored, has battled an upper-body injury since a Feb. 25 game at Nebraska-Omaha and had scored just one goal since then going into Saturday. The injury prevents him from going into the scoring areas in which he used to thrive.
But Bjugstad’s scoring drought goes back further. He has four goals since the start of February and his first shot on goal Saturday came on a backhand wraparound attempt with five minutes left in the game that Millan kept out with his leg pad.
Bjugstad scored Minnesota’s seventh goal, an empty netter, and he sits at 25 goals for the season. That creates a need for secondary scoring, and that’s what the Gophers got.