(Video courtesy of GopherGridiron.com)
The Minnesota football team held its pro day this morning at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex. Representatives from 13 NFL teams were in the Twin Cities to watch the former Gophers workout.
Seniors from last year's team Michael Carter, Keanon Cooper, MarQueis Gray, Brandon Green, John Rabe, Mike Rallis, Spencer Reeves, Troy Stoudermire and Jordan Wettstein joined former Gophers and players from smaller schools in the workout.
The Gophers defeated the Pioneers 5-1 tonight.
Just a night after getting shutout for the first time in nearly two years, the Gophers responded by scoring five goals in defeating the Denver Pioneers. The win means Minnesota has not lost a weekend series all year. The win also ended a three-game losing streak to the Pioneers. The offense came alive in the third period. Nick Bjugstad's power-play goal kicked off a four-goal rush for the Gophers in the final frame. Adam Wilcox wrapped up a spectacular weekend by making 31 saves in net.
Second Period Ignites the Crowd
Despite 15 shots in the first period, the Gophers trailed by a goal heading into the second period. Zach Budish scored the equalizer for Minnesota 9:03 into the second period. The goal was of the greasy variety. Zach continued to whack at the puck on the edge of the crease while skaters from both sides and Denver goalie Sam Brittain were sprawled out on the ice. Zach was finally able to push the puck over the line. In the closing moments of the period, both teams had great chances to take the lead. Kyle Rau broke in all alone, but was denied by Brittain. At the other end of the ice, Wilcox made multiple 10-bell saves on breakaways. With all the action on the ice, the crowd reached a decibel level normally reserved for North Dakota games.
Power Back On Just In Time
Minnesota came into the weekend with the best power play in the country. However, last night the power play went dark. In five tries, the Gophers generated very little offense and gave up top-notch opportunities with the extra skater. Tonight, they converted only once in four opportunities, but It came at a critical time. Erik Haula set Nick Bjugstad up on a tee to blast home what would be the game-winning goal from the left circle 9:52 into the period. Power play success will be critical to the Gophers this postseason.
Third Period Worth the Wait
Minnesota generated just 10 shots in the third period, but four of them found the back of the net. Goals from Bjugstad, Holl, Warning, and an empty-netter from Budish made the final score look rather comfortable. Holl scored his second goal of the season. Warning showed great effort and speed all night. He ended the night with a +2 rating and two points. He also hit the pipe on another scoring chance. Erik Haula also had a strong night, posting three assists to earn the number-one star.
Seth Helgeson played his last regular-season game for the Maroon & Gold at Mariucci Arena tonight. There was a ceremony to honor Helgeson, the team's only senior, before the game. He collected an assist on Zach Budish's second goal tonight. In his four years in Minneapolis, Helgeson was rarely found on the score sheet, but his impact is certaintly felt by his teammates. Seth is admired for his toughness and character off the ice. Coach Lucia said earlier this week, "When you do not notice him, he is at his best." His point tonight was an added bonus. Helgeson has played in 144 games to this point for the Gophers.
Written By Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock
On Saturday, March 2nd, the Gophers will conclude the home schedule against Penn State at Williams Arena. In preparation for their only meeting with Penn State during the regular season, Gophersports.com' s beat writer Jeff Fett takes a look at the Nittany Lions.
Head Coach: Patrick Chambers
This Year's Big 10 Record: 1-14
The Gophers hope to capitalize on Tuesday's dramatic win over No. 1 Indiana during Senior Day on Saturday.
Top 5 Leading Scorers: D.J. Newbill-15.8 ppg, Jermaine Marshall-15.0 ppg, Sasa Borovnjak-6.9 ppg, Ross Travis-6.5 ppg, Brandon Taylor-5.7 ppg.
Top 5 Leading Rebounders: Ross Travis-7.2 rpg, D.J. Newbill-5.6 rpg, Jermaine Marshall-4.5 rpg, Brandon Taylor-3.5 rpg, Sasa Borovnjak-3.4 rpg.
Notable wins: Michigan, Providence, Bucknell, Army
Penn State has had its struggles, but a win over no. 4 ranked Michigan may have this team finally turning the corner. Head Coach Patrick Chambers has had a tough time in the Big Ten in his second season. At one point, Penn State lost 18 straight conference games dating back to last season, but the Nittany Lions will be coming in with some confidence after the first Big Ten win of the season.
Penn State suffered a big blow just a few games into its season. All Big Ten point guard Tim Frazier ruptured his Achilles tendon in its loss to Akron. He's out for the year. He led Penn State last season in all of the major categories. He is a "Mr. Do Everything" for the Nittany Lions and is obviously missed.
Fortunately for Penn State, the backcourt is still their strength, even without Frazier. Sophomore D.J. Newbill, a transfer from Southern Miss has stepped up in his absence and is leading the team in scoring and second in rebounds. Junior Jermaine Marshall has also upped his game and provided much needed leadership on the court.
In a tough Big Ten conference where there are plenty of big men to throw the basketball to, that's where Penn State needs help. The tallest player playing consistent minutes is 6'9" junior Sasa Borovnjak. He's averaging six points and three rebounds a game. Chaska native Ross Travis leads this team in rebounding at 7.2 boards per game.
Penn State has had its struggles this season, but a few more wins to end the year could build some confidence as the Nittany Lions look toward next season.
Many Gopher Basketball fans are still on Cloud Nine after the Gophers' incredible upset of No. 1-ranked Indiana Tuesday at the Barn, Minnesota's first victory over a No. 1 team since 1989 (Illinois).
Gopher head coach Tubby Smith and his staff are busy preparing for Saturday's home final vs. Penn State, but Coach has taken some time to address the local media over the past couple of days to reflect on the victory. Above, GopherSports.com has exclusive video of Coach's post game address to his players in the locker room directly following the game -- it's not quite as hip-shaking as his post-Wisconsin speech, but still worth watching!
Coach also spoke with the media during a special availability on Wednesday. Watch highlights from that interview below:
In addition, the Big Ten Network was kind enough to share with us Coach Smith's post game on-court interview with Ann Carroll directly following the win. Take a look below:
The Gophers are hard at work preparing for Senior Day on Saturday, when they end their home season against the Penn State Nittany Lions (tickets available by clicking here). PSU pulled off a court-storming upset of their own Wednesday against No. 4 Michigan.
The Gophers men's hockey team met with the media Wednesday afternoon ahead of their last series at Mariucci Arena of the regular season. Minnesota enters the weekend two points behind St. Cloud State for the top spot in the WCHA with four games to go.
This weeks opponent, the Denver Pioneers, will be just as hungry as the Gophers. Denver sits in a tie for the final home-ice position for the WCHA playoffs. The Pioneers have given the Gophers fits over the years, including last season's sweep at Magness Arena.
"We have had our issues scoring goals. They are always good defensively, so we have to do a better job of getting second-chance opportunities and do a better job of getting traffic in front of the goaltender," head coach Don Lucia said.
Saturday is Senior Night at Mariucci Arena. Seth Helgeson is the lone senior on this year's team, meaning he will be the only player out on the ice for the pregame ceremony, "It is going to be odd, but the flower budget is going to be down and it probably will only take 30 seconds, so it will not be a distraction to the guys," Helgeson said.
Helgeson reflected on his four years playing for Minnesota, "I wish I could be here another four years. It is nice being here for all four years. I have had a great group of guys the last four years. It has been awesome."
Helgeson is a steady player for the Maroon & Gold. His numbers are not flashy, but his physical presence on the ice and character off the ice is not missed by coaches and teammates. Here is a sampling of what they had to say about Helgeson.
Coach Lucia --"Seth has done a good job. He is great with community service, he does well in school, and he is a guy who is an anchor (on the blue line.) When you do not notice him, he is at his best."
Nate Schmidt - "Seth is a staple on our team. Off the rink, he is a great guy and teammate. Definitely a guy full of character. When he gets to the rink, he is all business. He is one of those rare guys that can flip a switch and be totally dialed in around the rink, which is really helpful for our young defensemen."
Ben Marshall -- "I have been his (defensive) partner this whole year. He is really stable. He lets me do anything out there on the ice. I like to be offensive, and he understands that. When I mess up, he is always back there to help out."
-Written by University of Minnesota student intern Josh Brennock
It was one of the most memorable games in recent Gopher basketball history -- Tubby Smith's squad took down No. 1-ranked Indiana last night in dramatic fashion, and it was followed by an epic court storming by the Maroon and Gold faithful at the Barn, all in front of a national TV audience on ESPN.
GopherSports.com is collecting links, videos, Tweets and more on last night's epic win! Be sure to watch the "super slow-mo" montage we put together above, and check out these as well:
- Of course, you have to watch the highlights from the game first (GopherSports.com):
- Mbakwe's epic block of Cody Zeller (ESPN):
- TV call of court storming (ESPN):
Gophers get a major major W 4 their CONFIDENCE which has been shattered - should be High now! #GONZAGA-- Dick Vitale (@DickieV) February 27, 2013
Congrats to Coach Tubby Smith and the Gopher BB team on defeatingNo. 1 ranked Indiana. Great job!-- Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) February 27, 2013
-And finally, one of our favorite photos of the night via ESPN's Mike Tirico on Twitter