Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 12/30/12
MINNEAPOLIS Standing just 5-foot-7, Ryan Reilly is the smallest member of the Gophers men's hockey team. On Saturday, though, the Minnesota freshman made a big impact in the Gophers' 4-0 win over Air Force. Reilly netted the first goal of his college career, scoring 5:34 into the second period to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead. The goal came in Reilly's sixth career game as the freshman forward has had to battle for ice time this season. He made the most of his ice time Saturday and possibly earned more of it after his impressive performance. "He hasn't played in a while. We wanted to get him back in tonight to see how he would do," said Gophers coach Don Lucia. "He answered the bell. When a guy plays like that, then he deserves to keep playing." With the Gophers up 1-0 in the second period, Reilly and Minnesota's fourth line battled for the puck in the Air Force end. When sophomore Christian Isackson found Reilly cutting to the net, Reilly buried the centering pass to beat Falcons goalie Jason Torf. "It was a great play from that line. They went to the net for a nice, quick shot," said Lucia said. "I thought that was (Reilly's) best game he's played. . . . I thought the line played well with Isackson and Justin (Holl), who almost scored in the first period as well. So we had good play throughout our lineup tonight." Reilly came to Minnesota as one of three brothers on the team. He and his twin brother, Connor, graduated from Holy Angels, while older brother Mike spent time at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Faribault. Connor has yet to play for the Gophers, however, as he suffered a season-ending knee injury before the year began. Meanwhile, older brother Mike, a draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets, has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 17 games for the Gophers. He wasn't at Mariucci Arena to see his younger brother's first goal, though, as he's currently playing for Team USA at the World Juniors tournament in Russia. For one night, at least, Ryan was the star Reilly in the Minnesota lineup. "It felt really good," Reilly said of his goal. "Isackson made a great play down low and fed me. Luckily, I was there and put it away." Reilly's parents, Mike, Sr., and Lisa, were at Mariucci to see Ryan's first goal as a Gopher. The Reilly family didn't make the trip to Russia to watch Mike represent the United States in the World Juniors, so they were part of the 10,113 in attendance Saturday to see Reilly help Minnesota beat Air Force. Across the globe, Mike Reilly and Team USA will play Canada at 3 a.m. Sunday morning in one of the most highly anticipated games of the tournament. Will Ryan be up early to watch his brother? "I don't think so," he said. "Maybe my brother and my parents will, but I wish him luck in his games." Ryan Reilly and his Gophers teammates will need their rest after Saturday's win. Minnesota will now face Boston College on Sunday in the final game of the Mariucci Classic. The Eagles are the defending national champions -- knocking out Minnesota in last year's Frozen Four in the process -- and are currently ranked No. 1 in college hockey. Lucia said Reilly will be in the lineup again Sunday, just his seventh game of the season. After his strong play Saturday, he showed he earned it. "I knew this was my chance to play well. It felt good getting a goal," Reilly said. "I definitely feel more comfortable, just using my speed and quickness rather than my strength because I know I'm not the biggest guy. But I have a big heart and I'm not going to quit." Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Chris Paul ‘despises’ Doc Rivers, had issues with treatment of son Austin

Report: Jimmy Butler recruiting Kyle Lowry to the Timberwolves

WATCH: Tim Tebow didn't waste any time homering after promotion

Nolan Arenado throws out runner from seated position

NFL fans in Florida seem to like Tom Brady more than any of their three teams’ players

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mayweather-McGregor fight is reportedly seeking a $10 million title sponsor

Terry Francona wearing heart monitor in case of another 'episode'

Albert Almora denies flipping off President Donald Trump during White House visit

Blazers post hilarious tweets after acquiring cash from Rockets

Chip Kelly defends Kaepernick: He was not a distraction

Steve Smith faces suspension should he unretire

The 'You get a steal! You get a steal! Everybody gets a steal!' quiz

Rewriting the Hall of Fame rubric for today's pitchers

Top NBA free agents available

Box Score 6/28: New York loses its zen

Although you have seen this start before, this season is no sequel for the Dodgers

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

Who won Wimbledon the year you were born?

Box Score 6/27: Monday is for all sorts of ballers

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'You get a steal! You get a steal! Everybody gets a steal!' quiz

Rewriting the Hall of Fame rubric for today's pitchers

2017 is not another disappointing sequel for the Dodgers

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker