October 2011 Archives

Wisconsin Game Time to Be Determined by Monday

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The Gophers' Nov. 12 match-up with the Wisconsin Badgers has been placed on ESPN/ABC's "ready list," meaning that the game time and network will be determined after this weekend's games, the Big Ten Conference announced Monday.

The Gophers-Badgers game time could be announced as soon as Saturday night, but announcement will come Monday morning (Nov. 7) at the latest.

Other games on the "ready list" are:

Michigan State at Iowa
Michigan at Illinois
Wisconsin at Minnesota
Ohio State at Purdue
Nebraska at Penn State

Two of the five games will be produced and distributed by ESPN, ESPN2, or possibly ESPNU, at 11 a.m. CST. One of the five games will be an ABC telecast at 2:30 p.m. CST. The other two games will be produced and distributed by BTN, with one game scheduled for 11 a.m. CST and the other game at 2:30 CST.

GopherSports.com will announce the Nov. 12 game time as soon as it is determined.

Gophers In the Pros - Week Eight

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Minnesota Viking Marcus Sherels was impressive in the Vikings' win Sunday over Carolina. The cornerback/punt returner added another role as he filled in for Percy Harvin in the kickoff return role.

Although he has little experience returning kickoffs, that was no obstacle for the former Gopher. Sherels started the game off with an explosive 78-yard return, which set up the offense for a short field goal to take the early lead.

"He blows my mind sometimes with some of the things that he does," Coach Leslie Frazier said of Sherels to the Boston Herald.

Sherels also recorded two solo tackles in the Vikings' 24-21 win over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.

Here's a look at the performance of other Gophers in the National Football League and the Canadian Football League:

  • Broncos' wide receiver Eric Decker recorded six receptions for 72 yards and one touchdown in Denver's 45-10 loss to the Detroit Lions.
  • Safety Dominique Barber is on the Houston Texans' injured reserve list with a knee injury. The Texans beat the winless Colts 27-10.
  • Logan Payne, wide receiver for the New York Jets, is on injured reserve while he recovers from wrist surgery. The Jets had a bye this week.
  • Chicago Bears' running back Marion Barber and tight end Matt Spaeth also had a bye this week. They face the Philadelphia Eagles next Monday night.
  • In addition to those who were on active rosters, three former Gopher players spent week eight of the NFL season on the practice squad for their respective teams. Offensive lineman Dominic Alford practices with the Cleveland Browns, cornerback Traye Simmons is with the San Diego Chargers, and last year's quarterback Adam Weber practices for the Denver Broncos.
  • In the CFL, wide receiver Arland Bruce had six receptions for 70 yards and one touchdown in the BC Lions' victory on Saturday. Ernie Wheelwright, wide receiver for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, remains on the nine-game injured list with an injured knee.

Daily Clips - Oct. 31

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Gophers finish October 7-1-0 (Star Tribune)

Minnesota 4-0-0 in WCHA play (Minnesota Daily) and is in a good spot in the league standings (SBNation)

Seawolves swept away (Anchorage Daily News)

Gophers work past Seawolves (FSN)

Maroon and Gold complete sweep (Pioneer Press)

Minnesota survives Alaska (Examiner.com)

North Dakota comes to town this weekend (Star Tribune)

Blog: Low Round of the Season

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After the first round of the Alamo invitational I am pleased.

We shot our low round of the season 301. All the players shot in the 70's for the first time this season. Finally we are seeing some results of our hard work this fall.

Our freshman Carmen Laguna is tied for ninth place with an even-par round of 72. Let's send the Gophers some good vibes for the next two days.

These ladies are hard workers and wonderful individuals.

More to come.
Alone at the Top
After a tie between Denver and Michigan Tech and a Wisconsin win over Nebraska-Omaha, the Gophers had a chance to claim sole possession of first place with a win over Alaska Anchorage. They did just that, improving to 4-0-0 in the WCHA and 7-1-0 overall, and now lead Michigan Tech (3-2-1 in conference play) by one point heading into next weekend.

Third-ranked Colorado College (2-0-0) is the only other WCHA team with a perfect conference record.

Power Play Denied...
Though the Gophers' top power-play unit of Erik Haula, Nick Bjugstad, Kyle Rau, Jake Hansen, and Nate Schmidt moved the puck well on Saturday and came up with several scoring chances, the nation's No. 1 PP failed to score in a game for the first time on Saturday on three chances. Minnesota is still 8-for-15 (53.3 percent) on the man advantage in WCHA play and is clicking at a 35.9 percent rate (14-for-39) overall.

...But Shorthanded Success
The Gophers killed three of four UAA power plays in their 3-1 sweep-clinching win and ended up outscoring the Seawolves man-advantage on the night.

Nate Condon scored Minnesota's first shorthanded goal of the season 4:03 into the second period on Saturday. Condon, one of the team's top killers, has always been effective at frustrating opponent power plays with his quickness as a part of a four-man box, but this time he used his speed to split two UAA defensemen off a rebound and score the eventual game-winner.

Kyle Rau's long empty net goal secured the 3-1 win with 43 seconds left and came with four seconds left on a penalty kill. The Gophers scored their first two shorthanded goals of 2010-11 in the same series last year, as well, when Erik Haula and Cade Fairchild each tallied a SHG in a road sweep over Colorado College.

There isn't a player in Division I hockey has multiple shorthanded goals so far this season. Minnesota's penalty kill success rate is now at 87.5 percent (35 of 40).

Hot Start
The Gophers have been a fast-starting team this season. Minnesota has scored the first goal of the game in seven of their eight games, leading to seven wins. On Saturday, UM unleashed 20 shots in the first 20 minutes, outshooting Alaska Anchorage 20-4 in the period to take a 1-0 lead into the intermission. The 16-shot advantage in the opening stanza was the most the Gophers have outshot an opponent by in any period this year. The 20-shot period came a night after Minnesota finished the game with 21 total shots on goal against the Seawolves. The Gophers finished the night with 31 shot on target.

Zach Budish: Seawolf Killer
Top-line forward Zach Budish continued his success against Alaska Anchorage this weekend. The redshirt sophomore notched two assists on Friday and opened the scoring on Saturday. Budish now has four goals and five assists in six games against UAA. He did not play in the Gophers' lone win or three losses against Alaska Anchorage last year, missing most of the season due to injury after scoring six points in seven games. Budish is up to nine points (three goals, six assists) on the 2011-12 season through eight games.

Inexperienced Gophers Play Pivotal Role

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By Justine Buerkle
Athletic Communications Student Assistant


The Golden Gophers won their rivalry game against Iowa for the second consecutive year, and they did it with some help from unlikely sources. A walk-on with only two previous kickoffs, a never-before-used offensive lineman, and a true freshman wide receiver all played a role in Minnesota's 22-21 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Go Gophers! Crawford-Tufts
Go Gophers!
Devin Crawford-Tufts was one of several inexperienced Gophers to have big days against Iowa.
Go Gophers!

Devin Crawford-Tufts only had two receptions in today's game, but they were big ones leading to points for Minnesota. In the second quarter, the freshman hauled in a pass from MarQueis Gray for a 61-yard gain that put the Gophers on the 12-yard line. They went on to score a touchdown and tie the game at seven that drive. Later on Crawford-Tufts made a diving catch for 39 yards, putting his yardage total at an even 100, more than his previous season total of 43 yards. Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz challenged the call, but review showed that Crawford-Tufts kept his hand under the ball as he hit the ground.

"I knew I caught the ball," Crawford-Tufts said. "I was just hoping that they saw it, too, and they made the right call."

Later that drive, Jordan Wettstein made his first career field goal to bring the Gophers within four. It was a 28-yard kick. The walk-on kicker had previously appeared in the North Dakota State game this year, kicking off twice. Today, a muscle strain sidelined Chris Hawthorne and gave Wettstein a chance to step up. He made a field goal and an extra point, and kicked off four times with an average of 61.5 yards per kick. Perhaps most importantly, he executed the onside kick that gave the Gophers the ball back and allowed them to take the lead.

 "You know he's got a great feeling," head coach Jerry Kill said. "His feet probably haven't hit the ground yet. He did a great job kicking field goals. He kicked off well. It's a tremendous story."

 Another walk-on, Caleb Bak, made his Gopher debut in today's game. The redshirt freshman helped out a Gopher offensive line that has been troubled by injury throughout the season.

"Caleb Bak, he wasn't even practicing in the spring," Kill said. "He had all the reason in the world to say, 'I'm tired of this old man,' but he's hung in there."

Some of the "big names" on the team performed well for the Gophers, too. Gray passed for 193 yards and ran for 62, with one touchdown each passing and rushing. Duane Bennett rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown. But Minnesota would not have been able to keep Floyd of Rosedale without the contributions of Crawford-Tufts, Wettstein, and Bak.

"Some of those kids that were put into those duties, those things that happened to them today, they'll take on for the rest of their life," Kill said. "It'll make them better men, because they stayed with something and they had success. That's what this game, ultimately, is all about."

Kim-Possible

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By Mike Molde
Minnesota Athletic Communications Assistant

There are few, if any, players on Minnesota's roster who play the game with more heart and desire than senior Kim Royston.
Go Gophers! Roytson
Go Gophers!
Senior Kim Royston came up big in several spots during Saturday's win.
Go Gophers!

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound safety from Minneapolis, Minn. (CretinDerham Hall) suffered a gruesome compound fracture of his lower leg during 2010 spring practice, and had been attempting to make a return to the field last season before he suffered a setback in his recovery.

This season, Royston wasn't even supposed to be on the Gophers' roster, yet he was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, and he's taken advantage of that extra opportunity by putting up amazing numbers week after week.

On Saturday, Royston helped the Gophers retain possession of the Floyd of Rosedale trophy by recording a career-high 16 tackles (eight solo) in Minnesota's 22-21 win versus Iowa. It was the sixth time in eight games this season that he's had double-digit tackles.

"My shoulder's a little tweaked, but that's the game of football," Royston said. "I'll be in good and early at rehab icing it. But, hey, I'm a safety, and you've got to make the plays."

Make plays, he did. Royston also recovered a crucial onside kick that led to MarQueis Gray's game-winning three-yard touchdown run with 2:48 remaining in the victory, head coach Jerry Kill's first in Big Ten play.

"We've been practicing that ever since fall camp," Royston said of the onside kick. "I knew there was going to be a moment where I had to make the play. There were a couple times throughout the year when we almost called it, but when coach told me, I had no doubt that I was going to get the ball. Big players have got to stand up in big games."

Royston's been coming up big for the Gophers all season long. A full year-and-a-half after that injury, Royston returned to the field in this season's opening game at USC. He led the Gophers with 10 tackles versus the Trojans, and leads the team with 77 tackles (46 solo) this year.

Royston's previous career-high tackles total was the 15 he recorded in the 14-13 loss to Iowa State in the 2009 Insight Bowl. Just months later, Royston's career was put in jeopardy when he broke his leg.

But his hard work and persistence to return to the field for the Gophers has paid off, and on this day, his effort was instrumental in helping Minnesota walk off the field at TCF Bank Stadium with Floyd of Rosedale proudly held high.

Minnesota Notes For Oct. 29 at UAA

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10.29.11 at Alaska Anchorage.pdf

About Last Night

Minnesota bounced backed from its only defeat of the season with a 5-0 win last night at Alaska Anchorage. After letting a 3-1 lead slip away last Sunday in a home defeat to Vermont, the Gophers got two goals from sophomore Erik Haula and 22 saves from Kent Patterson to improve to 6-1-0 on the year. Haula bookended the Gopher scoring, while Nick Bjugstad, Mark Alt and Justin Holl also tallied for Minnesota.

Another Shutout

Goaltender Kent Patterson entered the season with zero career shutouts. He now has four in seven games this year. Patterson began the year with three straight home blankings of Sacred Heart (twice) and Vermont. He picked up his first road shutout last night making 22 saves at Alaska Anchorage. Through seven games, the senior is 6-1-0 and has a 1.85 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage. One more shutout would tie Patterson with Robb Stauber for the most in one season. Stauber posted five shutouts during the 1987-88 season. Patterson is currently tied with Kellen Briggs (2003-04, 2004-05) and Jim Mattson (1952-53) for second in program history with four shutouts in a season.

Something Special
The Gophers, who had the top-ranked power play going into Friday, continued to impress, going 2-of-3 with the man advantage with goals by Nick Bjugstad and Erik Haula. Minnesota was also successful all three times it was shorthanded (all in the third period). After giving its opponent a season-high seven power-play chances in last Sunday's loss to Vermont, the Gophers did not commit a penalty in the first two periods of play last night. Minnesota's penalty kill rate is now up to 88.9 percent (32-of-36) and the power play has converted on 14-of-36 chances (38.9 percent).

Good Place To Be
Sophomore Erik Haula leads the nation with 17 points. He has seven goals (tied for third in the nation) and 10 assists (tied for second nationally with teammate Nate Schmidt). Haula has three more points than any other player and his 2.43 points-per-game is tops in the nation. Jake Hansen, Kyle Rau, Nick Bjugstad and Schmidt all rank fifth in the nation with 11 points. Rau leads all freshmen nationally with in points with 11 (two more than anyone else, while Schmidt leads all defensemen in the country with 11 points (two more than anyone else). Kent Patterson's four shutouts are the most in the nation (two more than anyone else).

Back In The Win Column
Minnesota defeated Alaska Anchorage 5-1 in its first of four meetings last year, but lost its final three meetings with the Seawolves, averaging just one goal per game in that span and was eliminated on home ice at the current Mariucci Arena for the first time in March. After a 230-day wait, the Gophers ended their losing streak against UAA in Anchorage on Friday night. Minnesota is now 14-3-2 against the Seawolves in Alaska under coach Don Lucia.

Streak Finally Snapped
After winning three straight games against the Gophers, Minnesota finally solved Alaska Anchorage goaltender Chris Kamal. Kamal's 86 minute, 43 second scoreless run against Minnesota was ended at 18:01 of the first when Erik Haula scored to give UM the lead. Kamal allowed two more goals on Friday than he did in all three of his starts combined (two shutouts and a 4-3 win) against the Gophers last year.

The Battle for Floyd: Video Roundup

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a video worth? We're big fans of using the medium of video to tell a story or convey an idea - sometimes it can say things that words simply can't.

We've got a couple videos we wanted to share before today's game with Iowa -- above, is a short "pump up" video we made to get you excited for the battle for Floyd of Rosedale. Tough not to get excited after watching!

Below, is a short video message Coach Kill recorded to tell students about "Student Appreciation Day" taking place at TCF Bank Stadium before today's game. Coach Kill and his wife Rebecca wanted to say "thanks" to all the great U of M students that have supported the Gophers during this tough year.

Daily Clips - Oct. 29

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Game recap, analysis, audio interviews, box score and more about Minnesota's 5-0 win (GopherSports.com)

Kent Patterson solid again (ESPN 1500 Twin Cities) as he earned his fourth shutout of the season (SBNation)

Gophers back to winning ways (Gopher Puck Live)

Power play was clicking again in Minnesota's 5-0 win (Star Tribune)

View from media who cover the Seawolves about last night's game (Anchorage Daily News)

Second line is putting up points (Star Tribune)

Gophers impressive in win (Examiner.com)

Is Blake Wheeler ready to break out? (London Free Press)

Phil Kessel gets a day off to rest up (Toronto Sun)

Jacob Cepis with a goal for his new team (Idaho Press-Tribune)
First Place
With the 5-0 win over Alaska-Anchorage tonight, the Gophers kept pace with Nebraska-Omaha and Michigan Tech to remain tied for first place in the WCHA with a 3-0-0 WCHA record. UNO is also 3-0-0 and MTU is 3-2 after being swept by Bemidji State last weekend. Colorado College is the only other team with an unblemished conference record at 2-0-0. So far in seven total WCHA conference series this year, there have been no ties and no splits. The Gophers will look to continue that trend with a win on Saturday. 

Gophers Get Revenge
Minnesota trounced Alaska Anchorage 5-1 in their first of four meeting last year, but lost its final three meetings with the Seawolves, averaging just one goal per game in that span and were eliminated on home ice at the current Mariucci Arena for the first time in March. After a 230-day wait, the Gophers ended their losing streak against UAA in Anchorage on Friday night. UM is now 14-3-2 against the Seawolves in Alaska under coach Don Lucia. 

Perfect Patterson; Haula's Run Continues
Patterson added to an impressive 2011-12 resume with his nation-leading fourth shutout of the season in seven games on Friday. The 22-save blanking of Alaska Anchorage was his first-ever road shutout. No goalie in the country had more than six shutouts last year.

Erik Haula, who leads the nation in points with 17, continued his season-opening point streak in the win, scoring twice to up his goal total to seven and adding his tenth assist. Haula has at least one point in each of the team's first seven games.

Special Teams
The Gophers, who had the top-ranked power play going into Friday, continued to impress, going two-for-three with goals on the man advantage with goals by Nick Bjugstad and Erik Haula. Minnesota also killed all three penalties it took, all in the third period. After giving its opponent a season-high seven power play chances in last Sunday's loss to Vermont, UM did not commit a penalty in the first two periods of play. The Gophers penalty kill rate is now up to 88.9 percent (32 of 36) and the power play has converted on 14 of its 36 chances (38.9 percent). 

Kamal Streak Snapped
After haunting the Gophers in three games as a freshman, Chris Kamal was neutralized by the Gophers on Friday. Kamal's 86 minute, 43 second scoreless run against Minnesota was ended at 18:01 of the first when Erik Haula scored to give UM the lead. Kamal allowed two more goals on Friday than he did in all three of his starts combined (two shutouts and a 4-3 win) against the Gophers last year. 

Guest Entry: "Legacy"

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Occasionally here on the official Golden Gopher Football Blog, we'll be featuring guest contributors, including Mike Ricci, editor and webmaster of the football program's official site -- GoldenGopherGridiron.com.

Saturday, Iowa comes back to TCF Bank Stadium to attempt to reclaim Floyd of Rosedale. In the season finale last season, in what was no doubt the most dramatic game in stadium history, the Gophers shocked the then 25th ranked Iowa Hawkeyes 27-24.

Now, earlier this week, I attempted to interview Floyd and get his thoughts on the past 11 months. However, I ran into some issues with his publicist and the interview never made it to fruition (although I can tell you that Floyd was excited at the possibility of remaining in Minnesota--very excited).

So the next best thing was trying to find a way to sum up the importance of the Minnesota-Iowa rivalry. I began scanning through the University of Minnesota photo archives and noticed an extensive collection of pictures from the last ten or eleven years. The idea became a way to honor "those who came before" and took part in this storied rivalry.

In the end, a video that I think is both exciting and quite a bit different than anything we've featured on GoldenGopherGridiron.com before. Our look back at the last decade or so of this rivalry.

B1G Mobile Tour Comes to Minnesota

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Go Gophers! B1G
Go Gophers!
The Big Ten Championship Trophy poses with Floyd of Rosedale.

The Big Ten's Honoring Legends. Building Leaders. Mobile Tour will visit the 12 conference campuses in 12 weeks leading up to the Big Ten Football Championship Game on Dec. 3 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

One of our athletics student interns, Kate Garcia, will be blogging and Tweeting as the tour makes its way through town. Be sure to follow her blog at www.bigten.org/blog/mobile-tour and on Twitter at @B1GMobileTour and her own account at @KateMarisa.

During its time in town, the Mobile Tour has already made several stops and has a few more in store; check out this Flickr album of the trophy at Gopher Football Weekly with Jerry Kill at Joe Senser's on Thursday and see the full schedule here:

Thursday, October 27
11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Joe Senser's in Roseville
Gopher Football Weekly with Jerry Kill

4 - 7 p.m.
University of Minnesota Recreation Center

Friday, October 28
6 - 7 p.m.
Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium
Women's Soccer Game

Saturday, October 29
11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. CT
TCF Bank Stadium
Adjacent to Gate E

5 - 6 p.m. CT
TCF Bank Stadium
Adjacent to Gate E

Be sure to check it out at the game on Saturday!

Hassan Mead's Wild Ride

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Today, RunningTimes.com published a wonderful story about senior All-American Hassan Mead and his road back to running for the Minnesota Golden Gopher Cross Country team. 

Over these last few months, I have had the privilege of working with Hassan doing different interviews and segments for gophersports.com . From what I have seen, he is very mature and respectful student-athlete. I have really enjoyed watching him compete this season and I am excited to see what he can do on Sunday at the Big Ten Championships. 

Below is the first couple paragraphs from the article. After that, there is a link of the entire story.


It was deja vu all over again at last month's Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis. Ditto at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Oct. 14. Prominent in the lead pack of both races, heading numerous All-Americans and a few recent high school standouts, strode a tall, lanky University of Minnesota athlete. While some up front looked uneasy and just might have been pushing the pace a bit too hard, this guy was obviously running well within himself. He was the real deal. And he was finally back after a prolonged absence.  

The sight was certainly familiar to many, because Hassan Mead is himself a three-time NCAA Division I cross country All-American. But no one had seen Mead racing cross-country for some 22 months, not since his 16th-place finish at the 2009 national meet. Those who had written him off have been sorely mistaken.

Please click the link below to read the full story about Hassan and his journey back to the top.

Uhl Recognized as Top 100 Newcomers

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University of Minnesota freshman Taylor Uhl was recognized by TopDrawerSoccer.com as one of the Top 100 freshman in the country on Friday. The Gopher forward was tabbed as the 36th freshman in the nation, and she is accompanied by eight other players from the Big Ten Conference.

Go Gophers! Taylor Uhl
Go Gophers!
Uhl has been named one of the Top 100 freshman in the NCAA.
Go Gophers!
The Eden Prairie, Minn. native has made a huge impact on the 2011 Golden Gopher squad as she leads the team in points (23), goals (10) and game-winning goals (4). Her 23 points this season rank her sixth all-time for a Minnesota freshman while her 10 goals rank her fourth all-time for a Gopher newcomer.

On Monday, Uhl was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for her four point (one goal, two assists) weekend in the Gophers' weekend split with Indiana and Purdue. It's the second time this year that Uhl has received the honor with the first coming on August 22, due to her hat trick performance against South Dakota State in the opening week of the season.

The player rankings released by TopDrawerSoccer.com are based on a formula which involved playing time, level of competition, productivity and feedback from coaches around the league. Texas A&M's Kelly Monogue received the nod as the No. 1 freshman while Stanford's Chioma Ubogagu and Virginia's Morgan Brian round out the Top 3.

Q&A: Somebody Call Me a Dochter-man

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Each week throughout the football season, I will interview a member of the media who covers the Gophers' opponent for that week. This week, we'll talk with an old friend of mine. Scott Dochterman covers the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and he was gracious enough to give us a few minutes to discuss Saturday's game.

GopherSports.com: What effect, if any, does Floyd of Rosedale's current residence in Minnesota have on this game?

Scott Dochterman:  Last year you could say Iowa's players showed little interest in playing Minnesota after a pair of heartbreaking back-to-back losses ended their goal of a Big Ten championship. Conversely, Minnesota's players were excited to play for the pig. That showed in Minnesota's 27-24 win. Minnesota possessing the Floyd of Rosedale has Iowa's full attention this year. Last year the game was an afterthought for the Hawkeyes.
 
GopherSports.com: How much have the Hawkeyes been talking about last year's game?

Scott Dochterman: Most of the players talked this week about how disappointed they were in their performance. Running back Marcus Coker said he had a sick feeling in his stomach when watching the Gophers rush the sideline for Floyd. To a man, they all remember the loss. That's somewhat unusual for a team that prides itself on looking forward, not backward.
 
GopherSports.com: Who/what has the Hawkeyes' attention this week as it pertains to Minnesota?

Scott Dochterman: Minnesota's ground attack, specifically MarQueis Gray, is a focal point for the Iowa defense. His athletic ability and frame make him hard to bring down, and Iowa uncharacteristically has struggled against and the run and especially against running quarterbacks.
 
GopherSports.com: The Hawkeye offense seems to be on a roll the last couple weeks. Why?

Scott Dochterman: Iowa has a balanced offensive attack. Quarterback James Vandenberg is accurate and the Hawkeyes boast perhaps their best-ever combination of wide receivers in Marvin McNutt and Keenan Davis. Iowa also has a veteran offensive line and a powerful running back in Coker. That balance has allowed Iowa's offense to be successful in moving the ball every game but one this year.
 
GopherSports.com: Who should Minnesota fans keep an eye on for this team? Anyone playing particularly well for Iowa?

Scott Dochterman: McNutt might rank as the best receiver in Iowa history. He now owns the school's all-time touchdown reception mark with 24 after a three-TD performance last week against Indiana. He's deceptively fast with three TDs of 80-plus yards in his career. He's tall at 6-foot-4 and athletic. He's hauled in some of Iowa's most memorable catches, and could become Iowa's all-time leader in receiving yardage by season's end.
 
GopherSports.com: Are there any position-vs.-position, or game-within-a-game battles that you're interested in this week?

Scott Dochterman: I'm interested in watching the play-by-play battle between Minnesota's offensive line and Iowa's defensive line. Iowa has struggled to stop the run (3.8 yards per carry) and generate a pass rush from its front four. Last year Minnesota was able to pound the ball at a much better Iowa defensive line, so I'm anxious to see if much has changed for either team.
 
GopherSports.com: How does Minnesota win this game?

Scott Dochterman: Force early Iowa turnovers and convert them into points. Hold on to the ball with long, sustaining drives and score on every red-zone opportunity. Take risks when applicable, such as the early onside kick last year. Play loose and with passion; that was the key last year.
 
GopherSports.com: How does Iowa win this game?

Scott Dochterman: On defense, stop the run and make Minnesota one-dimensional. Offensively, convert third downs and avoid turnovers. Iowa has much more to lose in this game, but Iowa shouldn't don't play like it.

-UM-

Daily Clips - Oct. 28

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Voice of UAA, Kurt Haider, scouts the Seawolves for us (GopherSports.com)

Alumni corner with Butsy Erickson (GopherSports.com)

Gophers talk special teams and Alaska (GopherSports.com)

Jake Hansen trying to become a complete player (USCHO.com)

Nate Schmidt excelling in his second year (Star Tribune)

Gophers looking for payback (Minnesota Daily) or a bounceback win in Alaska (FSN.com)

Q&A with Don Lucia (Pioneer Press). Two things with Erik Haula (Pioneer Press). On and on with Kent Patterson (Pioneer Press)

Hey, look, we are playing WCHA games again (Gopher Puck Live)

Bjugstad, Rau off to impressive starts (The Rat Trick)

One reason Phil Kessel is off to a hot start offensively is because of his defense (NHL.com)

Cade Fairchild is interviewed by his assistant coach (Journal Star)

Jacob Cepis is now an Idaho Steelhead (Idaho Press-Tribune)

Chris Chucko talks about stepping away from hockey (Burnaby Now)

The Broten brothers and Dr. George Nagobads were in South Dakota last night (Aberdeen News)

View From Alaska Anchorage

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Minnesota heads to Alaska this week for a WCHA first-round playoff rematch from last year against Alaska Anchorage. The Seawolves ended the Gophers season a year ago, winning two games at Mariucci Arena to advance to the WCHA Final Five. Alaska Anchorage is off to a 3-2-1 start this season and we talked with radio voice of the Seawolves Kurt Haider to learn more about this week's opponent.

GopherSports: Kurt, the Seawolves advanced to the WCHA Final Five last year after beating Minnesota. How is Alaska Anchorage looking this year?

Kurt Haider: The Seawolves, buoyed by last season's late success, have started the new season with a determination not to waste the momentum.  A tie with Clarkson followed by victories over St. Cloud State, Nebraska-Omaha and Mercyhurst have kick-started the season, with a realization that the heavy lifting is yet to come with the WCHA regular season.
Coming in to 2011-12, UAA knew that goaltending was going to be a position without too much worry.  Sophomores Rob Gunderson and Chris Kamal showed last season that they could handle the mental and physical rigors of the WCHA, so this season is a test to see if they can improve on their performances.

On defense, veterans Brad Gorham and Scott Warner anchor the effort.  Freshmen Derek Docken and Austin Coldwell have played full-time this season, and have played well.

Offensively, a question asked was how the Seawolves were going to replace Tommy Grant's goal scoring.  Early indications show multiple players will be counted on to contribute...the old "scoring by committee" approach.

GS: Who is one player that Gopher fans should pay attention to this weekend?

KH: If you have to pick one player to watch, that player might be Daniel Naslund.  Last season, Naslund improved gradually over the course of the season, so it was relatively quiet.  This season, he's thrown some unbelievable passes and has shown a quiet confidence when he's in the heat of battle around the goal.  His size and vision have made him a player to plan for.

Others to keep an eye on could include Matt Bailey, Jordan Kwas and Mickey Spencer.

GS: The Seawolves had success against Minnesota last year. What do they have to do this weekend to continue that success
?

KH: This match-up is intriguing because of what happened in last season's playoffs.  With UAA's unexpected two-game sweep at the Mariucci, I'd guess that the Gophers can hardly wait to get to the Sullivan to prove it was a fluke.  It wasn't, and that means UAA followers expect it can happen again.  The immediate stakes aren't nearly as high now, but rest assured both teams realize that these WCHA points in October will be huge when next March comes around.  The Seawolves can win if they play consistent, intelligent hockey.  They were able to neutralize St. Cloud's and Nebraska-Omaha's speed through the neutral zone, and countered effectively after turnovers.  Continued steady play from Gunderson and Kamal is a must.  

Blog: Gopher Basketball at Big Ten Media Day

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Read the a transcript of Tubby Smith's Q&A session at Big Ten Media Day

The 2011-12 season is officially upon us. The Gophers are less than a week away from opening their exhibition schedule against Bemidji State. The final stop prior to the season is always Big Ten Media Day, which was held Thursday in Chicago.

Head coach Tubby Smith, along with senior co-captions Trevor Mbakwe and Ralph Sampson III, represented the University of Minnesota at the event held at the Crowne Plaza-O'Hare. Coach Smith kicked off the event at 8:00 a.m. as the first coach to address the media.

The questions today seemed to be centered on the Gophers finish to the 2010-11 season and also about the expectations of the current back-court players. Minnesota will be without a pair of guards in Blake Hoffarber and Al Nolen that played a ton of games in Maroon & Gold but Coach Smith said recently and reiterated it in Chicago that he is very excited about the players he has as replacements.

Smith believes the backcourt will be strong even though two of the three players are new to the system. Maverick Ahanmisi gained valuable experience last season, Julian Welch has played at the Division I level and Andre Hollins comes in as a heralded freshman recruit. Another freshman, Joe Coleman, along with Austin Hollins and Chip Armelin will also see time in the backcourt.

Smith also believes that having experienced the streak last season will provide the team with motivation for the upcoming season. The Gophers did lose 10 of 11 down the stretch but many of the losses came after squandering leads late in the game. The squad didn't have that experience last year but the coaching staff is confident that the current roster is ready and poised to rebound. 

Of course the news of the day was that the Big Ten media placed Mbakwe on the Preseason All-Big Ten First Team. It is definitely an honor considering the amount of basketball the Big Ten scribes watch in a season and the amount of talent that exists in the conference. The official release can be found here.

Let's not forget that Sampson also has the ability to be a First Team All-Big Ten performer. He will be one of the best shot blockers in the conference & country and will bring his steady play of 10-plus points and five-plus rebounds. He has a chance to become just the fifth player to finish his Gopher career with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 150 blocks. I think everyone has heard of the other four - Kevin McHale, Randy Bruer, Mychal Thompson and Michael Bauer.

Golden Gophers Attend Big Ten Media Day

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Photo Gallery

Head women's basketball coach Pam Borton, along with senior captains Kiara Buford and Jackie Voigt, attended Big Ten Basketball Media Day Thursday after arriving in Chicago Wednesday night.

As soon as the trio arrived in the Windy City, Borton headed off with the rest of the Big Ten head coaches to Gibson's Steakhouse, while Burford and Voigt took the shuttle with their league conterparts to Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse for dinner and mingling.

Following a long day of classes, practice and traveling, it was time to hit the sheets to get a good night's rest for the events that were scheduled for Thursday morning.

Borton started media day off with a Big Ten Network interview, a photoshoot and a short chat with former Golden Gopher standout Emily Fox, who was working with the Big Ten Network. The head coach then headed upstairs for her press conference, which was streamed live on BTN.com.

While Borton had a short break, Buford and Voigt headed downstairs for their BTN photoshoot and then had the surprise of having Fox interview them for their Big Ten Network video shoot.

The trio ended Big Ten Media Day with one-on-one roundtable interviews in the ballroom, before hopping on the plane back to Minneapolis.

Wednesday Roundup: Power Play, Penalty Kill and Alaska

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Go Gophers! Jake Parenteau
Go Gophers!
Jake Parenteau played two seasons for the Alaska Avalanche in the NAHL.
Go Gophers!
The Gophers held their weekly media availability today at Mariucci Arena. Below are a few interesting things that came up when coach Don Lucia and players met with the media.

Power Up

One reason the Gophers are off to a 5-1-0 start is because of power play. The Gophers have the top-ranked power play in the nation, which is 12-of-33 (36.4%). Last year, Minnesota's power-play finished the year ranked No. 14, converting 33-of-158 opportunities (20.89%).

"We had a lot of young guys on the power play last year," said coach Don Lucia. "I think Nate Schmidt's done a nice job back at the blueline. I think Ben Marshall's done well. We have four forwards and one defenseman on both units, but we've also had a third unit with a couple defensemen on it, as well. We've worked on it a lot, and I think they're starting to develop some chemistry."

One of the biggest differences is the addition of sophomore defenseman Nate Schmidt, who played in only 13 games as a freshman. Schmidt leads all defensemen in the nation with nine points and ranks tied for third nationally in assists with eight. Seven of his points (1g-6a) have come on the power play.

"Our power play has been working really well together," said Schmidt. "We are moving the puck around pretty well and not one guy is holding onto it for that long of a time. When the puck does get to the net we are putting it in. Kyle Rau (four power-play goals) and Jake Hansen (one power-play goal) are real prominent around the net and like to score goals."

Killing Penalties

The Gophers ended last season near the bottom of the rankings in penalty killing. Minnesota's penalty kill ranked 53rd out of 58 teams at 77.4% (127-of-164), but through six games this season the unit has successfully killed off 29-of-33 opportunities (87.9%).  

"The guys have done a good job," said Lucia. "We had a lot of freshmen that did it last year and now they're sophomores. Kent Patterson has done a good job and it starts with your goalie. We're off to a good start in our specialty teams. That was an area we thought we had to improve upon this year and so far it's been a real bright spot for our team."

Sophomore Nate Condon, a regular on the penalty-killing unit, agrees with his head coach.

"Our penalty kill was not something we were proud of last year and needed improvement," said Condon. "I think coach Guentzel has done a great job with the unit this year and we have guys who are willing to work hard, get sticks in passing lanes, block shots and do anything possible to keep the puck out of our net. Our commitment as a unit has been better this year."

Long Road Trip

Most road trips do not involve nearly a six-hour flight and a three-hour time change, but that is what the Gophers will encounter this week when they head to Anchorage, Alaska for a pair of games against the Seawolves.

Minnesota, which has seven freshmen and 11 sophomores (not including redshirt sophomore Zach Budish) did not go to Alaska last year, so only seven players on the Gophers roster have made the trip to Anchorage before.

One of them is Budish, who went two years ago as a true freshman and had five points (2g-3a) in the series.

"It's a little different with the long flight and the three-hour time change," said Budish. "We get in tomorrow and will need to get a good sweat in when we get there and maybe run around the rink a couple of times and stretch. We have to get our legs moving to make sure we are ready to go on Friday. They are a good team and they beat us four of the last five times we have played."

One player who will be making his first trip to Alaska as a Gopher is sophomore Jake Parenteau. However, the defenseman is very familiar with where the team is headed as he played two years with the Alaska Avalanche of the NAHL. The Avalanche is based about 45 minutes away from Anchorage.

"It is a lot like here," said Parenteau. "It does get a little dark in the winter. Everyone thinks that it is dark all the time, but it is not quite like that. It is not like the movies. Everyone is pretty close up there and everyone knows everybody."

Parenteau said that snowmobiles are popular in Alaska, but the popularity of ice fishing is nothing compared to Minnesota. One thing that is different between Minnesota and Alaska? The wildlife.

"On the flight up there, if it is a nice day, we should be able to see Mount McKinley, which is the biggest mountain in North America so that is pretty cool to see," said Parenteau. "Also, moose up there are like deer here. You have to be careful when you drive that is for sure."
 
 

Alumni Corner: Bryan "Butsy" Erickson

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Go Gophers! Butsy Erickson
Go Gophers!
Bryan "Butsy" Erickson is fourth on Minnesota's all-time scoring list with 238 career points.
Go Gophers!
Bryan "Butsy" Erickson played hockey at Minnesota from 1979 to 1983 and finished his career as the Gophers' fourth all-time leading scorer with 238 points in 144 games. Erickson went on to play 351 NHL games as a member of the Washington Capitals, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Winnipeg Jets before retiring after the 1993-94 season. Erickson talked to GopherSports.com about his time at Minnesota as well as what he's doing now: 

GopherSports.com: What was your time like at Minnesota and what is your favorite memory from the old Mariucci Arena?


Bryan Erickson: I always felt like it was an honor and still feel that way about playing for the Gophers. I loved the anticipation before games and then the long walk up the stairs and running out on the ice. Band playing, people cheering. It was an awesome experience. Seems like yesterday.

GS: To what extent do you follow Gopher hockey today?

BE: I am still coaching high school hockey here in Roseau, so my winters are filled with that. I follow Gopher hockey in the papers.

GS: How do you think college hockey and the sport of hockey as a whole have changed since your playing days?

BE: I think college hockey has evolved no different then all of hockey. Everybody learns to play tighter defense or they don't play. Our game was more open and involved more mistakes defensively.

GS: Many people know you by your nickname, Butsy. When did you get that nickname and how did you get it?

BE: I got my nickname while still in diapers. Not really sure how. Being the youngest of six kids and growing up in a very small town those types of things stick.

GS: As a Minnesota native, did you feel more pressure wearing the maroon and gold in your college years or playing professionally?

BE: I felt a lot of pressure to perform always. My fear of failure still drives me in my personal life and I am quite sure in hockey it was the reason I always came ready to play. I really enjoyed the challenge. And I really, really enjoyed proving people wrong.

GS: You are ranked in the top five all-time in goals, assists, and points at Minnesota. You are also one of three players to record multiple 75-point seasons. How does it feel to be one of the top players in the history of one of the top programs in the nation?

BE: I enjoyed the heck out of my time at Minnesota. It is an honor that some people remember, but truthfully the most rewarding aspect of my playing days is knowing I honestly gave my best effort. 

GS: What is your favorite hockey memory outside of college?

BE: My first professional game was like reaching the top of a very tall mountain. The journey there was very hard and it was all worth it at that point.

GS: Who was the best player you ever played with and against?

BE: Neal and Aaron Broten. They inspired me to work harder. I played on a line with Mario Lemieux. He was pretty good also.

GS: What have you been doing since you retired from hockey?

BE: I've started and sold a few businesses. I'm raising four boys and I have coached almost every year since I retired from playing in 1994.

GS: You played four years at Minnesota and played alongside a couple fellow Roseau-natives in college. Do you still keep in touch with any of your Gopher teammates?


BE: I see former teammates occasionally. I play golf every week with Aaron Broten. Talk on the phone and visit when in the same area with a few others, but sadly not nearly as much as I would like.

It is just about Halloween, which means it is also just about mid November. Gopher Wrestling fans I think you know what I am talking about....it is just about time for the 2011-12 season begin! 

 

On November 12, Minnesota will take part in the annual Bison Open. Following that I am sure most of you who follow Gopher Wrestling know the first couple of matches. The Gophers will head to the east coast to take on Cornell and Penn State in their first weekend of action. Friday November 18 the Gophers will take on the Big Red at 5:30 p.m. CST, from Ithaca, N.Y. Two days later Minnesota will travel to take on the defending NCAA National Champions Penn State University. The match will be LIVE on the Big Ten Network at 11 a.m. CST.

 

In preparation of the season Head Coach J Robinson, who now enters his 26th season talked with Scott Casber of Takedown Wrestling about the upcoming season, what is right with the sport and the direction it is taking, team members and much more. The interview is about an hour long, so as Mr. Casber said on his website takedownradio.com grab a cup of coffee or a coke and sit back and listen to this great piece featuring Head Coach J Robinson.


Link to Interview

 

One last note for all Minnesota Wrestling fans, make sure to follow @GopherWrestling on Twitter and LIKE our Facbook page Golden Gopher Wrestling!

 

GO GOPHERS!!!

Minnesota - Iowa Preview: Game Time with Grimm

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The Gopher Radio Network's Mike Grimm gives us five things to watch (and listen) for in Saturday's game at home against Iowa:

1. FAST START: The Gophers have struggled out of the gate this season, having been outscored in the first half of their seven games by a count of 181-to-47. That's 47 first half points in 14 quarters of football. In fact, in the three Big Ten games so far, the opposition is outscoring the Gophers 103-to-3. If Minnesota wants any chance to win it will need to have something positive happen early in the game.

2. IT IS BETTER TO TAKETH THAN TO GIVETH: Minnesota has not forced a single turnover in three Big Ten Conference games. The Gophers have coughed it up six times. That is not a good formula. Minnesota needs to get some take-a-ways if it has any shot to win the game and keep Floyd of Rosedale in Minnesota.

3. SPECIAL TEAMS: It has become apparent that special teams are important factors for the Gophers fortunes. Poor punts have put Minnesota in bad position, while a blocked punt helped seal a Gopher win earlier in the season. The Gophers would help their cause with a strong special teams game on Saturday.

4. HOPE IOWA HELPS: The Hawkeye defense has not been as good this year as Big Ten fans have been accustomed to seeing. There are yards to get against this Iowa group, including with the quarterback run. Iowa is last in the league in getting teams off the field on third down, so Gopher quarterback MarQueis Gray can play a huge role in this game if he can keep the sticks moving.

5. FUN ON THE PLAZA: We'll be broadcasting Saturday's game from TCF Bank Stadium, including the Gopher Tailgate Pregame Show with Kevin Falness live on the stadium plaza. Joining Kevin each week is Joel Maturi, a Gopher Coach of the Day, a former Gopher player, and more. It is entertaining and informative Gopher info for you to listen to on your way to the game or for once you're at the stadium. Hope you'll join us for the radio broadcast on the Gopher Radio Network presented by AlarmForce!

Get to Know Your Gophers: Ben Perry

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In this installment of "Get to Know Your Gophers" with KFAN's Justin Gaard, the Gopher Radio Network sideline reporter sits down with Gopher football defensive end Ben Perry to talk video games, trash talking and more.

Justin Gaard: We're joined today by defensive lineman Ben Perry. Ben thanks for joining us today. You're one of the young guys who's getting a lot of playing time here as the season is unfolding, how's the transition to college football been for you?

Ben Perry: It's a little different but I'm starting to get used to it as we're midway through the season it was fast paced but as you go through it things start to slow down in your head and that's a great feeling when that finally happens. When you get a little experience under you it's not as confusing as it used to be in the beginning of the season.

JG: As a defensive lineman, and I asked Kirksey about this, do you have to be one of the loudest people on the team to play defensive lineman? Because whenever I'm at practice or at the games your group is always kind of out of control. Is that a prerequisite?

BP: Defense yes, but defensive line yes, we're a little bit crazy. I'm not going to lie, we're not your normal bunch of guys. You have to have a little different mindset to play defensive line because we're not going to get a bunch of picks, we're not going to score a bunch of touchdowns, but at the same time we want to have fun and our goal is to mess people up.

JG: You spend a lot of time in this building, you've got practice, you've got meetings , you've got class. What's something you like to do in your free time when you're away from football?

BP: Well, besides sleep, I play video games all the time. I'll take anybody on in Madden, Battlefield 3 came out today, and Modern Warefare's coming out next week and I'll beat you in that too.

JG: Where's more of the trash talk? On the football field or in the video game circle?

BP: On the football field I'll talk a little bit of trash, but don't play me in video games because I'll talk my mouth off and I'll demoralize you. That's what I'll do.

JG: Who's the biggest trash talker, sounds like you might be! But besides you, who's the biggest trash talker on the team? Who do you get in the most battles with?

BP: Oh biggest trash talker is going to be B.K. He's going to talk to everybody and because he's a senior he knows he has that upper rank, but you know at the same time I'm going to trash talk everybody.

JG: What about on the offensive side of the ball? I imagine there's some pretty good battles between offense and defense. Maybe not even on the field, but just in the locker room. Who's the trash talker on the offensive side?

BP: On the offensive side Wynn likes to talk a lot but me and Eddie Olson kind of go at it a little bit sometimes. We're friends off the field, but I'll still talk a little trash to him and he'll talk back to me.

Daily Clips - Oct. 26

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All the notes you need to know about Gophers-Seawolves (GopherSports.com)

Fancy pdf version of notes found here (GopherSports.com)

Nate Schmidt talks about heading to Alaska (GopherSports.com) and Wally Shaver previews the series (YouTube)

In an alternate world Mark Alt could have been at TCF Bank Stadium this weekend instead of with the Gophers in Alaska (Minnesota Daily)

Are the Gophers back? Dan Myers shares his thoughts (College Hockey News)

Roman gives us some info on Alaska Anchorage and what they have done this year (Star Tribune)

Blog: Gophers Need Practice, Patience and to Dig Deeper

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Go Gophers! Coach Kill
Go Gophers!
Coach Kill at Tuesday's press conference.
Go Gophers!

Coach Kill Press Conference Transcript - 10.25.11
Coach Kill discusses his new contract at his press conference (video)

Head football coach Jerry Kill opened his weekly Tuesday press conference with a story about an 1800s prospector and how it relates to his belief in what can happen with the Gopher football program.

To paraphrase, the Comstock story goes like this: Comstock found a mine and staked a claim to it in the American West. He dug until he found some treasure. Unearthing some ore, he knew there was more to be found. So he kept digging for the mother lode. Finally - in 1859 and after years of digging - Comstock gave up. He sold the mine for $11,000, which was a lot of money at the time. However, the buyer dug just a few feet deeper and hit the mother lode. That mother lode was worth $340 million.

"Dreams take work," the story Coach Kill related via a Harvey Mackay article in the Star-Tribune. "They take practice. They take patience and sometimes they require you to dig a little deeper."

Kill said that was a great example of where the Gophers are right now.

"We have to practice," he said. "We have to show a little patience and we have to dig a little deeper."

Kill says the practice and patience the team has displayed over the past few weeks has shown up, when you dig a little deeper. While the scoreboard still hasn't been pretty, Kill has seen some small signs of improvement.

"There's no question we played better (against Nebraska) than we did against Purdue," Kill said. "Up front on the offensive line, four of the five played really, really well. And against ... a good defense, really controlled the line of scrimmage. Now, if you're a fan, you probably didn't see that.

"Our wide receivers blocked better and were much more aggressive," Kill continued. "A guy that stood out that really played much better was (linebacker) Keanon Cooper. He had 12 tackles and ran around pretty good."

Kill also singled out Aaron Hill, Cameron Botticelli, Ben Perry and Kim Royston for praise on the defensive unit. But he said there is one Gopher who is quietly playing very well. Senior tight end and Stillwater native Collin McGarry drew high praise from his head coach.

"I watched Ohio State and Wisconsin block the defensive end from Nebraska," Kill said. "I would tell you Collin McGarry did just as good a job as they did, if not better. If I said somebody that's playing the most consistent football on our offensive team (it would be) Collin McGarry. Never says a word. Just goes and plays. He's done a heck of a job."

Support From Above
Much of the early portion of Coach Kill's press conference was spent discussing the fact that the University announced Tuesday morning that he has signed a contract. He had previously been working under a Memorandum of Agreement from back in December when he was named head coach.

The original terms of the Memorandum were for five years. But the contract announced Tuesday was for seven years. Kill said the seven years shows a real commitment from the athletic department administration and the University's leadership.

"We have some things that we've got to get corrected," Kill said. "And I think that coming in, you know, there were more things than I thought and even probably Joel thought.  There were some things in there that are going to take time.

"I felt like to do it right, you don't want to do it the quick‑fix way ... we needed to have that time," Kill continued. "So I was fortunate that our administration and Joel and visiting with the president, they felt the same way."

Kill referenced President Kaler numerous times throughout his press conference. It is obvious that the head football coach has a great deal of faith in the commitment the President has to athletics in general and specifically football.

"Our president is invested," Kill said. "I can tell everybody here, it's important to him to have a good football program.  We have got a great academic institution and we have got a football program that's struggled, and I certainly said all along, I'm not going to be able to change it (by myself).  It's going to take a whole lot of people to help us change it.  And I think he's made a strong statement from the top that he's committed and we are moving forward and it's going to change."

Happier Than a Pig In ...
As Tuesday's press conference was wrapping up, Minnesota staffers were moving Floyd of Rosedale out of his trophy case in the lobby of the football offices. The weekly press conference is held in the same room where the Gophers hold their team meetings. As the last few players, staffers and media members trickled out of the team meeting room, Floyd of Rosedale had already taken up residence in the room.

I'm assuming Coach Kill was going to use Floyd's presence in the room to speak to the team about the opportunity to retain the decades-old trophy this week as Iowa visits TCF Bank Stadium.

Strange Times
Kickoff for Saturday's game has been set for a 2:42 p.m. CT kickoff. Many people aren't aware that the actual kickoff time for each game is determined by the Big Ten's television partners, in conjunction with the league office.

I've seen a lot of :01 kickoffs. I've played games with :07 kickoffs and :36 and :37 kickoffs. But I've never been involved in a game that has kicked off this much past the top or bottom of the hour. It's just a little weird.

I'll be in the press box, so it doesn't really make much difference to me. I guess if I were a fan, this kickoff time really wouldn't be a problem for me either. Heck, that's just a few more minutes of tailgating time. Right?

Nate Schmidt Talks Alaska

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Sophomore Nate Schmidt, who scored his first career goal on Sunday against Vermont, leads all defensemen in the nation in scoring with nine points (1g-8a). His eight assists tie him with teammate Jake Hansen and one other for third in the nation. Schmidt had one assist in 13 games last year and that came against Ferris State (1/1) when he was playing wing on the third line.

Schmidt briefly shared some thoughts about heading to Alaska Anchorage this weekend and playing the Seawolves.




Daily Clips - Oct. 25

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Coach talks Alaska on radio show which Roman summarizes for us (Star Tribune)

Gophers among national leaders (Star Tribune)

"I'm not even going to waste your time telling you how awesome Alex Goligoski is" (Defending Big D)

Biggest surprise of the young NHL season? Phil Kessel (TSN.ca)

Thomas Vanek and Buffalo are on Versus tonight (ProHockeyTalk)

The Broten brothers and siblings who played in the NHL at the same time (NHL.com)

Gophers In the Pros - Week Seven

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Marion Barber, running back with the Chicago Bears, carried the ball six times for 39 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Barber set the Bears up for their second score of the game with a 29-yard run towards the end of the second quarter. He finished the Bears' opening drive of the second half with a 12-yard touchdown run of his own.

Barber has scored a touchdown in three of his last four games. His contributions on Sunday helped the Bears beat the Bucs 24-18.

Here's a look at the performance of other Gophers in the National Football League and the Canadian Football League:

  • Vikings' cornerback Marcus Sherels had five tackles (four solo, one assisted) and one sack in Minnesota's 33-27 loss to Green Bay.
  • Eric Decker, wide receiver for Denver, recorded two catches for 21 yards in the Broncos' comeback victory. They beat the Miami Dolphins in overtime 18-15.
  • Chicago tight end Matt Spaeth was active but did not record any statistics in the win against Tampa Bay.
  • Dominique Barber, safety for the Houston Texans, was placed on injured reserve after fracturing his foot. The Texans easily beat the Titans 41-7.
  • Jets' wide receiver Logan Payne was also moved to injured reserve as he continues to recover from wrist surgery in early September. New York beat the San Diego Chargers 27-21.
  • In addition to those who were on active rosters, three former Gopher players spent week seven of the NFL season on the practice squad for their respective teams. Offensive lineman Dominic Alford is on the practice team for the Cleveland Browns, cornerback Traye Simmons practices with the San Diego Chargers, and last year's quarterback Adam Weber is with the Denver Broncos.
  • In the CFL, wide receiver Arland Bruce had three receptions for 51 yards in the BC Lions' loss on Saturday. Ernie Wheelwright, wide receiver for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, was put back on nine-game injured list.

In this post, I will discuss the various scenarios that need to happen for Minnesota to earn a spot in the Big Ten Conference Tournament that will take place November 2-5 in Evanston, Ill.

With one regular season match left, the Golden Gopher women's soccer team is on the cusp of grabbing a spot in the Big Ten Tournament. Friday night's match against Nebraska is the biggest game of the season, and it not only has postseason implication for the Gophers and Huskers, but also for the four other teams (Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State and Purdue) fighting for the final three spots in the eight-team Big Ten Tournament. Ironically enough, only the Minnesota-Nebraska game features a matchup of squads in that group looking to punch their ticket to Evanston, Ill.

Go Gophers! Team Celebration
Go Gophers!
Gophers celebrate after a goal versus Ohio State.
Go Gophers!

First off, let me inform everyone about who has already clinched spots for the Big Ten Tournament. Penn State has snagged the No. 1 seed by going undefeated in the Big Ten thus far this season. Illinois follows the Nittany Lions at the No. 2 seed.

The No. 3 and 4 seeds are spoken for by Wisconsin and Michigan State, but it is undecided which team will receive which seed. They both have 18 points heading into their final match, so if they each have the same outcome in their matches then Wisconsin will get the higher seed based on the two foes' head-to-head outcome with the Badgers beating the Spartans 2-1 earlier this season.

The last team to solidify a spot in the tournament is Northwestern, who is last in the Big Ten, but since they are hosting the tournament, they receive an automatic bid.

Now we will get into what happens with the Maroon and Gold if they win, lose or draw. Before I explain them, be aware that the Gophers hold the tie breaker over Michigan and Iowa while Ohio State and Purdue hold the tie breaker versus the Maroon and Gold.

The first scenario is the simplest: win and you're in! With a Minnesota win over Nebraska, the Gophers will clinch a No. 5 seed in the tournament. The win would also eliminate Nebraska from qualifying.

Things get a little bit tricky if the Golden Gophers lose to the Huskers. For Minnesota to slip in the backdoor of the tournament, they need 3-of-4 things to happen:

        -  Michigan draws or loses to Illinois
        -  Purdue loses to Penn State
        -  Ohio State loses to Indiana
        -  Iowa loses to Wisconsin
                -  If Iowa draws with Wisconsin, then all other scenarios must happen

These scenarios are the only ways that Minnesota can get in with a loss on Friday. If this is the route taken, the Gophers will either be the No. 6 or 7 seed based on which stipulations actually happen. The only definite thing about this situation is that Nebraska will receive a higher seed over the Maroon and Gold.

If the Gophers draw with the Huskers, the scenario is quite similar to a loss, but a few things change in favor of Minnesota. They need 2-of-4 things happen:

        -  Michigan draws or loses to Illinois
        -  Purdue draws or loses to Penn State
        -  Ohio State draws or loses to Indiana
        -  Iowa draws or loses to Wisconsin

If this scenario happens, Minnesota will for sure be in the tournament, but it is unsure at which seed. If 2-of-4 stipulations happen then they will be the No. 7 seed, but for each additional stipulation, the Gophers move up one spot with No. 5 being the best possible seed, which would happen if all four stipulations come true.

Like I said, it is a little tricky, but the Gophers have control of their own destiny unlike most of the schools still trying to get into the tournament. So the most basic way to inform people what needs to happen is: win and you're in, and that cancels out having to rely on other match outcomes to punch your ticket to Evanston, Ill.

Go Gophers!!


Here is a list of match times for the weekend:
Friday, October 28
Purdue at Penn State, 6 p.m.
Nebraska at Minnesota, 7 p.m.

Saturday, October 29
Iowa at Wisconsin, 1 p.m.
Michigan at Illinois, 6 p.m.
Michigan State at Northwestern, 6 p.m.

Sunday, October 30
Indiana at Ohio State, 1 p.m.

Daily Clips - Oct. 24

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Gophers suffer first loss of the season (GopherSports.com)

Kevin Gorg thinks the Gophers are poised for a big year (FOX Sports North)

David Fischer scores (Naples News) and Cade Fairchild and Jay Barriball put up points (YNN)

Kyle Okposo shooting a commercial with season-ticket holders (Flickr)

Nick Leddy gets some love from the Chicago media (Tribune and Sun-Times)

Phil Kessel being productive (NHL.com)

Observations from Minnesota's 5-4 loss to Vermont

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Rau Coming Up Big
Freshman Kyle Rau, who moved to left wing after serving as a center for Eden Prairie High School last year continues to impress, providing a bright spot for Minnesota even in defeat. The 5-foot-8 forward has been a spark to both special teams units and has shown that he a great hockey sense and nose for the net. Rau potted his team-leading sixth goal of the year in the Gophers' third period comeback effort and almost had a game tying assist minutes later when he alertly fed Nick Bjugstad with a pass in the slot. The freshman isn't afraid to throw his 172-pound frame around, either. He made several hits on the night, highlighted a big open-ice check at the blueline on UVM's Kyle Reynolds when the team was shorthanded in the final frame.

Patterson's Streak Snapped
Kent Patterson's home shutout streak of 210:44 came to an end 4:07 into the second period on Saturday when Vermont's Connor Brickley scored on a one-timer from Matt White. After allowing a goal with 6:37 left in the third period of the Gophers' final playoff game against Alaska-Anchorage, Patterson went over ten full periods without allowing a goal on home ice. 

More Steaks End
Minnesota's impressive unbeaten run against one of the top conferences in the nation, Hockey East, came to an end on Sunday. The Gophers were 5-0-1 against Hockey East opponents since losing to Boston College 5-2 in the 2008 NCAA Regional in Worcester, Mass. before losing 5-4 to Vermont on Sunday. UM defeated Northeastern, Vermont, and Massachusetts (twice) and beat and tied New Hampshire in those six games. The Gophers run of five straight games with five or more goals, the longest such run for the program since the 2001-02 season, also came to an end in the loss. Minnesota gave its opponent more than six power-play chances for the first time all year, providing the Catamounts with a man advantage seven times.

O from the D
Coming into Sunday, the only defenseman on the Gophers to record a goal was Ben Marshall. Though the team lost, sophomore blueliners Justin Holl and Nate Schmidt scored their first goals of the season with blasts from the point. Schmidt's tally was the first of his career after going all of last year without a goal. Holl scored for the first time since his first career game 
(29 total games played in between goals) last year against Massachusetts, another Hockey East foe. Schmidt also added his seventh and eighth assists of the season in the loss.
 
The McCarthy Factor
Vermont made one change in its lineup from Friday night after falling 6-0. Coach Kevin Sneddon inserted Chris McCarthy, the Catamounts' second-leading scorer from a season ago, onto the second line in place of Matt Marshall. The move paid huge dividends, as McCarthy gave the Gopher defensemen fits with aggressive forechecking. The junior winger also showed up in the box score, notching a goal and two assists with a plus-3 rating.

Daily Clips - Oct. 23

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Game Day Live: Vermont at Minnesota (GopherSports.com)

Friday's three stars all played on the same line (Star Tribune)

Gophers continue to win (GopherHole)

Minnesota off to its best start in 10 years (KTTC)

Daily Clips - Oct. 22

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Gophers roll, top Vermont 6-0 (GopherSports.com)

How many saves did Kent Patterson make in his third shutout? (Box Score)

Instant Analysis (GopherSports.com) and our live blog recap (GopherSports.com) make for great reading in the morning

Interviews and video highlights from last night's win (YouTube) and a photogallery (GopherSports.com)

Game highlights from FSN (SnappyTV)

Minnesota stays unbeaten (FOX Sports North) and Don Lucia has Minnesota on right path (FOX Sports North)

Updated season stats, some nice numbers in there (GopherSports.com)

Kent Patterson stays perfect at home (ESPN 1500 Twin Cities) but credits his team for his strong play (GopherPuckLive)

Gophers are a confident bunch right now and a bonus photogallery (USCHO.com)

Early goals set pace for Minnesota (SBNation)

Nation's highest scoring offense kept scoring and a photogallery (Star Tribune)

The puck keeps finding the net (Star Tribune)

Minnesota rolls past Vermont and more pictures from last night (Pioneer Press)

Catamounts open season with a loss (Burlington Free Press)

First meeting between Minnesota and Vermont went to Minnesota (Minnesota Daily)

Gophers won as a top-10 team (Scout.com)

Minnesota puts up six (Examiner.com)

Observations from Minnesota's 6-0 win over Vermont

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Free Culvers!
For the fifth consecutive game to start the season, the Gophers scored five or more goals. The last time Minnesota started the season with five-plus goals in its first five games was in 2001-02 when UM recorded five or more in its first eight contests. The Gophers had also scored in all 15 periods of play in 2011-12 prior to Friday's third period, including overtime, and now have 31 goals on the young season. It took Minnesota eight games to score that many goals last year.

Beasts Against the East
After sweeping Sacred Heart of Atlantic Hockey by a combined 15-0 score to start the season, the Gophers dominated another New England foe on Friday, dominating Vermont of Hockey East in the first-ever meeting between the two schools, 6-0. In the three seasons prior to this year, Minnesota has also swept Massachusetts (HEA) and Harvard (ECAC
), beaten Brown (ECAC) and Northeastern (HEA) in individual games, and taken three of four possible points against New Hampshire. The last time the Gophers lost to a team from New England was in the NCAA Regional in 2007-08 against Hockey East's Boston College in Worcester, Mass. The last time an eastern foe beat Minnesota at Mariucci Arena was on Oct. 6, 2006 when Maine, also of Hockey East, beat the Gophers 3-1 on opening night.

A Full 180 Minutes
Gopher senior goaltender Kent Patterson, who had not recorded a shutout prior to this season, now has three shutouts in the first five games of 2011-12, with all three coming at home. Patterson held Sacred Heart off the scoreboard on back-to-back nights to start the year with 20 saves in each game and stopped all 17 UVM shots on Friday. The last time a Minnesota team recorded shutouts in its first three home games of the season was in 1928-29 when the Gophers beat North Dakota State 12-0 and took down Michigan 4-0 and 6-0 two weeks later.
 
Top of Lines
Minnesota's top line came up big against Vermont with each member of the trio recording at least a goal. Kyle Rau scored less than a minute into the game for the second time this season and chipped in an assist and Nick Bjugstad scored twice. Assistant captain Zach Budish capped the scoring with a power-play goal and added two helpers to the cause.

Gophers at Full Strength! Always Were!
The Gophers killed all six Vermont power plays on Friday and were even in shots (three shots for and three against) during their shorthanded time. Minnesota has now killed 30 of 32 opponent power plays this year for a 93.8% success rate. UM killed off only 77.4% of its penalties last year, ranking the Gophers 52nd of 58 Division I teams.

Each week we will give you the opportunity to ask questions via Facebook, Twitter or the Gophers Inner Circle. This week we had seven questions and Head Assistant Coach Brandon Eggum gave his responses

Nick:   What does the staff do specifically for the new freshman to get them ready for college wrestling? Individual technique sessions or just throw them in the fire? I'm curious to hear their plan.

-We hold specific technique sessions weekly for our freshman and/or incoming transfers. Besides working with them on their individual strength and weaknesses we cover a set of basic skills we fell are important in their development/transition to college wrestler career.

 

Jerry: What is the probability that we could have four freshmen starting on this team, say by the beginning of the Big Ten season?

-Hard to know, we have a number of freshman, a true freshman, and other underclassmen that are battling for a handful of weights this season. A lot of growing as a wrestler between now and March as you know the individual that looks the best in the room isn't always the best competitor.

 

Sven: I'd like to hear from Coach the answer to an odd question: To what percentage does a successful coach want to be respected by his players/athletes, and what percentage does he want to be liked by his players/athletes???? Is there a correlation between this question and winning?

Hard to answer in percentages, but in my opinion I would want to have 100% of my athletes respect. Regardless if every decision is right/wrong or agreed with I would want the athletes to know and trust it was for the best interest of the program.

I believe most of the athletes (if not all of them) here are friends with the coaching staff. Friends will have differences and sometimes a good friend will tell you what you need to hear versus what you want to hear. There is a strong correlation between this question and winning.

Sven: Also, what is the fundamental difference, mentally, in winning a championship versus becoming a repeat champion? Why do so many win championships, but so few repeat? What's the difference mentally and regarding focus (and preparation/discipline)?

You could write a book on this type of question and people have. There are some circumstances you can control and some you can't. Understanding that as an athlete is important. You can control your preparation, conditioning, technique and mental focus....you can't control judgment calls, how you match up style wise with you next opponent in even who that that opponent will be in the following round. A world champion caliber athlete creates his own breaks, but with luck may be given a break as well based on a call, whistle, out of bounds, end of period etc. As you mentioned winning two or multiple championships is uncommon for all these reasons.

Andy: What is different about practices this year than in years past?

One of our changes is our structure and schedule of practices this year. Training and technique are always evolving and staying up to date is important. We have added more individual workouts to meet individual needs.

 

 

Andy: How has Jake Deitchler looked during drills in the early on?

He looks great. No problems at all. We expect him to compete at the Bison Open on Nov. 12.

 

Ryan: Nelson tended to struggle with losing close matches to tough opponents last year. How will he improve on that this year?

Tony lost eight matches last year against great opponents as a freshman. He turned around and beat most of those guys the next time around. As he continues to grow and improve things will open up. 

Former Gophers Win Pan Am Bronze

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The University of Minnesota was well represented at the Pan Am games with USA Volleyball. Former Gopher greats Lauren Gibbemeyer, Jessy Jones and former Gopher coach Mike Hebert assisted Team USA to a bronze medal, Thursday night. Led by Gibbemeyer and Jones, Team USA had 22 blocks to rally past Dominican Republic 23-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-19 in  in Guadalajara, Mexico.

In the bronze-medal match, Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) added 16 points with 11 kills and five blocks, while Jones (Naperville, Ill.) charted five kills and seven blocks for 12 points. Gibbemeyer was named the Games' Best Blocker. Playing in all 17 sets, Gibbemeyer led Team USA with 24 blocks, averaging 1.41 per set. She ranked second on the team in kills with 36, trailing only team captain Cynthia Barboza, who had 62. Jones had 20 blocks and 24 kills also in 17 sets played. Coach Hebert served as an assistant coach for the Pan Am Games. 

Team USA's Lauren Gibbemeyer Named Best Blocker

Information and photos courtesy of USA Volleyball and NORCECA


Gopher in the Media

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Here are some links to media coverage of last night's 3-0 win over MSU Mankato:

USCHO

Star Tribune

Minnesota Daily

Here are some video highlights from Gopher All Access.

A reminder to fans planning to attend our game at 6 p.m. tonight: allow plenty of time to get to Ridder Arena as there could be traffic congestion on campus. The Gopher men's hockey game against Vermont also starts at 6 p.m., and University Avenue will close at 6:30 p.m. for the Homecoming parade.

Q&A: Husker Homily

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Throughout the season I'll chat with a media member who covers the opponent each week and bring you that interview in a Q&A format here in the Golden Gopher Football Blog. This week, I talked to Steve Sipple who covers the Nebraska Cornhuskers for the Lincoln Journal-Star.

GopherSports.com: What's the biggest storyline around the Husker program heading into this week's game?
Steve Sipple: The biggest storyline? Well, last week was a bye week. But it wasn't without news. Senior defensive tackle Jared Crick, the preseason Big Ten defensive player of the year, suffered a torn pectoral muscle against Ohio State, and Bo Pelini disclosed last week that Crick's season was over.  To what degree will Crick's loss impact the defense? That was the key question.
 
GopherSports.com: How much does the loss of Jared Crick hurt the Blackshirts?
Steve Sipple: Going into the season, Nebraska felt very confident in its defense because it had excellent players on all three levels - Crick up front, Lavonte David at linebacker and Alfonzo Dennard at cornerback.  Dennard is just now rounding into form after suffering a quadriceps injury in August. David has been excellent, but Nebraska needs another defender to raise his play to such a high level. Dennard may be heading in that direction. Crick obviously was a candidate to get to that level. He hadn't been explosive as many anticipated (22 tackles, one sack).

GopherSports.com: Who or what has Nebraska's attention as it prepares for the Gophers?
Steve Sipple: Two things stand out: Minnesota's propensity for ample movement on defense, and MarQueis Gray's mobility. Gray's mobility and athleticism definitely have the defense's attention.

GopherSports.com: Taylor Martinez is a household name around college football and Rex Burkhead is becoming one. Who are some other players on the Nebraska squad that stand out to you, but my fly a little under the national radar?
Steve Sipple: It's hard to imagine too many linebackers who are better than David. Dennard's injury set him back, but he's a surefire NFL corner. True freshman return man Ameer Abdullah is definitely someone to watch closely.

GopherSports.com: Are there any matchups or 'game-within-a-game' situations that are of particular interest to you this week?
Steve Sipple: Nebraska moved the ball in the second half against Ohio State largely because the Husker offensive line was effective in its man-to-man blocking scheme. Minnesota, however, uses a lot of movement defensively, making it difficult to employ a man-to-man scheme. The Huskers may have to settle for more zone blocking. Also, as NU assistant offensive line coach John Garrison pointed out, sometimes all that movement makes O-linemen play timidly. I'll watch for that.
 
GopherSports.com: How does Nebraska win this game?
Steve Sipple: Nebraska wins this game by showing up ready to play, by not overlooking a struggling Minnesota team.
 
GopherSports.com: How does Minnesota win this game?
Steve Sipple: Minnesota wins by playing a near-perfect game (no turnovers, few penalties and mental errors) and by forcing Nebraska into several turnovers.  Minnesota must find a way to slow Nebraska's ground game, obviously.

-UM-

Daily Clips - Oct. 21

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Today's Ticket (FaceBook)

Scouting report on Vermont (GopherSports.com)

Gophers Host Vermont (FoxSportsNorth)

Erik Haula started shooting and started scoring (Star Tribune)

Weekend Predictions (Star Tribune and USCHO.com)

Thomas Vanek scores twice to lead Buffalo to a win (AP)

Phil Kessel and Thomas Vanek are off to a pretty good start (NHL.com)

Kris Chucko retires due to concussions (CP)

Barry Tallackson playing in Deutschland Cup (USA Hockey)

Catching Up with the Gophers

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Check out what the University of Minnesota women's gymnastics team has been working on since during their fall practices!




Also, let Janell Campbell and Shannon Golish take you around the Golden Gophers women's gymnstics' facilities: Peik Gym and Bierman Gym. The two juniors show you everything from the equipment to the locker room and more.


Coach Kill to Be Featured on ESPN College GameDay

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Gopher football head coach Jerry Kill is sick and tired of talking about his health. But he understands that he's in the public eye as the head coach of a Division I, Big Ten football program. Kill also realizes that as a public figure, he's in a position where talking about his condition and how he's working to overcome it could possibly help others who hear his story.

Go Gophers! gameday
Go Gophers!

Go Gophers!

It is for that reason that Kill sat down for a nearly hour-long interview with ESPN's Tom Rinaldi after practice Wednesday evening. Rinaldi also spoke with Coach Kill's wife Rebecca and quarterback MarQueis Gray for a piece that will air Saturday morning on ESPN's College GameDay.

The interview focused a great deal on Coach Kill's health, along with the challenges he is facing in building the Minnesota program. But Kill told Rinaldi right out of the gate that much of the reason he agreed to do the interview was to hopefully encourage and inspire others to work past and overcome the obstacles they face in their lives.

From my standpoint as the communications director for the Gopher football program, I was thrilled to get our program the kind of exposure you get from being featured on GameDay. But I also thought Coach Kill might be a little apprehensive about doing the interview. I know that first and foremost, all he wants to do is be a football coach. He wants to devote as much time as he possibly can to righting the ship here at Minnesota.

But after some thought, Coach agreed to do the interview. In my view, it was an opportunity for him to put to rest any speculation about his health having any effect whatsoever on his ability to coach our football team. And he was able to talk about doctors giving him a clean bill of health. But for Coach Kill, it was as much about helping others as anything else. To me, that speaks volumes about the man's character.

I can't say with any certainty how the piece will come out, because I haven't seen the finished, edited product. But I was there for the entire interview and I can't imagine that it won't come off as a real positive for Coach Kill and the Gopher Football program.

Rinaldi put it best, talking with Coach Kill after the interview. Rinaldi told him that he is among the most compelling speakers he has ever interviewed. That's saying something coming from a real pro, a veteran reporter who has done hundreds, perhaps thousands of interviews with some very important people in the world of sports.

As I mentioned above, I was in the room for the entire interview. I will admit that there were two or three times during the interview, Coach Kill stirred enough emotion in me that I had to fight off a tear or two.  I can honestly say that I have never worked with someone like Coach Kill. He's the most honest, straight-forward, what-you-see-is-what-you-get person I have ever met.

That's what makes him so good when he talks to people. It doesn't matter if it's a gathering in Willmar or some other Minnesota community from his state-wide tour last summer or if he's doing an interview with a national outlet like ESPN. He simply speaks from his heart and is completely honest.

I haven't received word yet about how long they expect the College GameDay piece to be or what time it will air Saturday morning. But I'm sure Gopher fans will want to tune in and catch what their head coach had to say. If and when I find out, we'll make sure to put the information out via Twitter and other communications channels.

Traffic Update For Oct. 21

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TRAFFIC ALERT: On Friday, Oct. 21, 2011, between approximately 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., University Avenue will be closed to all traffic from 15th Avenue SE to Oak Street SE, due to the Homecoming Parade. The University Avenue Ramp will have NO access IN during this two-hour timeframe, but patrons will be able to EXIT the ramp using the bus lane and going south on Walnut Street to Beacon Street. From there, you can go Beacon to Harvard to Pillsbury to Pleasant to Washington to get to I-35 OR you can use Beacon to Harvard to Fulton to Huron to get to I-94. When driving in the area near the TCF Bank Stadium, please drive extra carefully and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists. Thank you and Go Gophers!

Minnesota hosts Vermont at Mariucci Arena at 6 p.m.

Guest Blog: "Expect the Unexpected" on Homecoming

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Go Gophers! TCF
Go Gophers!
GoldenGopherGridiron.com's Mike Ricci says we should "expect the unexpected" on homecoming.

Occasionally here on the official Golden Gopher Football Blog, we'll be featuring guest contributors, including Mike Ricci, editor and webmaster of the football program's official site -- GoldenGopherGridiron.com.

Hard to believe it's finally Homecoming week. Really feels like we were getting ready to fly to California a few days ago. But yes, time flies --- it's an inevitability of life. Win or lose, you keep moving forward.
Go Gophers! Gopher Gridiron logo
Go Gophers!
Check out GoldenGopherGridiron.com for even more football content this season.
Go Gophers!

The Nebraska Cornhuskers come to TCF Bank Stadium for the first time ever on Saturday (also their first trip to Minnesota since 1989). The press doesn't seem to be giving us a snowball's chance in this matchup. But then again, that's why you play the game. Especially on Homecoming weekend, when anything seems possible.

Two years ago, the first Homecoming game on campus in 27 years saw the Gophers throw down with Purdue. The game, which featured unseasonably cold October weather saw the Gophers pull out a 35-21 game. Even last season, although we fell a little short against the Northwestern Wildcats, the game was one of the most exciting battles of the season. No doubt, there is something special about Homecoming weekend. Expect the unexpected.

When I was talking to some of the players this past week, one of the recurring themes that I got as to why Homecoming was important to them was that it was, "Minnesota's weekend". The entire week is a celebration about how great of a university we have here in the Twin Cities, they wanted to make the school proud. And with a team like Nebraska coming to town, the opportunity was there for the taking.

With Saturday just days away, things are starting to fall into place. Tomorrow night, local hip hop legend Atmosphere is kicking the weekend off with a concert at TCF Bank Stadium. Hopefully the energy will linger in the air into Saturday's tailgating around campus and into the stadium for pregame. I know the football program is hoping for a little extra rowdiness in the stands this weekend. Even if Nebraska comes to our house in droves, there's no reason we can't be louder than them. This is our house... And this is our weekend. Ski-U-Mah!

20 Questions with Blayne Dulian

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Gophersports: Why did you first decide to become a runner? 

Blayne Dulian: In the 8th grade my dad encouraged me to run track and field and after that I was a runner

GS: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make when moving from high school cross country to running in college?
 

BD: Mileage and the length of the races.

GS: What is the most difficult course you've ever run? 

BD: Our home course for the Roy Griak

GS: What is the most unusual or creative workout you've ever run at practice?
 

BD: I would say the some of the circuit training workouts we do are a little out of the ordinary

GS: What team or individual performance are you most proud of? 

BD: Winning a state championship in High School

GS: Where is your favorite place to run? 

BD: River Road

GS: What is your favorite Minnesota tradition?

BD: The freshman singing the rouser

GS: What is the coolest part of being a member of the Minnesota cross country team? 

BD: The guys I get to train with

GS: What is the hardest part of being on the Minnesota cross country team? 

BD: The running

GS: What advice would you give a new runner? 

BD: Stay consistent and have fun

GS: What have you learned from cross country that has helped you in other aspects of your life? 

BD: If you don't put in the hard work, you aren't going to see any results. Remains true for everything.

GS: Do you have a favorite sports movie? 

BD: RUDY!!

GS: Where is your favorite place to eat on campus?
 

BD: Schang Chengs

GS: What are you listening to on your iPod right now?.

BD: Yelawolf

GS: Do you have any race-day superstitions? 

BD: Not a very superstitious kind of guy

GS:
  What are your goals for this season? 

BD: Improve upon last year's times and help the team as much as I can.

 GS: What is your favorite sport outside of cross-country or track and field? 

BD: Basketball

 GS: What motivates you to run and compete? 

BD: Competing against others makes it a blast

GS: What is one talent or skill you have outside of running? 

BD: I am an exceptional dancer

GS: If you had the choice to travel either forward or backward in time, which would you choose? Why?

BD: I would go back in time to re-live the awesome childhood memories

 

View From The Other Side: Vermont

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Minnesota is 4-0-0 on the season, but its opponent this week has not even played a game. The Vermont Catamounts open their 2011-12 season against the Gophers at Mariucci Arena on Friday. Vermont is the only team from Hockey East that the Gophers have never played. Since there is no prior history between the schools and Vermont has not played a game this year, we went to their athletic department to find out a little bit more about the Catamounts. To learn more about Vermont hockey, visit here.

GopherSports: Most Gopher fans probably know very little about the Catamounts, as the teams have never played and Vermont has not played a game this year. Tell us a little about this year's Vermont team.
Vermont Athletics: Vermont returns four of its top five scorers for the 2011-12 campaign, including its top two scorers from last year in juniors Sebastian Stalberg and Chris McCarthy. Stalberg paced the Catamounts with nine goals and 19 assists for a team-high 28 points, while McCarthy played in all 36 games and ranked second on the team in scoring with 20 points. On the blueline, senior Drew MacKenzie and sophomore Nick Bruneteau represent two of the most dangerous offensive defensemen in Hockey East. Both ranked top-15 in scoring among league defensemen last year, and Bruneteau finished the year with the fourth-most points of any rookie defenseman in the conference. Between the pipes, starting goaltender Rob Madore returns for his senior season after posting a 2.98 goals against average and a .907 save percentage last year. Madore was named the team's MVP and earned the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week award on two occasions.

GS: Who is one player that Gopher fans should pay attention to this weekend?
VA: Connor Brickley is the second highest NHL draft pick in program history, selected 50th overall in the second round of the 2010 draft by the Florida Panthers. The only other UVM player to be taken higher was U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer John LeClair '91, who was selected 33rd overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 1987. The sophomore forward's speed, aggressiveness, and physical play make him noticeable on every shift. The Everett, Mass. native posted four goals and nine assists last year in his freshman campaign.   

GS: Fill in the blank for us. Vermont will win if....
VA: The Catamounts can produce well in special teams, which is always important in early season match-ups, and if UVM is able to get senior goaltender Rob Madore off to a positive start. Madore led Vermont to the Frozen Four as a freshman in 2009, posting 15 wins and a 2.35 goals against average in his rookie season.

Daily Clips - Oct. 20

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Don Lucia agrees to contract extension (GopherSports.com)

Lucia talks extension and Vermont (YouTube)

Nick Bjugstad dances through the UMD defense last Saturday with a highlight reel goal (YouTube)

Minnesota, Vermont to meet for first time (Minnesota Daily)

Kent Patterson to stay in net (Star Tribune) and other notes (Star Tribune)

Minnesota has never played Vermont, but Don Lucia has coached against them in a game he will never forget (ESPN 1500 Twin Cities)

Phil Kessel's latest heroics for Toronto (Toronto Sun) and (Hamilton Spectator)

Alex Goligoski is part of a deep D-core in Dallas (FoxSportsSouthwest.com)

Erik Johnson leads the Avs in ice time and is tied for the team lead with five points (Denver Post)

Paul Holmgren's summer moves in Philly are paying off (CSNPhilly)

Busy Weekend in Gopher Land!

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It's Homecoming Week on the U of M campus, which means the campus is buzzing with activity. Many of our teams are competing at home this weekend: women's hockey (Thursday & Friday nights), men's hockey (Friday and Sunday), football (Saturday), soccer (Friday and Sunday) and cross country (Saturday)!

Usually, when both the men's and women's hockey teams compete at home on a Friday night, the game times are staggered by an hour. However, this week both games are starting at  6 p.m. due to the Homecoming parade on campus at 7 p.m. This means there could be some traffic congestion on campus Friday night. We encourage all our hockey fans to allow plenty of time to get to campus and find parking with all the activities going on.

If you're interesting in participating in any Homecoming activities while on campus, there's a schedule at the Homecoming website.

Gophers Say They Won't Let Up After Sweep

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Fresh off their weekend sweep of UMD, the Gophers held media availability Wednesday with local reporters.

The first topic brought up, unsurprisingly, was head coach Don Lucia's three-year contract extension with the Gophers through 2014-2015; see video of what Coach

"We are off to a good start now and excited for it to continue," Lucia said. "I like our kids this year and I like the work ethic that we've shown. I think when you have a good group that you enjoy being around, you enjoy getting out there and help work with them to make them better."

Lucia also shared his thoughts on the upcoming series with Vermont. "The two previous years they were a frozen four team and the goaltender that is playing with them now took them to the Frozen Four. [Vermont] was picked to be in the middle of the Hockey East and we were picked to be the middle WCHA so it should be a good match-up."

The head coach also touched on the need for Goalie Kent Patterson to keep up his performance, improve fundamentals, and maintain the speciality teams stats in winning face-offs and utilizing power plays.

Sophomore forward Erik Haula also shared what it was like to beat UMD on their home ice.
"[The Bulldogs] were throwing high fives on their bench already with 40 seconds left... To score was great. And then the win in overtime just topped everything."

Behind the Scenes - Video Shoot

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Photo Gallery

Members of the Minnesota women's basketball team had a fun time shooting videos for the 2011-12 season Tuesday afternoon at Williams Arena. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the squad filming their headshots for starting lineups and in-game question and answer segments, as well as other exciting videos that fans will have attend a home game to see.

Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!

Minnesota - Nebraska Preview: Game Time with Grimm

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1. RIVALRY RENEWED: A new addition to the Big Ten Conference, Nebraska has played Minnesota more than any other Big Ten team - a total of 51 times. This rivalry dates back 1900 when the Gophers beat the Huskers 20-12. In fact, Minnesota holds the series lead 29 wins, 20 losses, and a pair of ties. The last Golden Gopher win, however, came in 1960. Minnesota wants to stop that trend this weekend.

2. DAVID VS. GOLIATH:
Minnesota has lost 14 straight games to Nebraska, getting outscored in those contests 553-100. You're all familiar with the biblical story of David slaying the giant with a slingshot and stone? The Gophers need to take something from that story.

3. REST AND RECUPERATION: The Gophers used some of their bye week last week resting and recuperating at a time of the year where they needed to do it. They went through some shorter, more focused practices, and some of the coaches got out on the road recruiting. Nebraska also had a bye week last week, so the Cornhuskers should be rested, as well.

4. CODE RED: The Golden Gophers will almost certainly have to deal with their home stadium being littered with red-clad Nebraska fans, some of whom purchased Minnesota season tickets in order to ensure their seat on Saturday. It is Gopher Homecoming, so the Maroon and Gold will need to make some noise.

5. POST GAME FUN: We'll be broadcasting Saturday's game from TCF Bank Stadium, including the all-encompassing postgame show. Gopher women's basketball radio voice Corbu Stathes breaks down the boxscore, gets you scores from around the nation, and keeps the show's flow going with great guest commentary from former Gophers Ray Hitchcock and Justin Conzemius. Listen on your way home from the game!

Get to Know Your Gophers: Lamonte Edwards

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In the latest installment of "Get to Know Your Gophers" with KFAN personality and Gopher Radio Network sideline reporter Justin Gaard, we sit down with Gophers running back-turned-linebacker Lamonte Edwards.

Justin Gaard: First of all Lamonte, let's talk about that a little bit. You started as a running back now you're playing linebacker and might do a little bit of both, do you ever get confused as to which huddle you're supposed to go to?

Lamonte Edwards: "No I don't get confused, I like both of them but the defensive side of the ball is a little more complicated and so it takes more time to actually grasp the concept of what you're supposed to do."

JG: As far as grasping what you're supposed to do, it seems like you are getting a pretty good grasp the last couple of weeks.


LE: "Yeah, I have been taking some lessons from Keanon Cooper, the first-string linebacker. Mike Rallis will help me out on my fits, my gaps, when I'm supposed to hold and burst through and whatnot."

JG: Well let's talk about more important stuff between the running backs and linebackers. Which group is more fun to hang around with? Who would you rather socialize with off the field?


LE: "That's a tough question, they are all a pretty good group of guys. They're all fun to hang out with."

JG: Who has stranger hairstyles, the running backs or the linebackers? And if Mike Rallis is part of this, that's okay.


LE: "It's definitely the linebackers. I'm going to say the linebackers. GT [Gary Tinsley] has the dreads, Mike Rallis with all the hair. We got a bunch of different styles. Dwayne Mitchell with the hairstyle he's got."

JG: Last question for you, who's the biggest clown on the team? I've heard you mention [Tinsley], I've heard that he might be one of the biggest pranksters on the team. What's maybe the biggest prank that's gone on in the locker room this season?


LE: "I'm not sure about the biggest prank, but I know GT or Michael Carter are definitely the biggest clowns on the team. Or Jephte, he's a freshman, Jephte Matilus is a big clown."

JG: Is he [Carter] allowed to be a clown as a freshman? Doesn't he have to earn his stripes a little bit before doing that, or does he just do it?


LE: "That's how much of a clown he is, he really doesn't care. He does what he does."

Morning Skate With Nico Sacchetti

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Go Gophers! Nico Sacchetti
Go Gophers!
Nico Sacchetti has 11 goals and 18 assists in 106 career games
Go Gophers!
GopherSports: You are majoring in finance. That has to be a pretty demanding major. Can you tell us about it?
Nico Sacchetti: I will be really happy when I am done and have a degree. It will be worth it when it is over because it has been a lot of work. There are a lot of nights when I am locked up in my room doing homework.

GS. You have to be able to balance school, hockey and your social life pretty well?
NS: I constantly have to stay on top of things and cannot let anything slide. There are a lot of day after practice where I am studying right through the night. Between hockey and school, free time is certainly at a premium right now and when I have it I try to relax and hang out with the boys.   

GS: You are from Virginia, Minn. How would you describe your hometown?
NS: Virginia is the heart of the iron range. It was your typical small town where everyone pretty much knows everyone and everything was pretty much centered around hockey. Everyone I grew up with played hockey and there were about six outdoor rinks. There was an outdoor rink at the end of my block, so that is where I grew up skating when I was really young. You would play shinny hockey with people of any age group.

GS: Are you ever able to skate outside now these days?
NS: I would if I was home more over the winter, but I am not. My classes run pretty late into December this year so I will not have much time to go home. I have not spent an extended amount of time back home in the winter for the last couple of years.

GS: So when you are not playing hockey or studying all night, what do you like to do?
NS: Jake Hansen got me into golf, and it is something I really enjoy. I played before I met Jake, but not consistently. I grew up playing tennis all though high school and would only play golf a couple of times during the summer. I was not any good, but I have gotten a lot better. I can shoot in the mid to low-80s pretty consistently now.

GS: How did Jake get you started in golf?
NS: Jake and I roomed together our freshmen year in the dorms. He would have his car sometimes because of how close he lived to campus, but one day he said he was going golfing and asked if I wanted to go. I think I grabbed his brother's clubs because mine were not here and the course we were playing was less than a mile from his house. I did not realize how good he was. He is pretty much a scratch golfer. I thought we were going to go mess around and did not know he was on the state tournament team. I was kind of embarrassed and realized I had to get a lot better, so anytime he went I would go as well. I saved some money so I could buy a nice set of clubs last year and the last three summers we probably golfed three or four times a week.

GS: Have you ever beaten him?
NS: We usually do not keep score, but I have definitely beaten him in stroke play for nine holes. I think I have beaten in 18 holes before too, but he will never admit it. The only time we will keep score for the full 18 is if it is just the two of us. We usually play in a foursome with other friends though.

GS: In addition to golf, you also like to fish.
NS: Definitely. We are down here five days a week during the summer for workouts, but I definitely get my time in on the weekends. Waking up at 7 a.m. during the week is always difficult during the summer, but I have no problem getting up at 5:30 a.m. on the weekend to fish.

GS: Tell us your best fishing story.
NS: That would have to be the first muskie I ever caught. It was the first time I had ever gone muskie fishing and got me hooked instantly. I was still in high school and it was the middle of summer. My friend and I went out early in the morning and it was dead calm and hot out and not very good muskie conditions. We saw one big muskie, but then went back home to skate and work out. However, we went back out during the night and headed back to the same spot. It was pitch black out and I could barely see my lure. I was about to pull my lure out and then there was this huge splash about 18 inches in front of me. I had never fished for muskie before and all of a sudden I see this head thrashing right in front of me. It was hooked pretty good, so my buddy grabbed the net and we pulled it in the boat. We measured it and it was 51.5 inches.
 

A Day in the Life of Kiara Buford

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Have you ever been curious as to what the average day in the life of a student-athlete entailed? Gophersports.com recently tagged along with senior guard Kiara Buford of the Minnesota women's basketball team to find out exactly what a day in her life is like, and even got a tour of her dorm room.

Watch as Buford travels from weights at Ridder Arena, to class with her teammates, to practice at Williams Arena and back to her apartment, all beginning at 6 a.m.

Below is a quick rundown of her day:
6:00 a.m. - Wake up
6:30 a.m. - Leave apartment
6:45-7:30 a.m. - Weight training at Ridder Arena
8:00 a.m. - Walk to class
8:15-9:30 a.m. - Class
9:30-11:00 a.m. - Relax, nap and eat
11:30 a.m. - Arrive at Williams Arena for practice
12:00-3:00 p.m. - Practice
3:10 p.m. - Ice bath in the training room
3:35 p.m. - Training Table
4:10 p.m. - Back to apartment
4:10-???? - Do homework and hit the sheets  

Special thanks to Jess Lemanski for putting the video together!

Daily Clips - Oct. 19

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Weekend Preview: Vermont (GopherSports.com)

VIDEO: Looking back at Minnesota Duluth and ahead to Vermont (YouTube)

Kyle Rau named WCHA Rookie of the Week (GopherSports.com)

Gophers, Catamounts meet for the first time (Gopher Puck Live)

Nick Bjugstad was on The Pipeline Show last night (ThePipelineShow.com)

Team of the Week: Minnesota (College Hockey News)

Neal Broten is going pheasant hunting to help raise money for a memorial scholarship (Daily Republic)

Friday and Sunday this week because of football (Star Tribune)

How young are the Gophers? Does age really matter or does experience? (Star Tribune)

Phil Kessel's key to goals? Getting pucks on net (Globe and Mail)

Erik Johnson hears crickets (Denver Post)

Gophers Use Bye Week to Prepare, Get Healthy

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Go Gophers! Coach Kill
Go Gophers!
Head coach Jerry Kill says the bye helped the Gophers solve some, but not all, of their injury problems.
Go Gophers!
Watch a replay of Coach Kill's press conference in Gopher All-Access
Read the complete transcript of Tuesday's press conference


Gophers head coach Jerry Kill addressed the media Tuesday afternoon at his weekly press conference; here's a quick run-down on what went down:

DEALING WITH HEALTH ISSUES
There was both good and bad news at Gopher football head coach Jerry Kill's weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon. The good news: The bye week gave the team's most dynamic offensive player, quarterback MarQueis Gray, a chance to rest and recuperate from the turf toe injury he's struggled with the past few weeks.

Tuesday, Coach Kill said the rest of this season will be critical for the junior QB.

"I think we'll know [more about Gray's progress at quarterback] over the next five or six games because with the injury status that he had... When you don't play, it's hard to get better," Kill said. "I think he was making huge progress, and then the injury."

The bad news, however, is the Gophers' ongoing health issues at tailback. Kill said both Devon Wright and David Cobb are "real questionable" for Saturday's game due to hamstring injuries, meaning the Gophers will have just two running backs with game experience on the active roster: Duane Bennett and Donnell Kirkwood (who's also had hamstring problems thos year). Kill said walk-on Chris Gatling could step in and play, and running back-turned-linebacker Lamonte Edwards could see reps this week and play in an emergency situation as well.

WELCOMING THE HUSKERS
Saturday is both Homecoming and the first meeting between Minnesota and new Big Ten foe Nebraska since 1990 (the Cornhuskers last came to Minneapolis in 1989); the Huskers have played the Gophers more than any other Big Ten Team.

"Everyone has to focus on their job and if everyone can take care of their individual responsibility that will give us the best chance to win," said cornerback Brock Vereen on the keys to taking down the No. 11/13 Huskers. "Its homecoming and the stadium is going to be rocking."

Tight end Collin McGarry said the bye week came at a good time for the young Gophers.

"It was a good opportunity for us to group up and work on getting this thing turned around," McGarry said.

HOMECOMING WEEK
Saturday's game marks the culmination of Homecoming Week at the U of M. A full list of all homecoming events, including Fridays Pep Fest and concert at TCF Bank Stadium, can be found at http://homecoming.umn.edu.

Tip Off Dinner Great Success

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Go Gophers! Pam Borton at Tip Off Dinner
Go Gophers!Go Gophers!

After taking a year off from hosting a tip-off dinner, the Minnesota women's basketball team reestablished its annual event for the 2011-12 season at Crave in Edina Monday night.

"The atmosphere was amazing and we had a nice turnout," head coach Pam Borton said of the event. "It was a great evening and we had a lot of fun. It turned out to be a pretty exciting event and a huge success with the fans."

Nearly 60 loyal fans were able to interact with the entire Golden Gopher coaching staff, including Borton and assistant coaches Curtis Loyd, Ted Riverso and Kelly Roysland. Fans heard a season preview about the team and were also able to as the staff any question that was on their minds.  

"It is a great thing for us to be that accessible to our fans," Borton continued. "Each of us were able to answer their questions in front of the entire group. This is defnitely an event that we can build off of in the years to come."

Daily Clips - Oct. 18

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Kent Patterson needs your vote. His mask is up against Wisconsin. Better Dead than Red, so vote now (Facebook)

More thoughts on the sweep at UMD (The Daily Gopher)

You voted Nate Condon your athlete of the week (Facebook)

Evaluation of Zach Budish against UMD (On The Forecheck)

Prospect report: Kent Patterson (Mile High Hockey)

Will Eveleth, the home of Jon Mayasich, win this vote? (RangeNewsNow)

Gophers move up in polls (Star Tribune)

Phil Kessel has become a complete player (USA Today) and people are beginning to wonder how many the sniper can score (Examiner.com)

Erik Johnson and the Avs off to a good start (ESPN.com) and (The Globe and Mail)

Gophers Ranked Fourth in RPI

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The NCAA released the Division I RPI and Minnesota is fourth overall in the nation. Like the AVCA poll, Illinois ranks first as the only undefeated team in the country at 19-0 (6-0 road, 4-0 neutral, 9-0 home). Nebraska, the Gophers' last opponent, ranks second with a 15-1 overall mark, while Iowa State is ranked third (15-3). Of the top 10 teams in the RPI standings, Minnesota has faced five of the teams already this season.

Along with Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota, the Big Ten Conference has a total of six ranked in the top 20 RPI. Michigan is ranked 15th overall, Purdue is ranked 16th, Penn State at 19. Full RPI rankings located here.

Filho highlighted by Star Tribune

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Senior Ariana Filho was highlighted in the Star Tribune. The second-youngest of 10 children, Filho talks about her childhood and her nine siblings. You can read the entire article here

Blog: Hoops Clips from the Weekend

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The Gophers held their local media day last Thursday and also hosted "Gopher All-Star Friday Night" at Williams Arena. Below is a recap of media coverage from both events.

Tubby says he's happy, healthy; new deal not done (Dave Campbell - AP)
 
Gophers start season with 3 point guard candidates (Dave Campbell - AP)

Gopher men should enjoy good guard depth (Tyler Mason - FSNorth)

Tubby Smith may place Gophers' point guard job in hands of freshman Andre Hollins (Marcus Fuller - St. Paul Pioneer Press)

Gophers Now Blog (Marcus Fuller - St. Paul Pioneer Press)

Gophers gambling freshman Andre Hollins can do job (Chip Scoggins - Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Gophers men's basketball team shows off athleticism, skills (Amelia Rayno - Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Tubby Smith putting on his bravest face (Myron Medcalf - Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Five things the U men's basketball team must do to win now (Myron Medcalf - Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Video: Nowhere to go but up (Michael Rand - Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Gophers among top moneymakers in NCAA hoops (John Vomhof Jr. - Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal)

Midnight Madness Videos, Interviews (BTN.com)

Gophers In the Pros - Week Six

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Running back Marion Barber could be moving into a goal-line role with the Chicago Bears. Barber carried the ball 11 times for 32 yards and a touchdown in the Bears' impressive 39-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings Sunday night.

Barber's three-yard touchdown run put Chicago up 16-0 in the first quarter, and Minnesota was never able to bounce back from the Bears' strong start. Barber's performance helped the Bears move to 3-3 on the season.

Here's a look at the performance of other Gophers in the National Football League and the Canadian Football League from this weekend: 

  • Tight end Matt Spaeth, also with the Bears, was active but did not record any statistics in Chicago's Sunday night victory.
  • Minnesota cornerback Marcus Sherels handled one punt in the loss to the Bears.
  • Dominique Barber, safety for the Houston Texans, recorded two solo tackles as the Texans fell to the Baltimore Ravens 29-14.
  • Wide receiver Eric Decker spent the Denver Broncos' bye week preparing for next week's game at Miami where Tim Tebow will replace Kyle Orton as the Broncos' starting quarterback. Decker and former Gopher QB and current Broncos teammate Adam Weber were seen at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex last week, as they visited the Gophers during their bye week.
  • Logan Payne, wide receiver for the New York Jets, is still recovering from wrist surgery in early September.
  • In addition to those who were on active rosters, three former Gopher players spent week six of the NFL season on the practice squad for their respective teams. Offensive lineman Dominic Alford is with the Cleveland Browns, cornerback Traye Simmons is with the San Diego Chargers, and last year's quarterback Weber practices with the Denver Broncos.
  • In the CFL, wide receiver Arland Bruce had a 72-yard touchdown reception as the BC Lions won their eighth straight game on Sunday. BC played the Saskatchewan Roughriders, where wide receiver Ernie Wheelwright returned from a knee injury and had one catch for 11 yards.

VIDEO: Gophers Inner Circle-The Season Has Arrived

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Hey Gopher Fans! Make sure to submit a question for the coaching staff to answer and we will get them answered for you. 

Now check out this video from theguillotineflo.com. If this doesn't get you pumped for Gopher Wrestling I don't know what else will! 

Check it out!!

Watch more video of J Robinson on www.theguillotineflo.com

GWH in the News

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Here are links to some of the media coverage of last weekend's series at Wisconsin:

Star Tribune, Oct. 17

Pioneer Press, Oct. 17

Minnesota Daily, Oct. 15 (they have yet to post a story about Sunday's game, must be coming soon ...)

Daily Clips - Oct. 17

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Gophers 4-0-0 after sweeping champs (Minnesota Daily)

Kyle Rau producing (USCHO.com)

Jake Hansen, Seth Ambroz scouting report (The Cannon)

The Emperor easing back into the WCHA after WNBA duties (The Roman Empire)

Can Phil Kessel keep up his frenetic offensive production? (Puck Daddy)

Kessel to be named NHL's first star (@mirtle)

Golden Gophers and Fans Enjoy "Hoopla"

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Go Gophers! Hoopla
Go Gophers!
Nearly 1,000 people attended Sunday's Hoopla event.Go Gophers!
  Photo Gallery

The Minnesota women's basketball team entertained nearly 1,000 loyal fans at its annual "Hoopla" event Sunday morning at Williams Arena.

Fans began pouring in the doors of the Barn at 10:30 a.m., and they were able to watch the final hour of the Golden Gophers' scheduled practice, before being treated to a pair of scrimmages.

The first scrimmage pitted Maroon, coached by Kelly Roysland, against Gold, coached by Curtis Loyd, in a six-minute intrasquad event, with Gold able to narrowly defeat Maroon, 10-8. Members of the Gold team were Leah Cotton, Micaella Riche, Kiara Buford, Shonte Clay, Jackie Voigt and Brianna Mastey. The Maroon team was made up Katie Loberg, Rachel Banham, Kionna Kellog, Sari Noga, Nicole Mastey, Alex Ionescu and Amber Dvorak.

In the second scrimmage of "Hoopla", the Golden Gophers took on the scout team, which was coached by Ted Riverso, in a ten-minute showdown. The scout team took an early lead on the Gophers, but a three-pointer by Noga pulled the home team within three points, 16-13, before a basket down low made the game a one-point afair with less than 20 seconds remaining. The Gophers were forced to foul, which sent the scout team to the charity stripe twice in the final seconds of play, and allowed them to seal the, 18IMG_0101.JPG-15, victory.  

Once play was complete, members of the basketball team sat down for a Q&A session, with fans submitting their questions prior to the event. Head coach Pam Borton also took questions from the audience, before "Hoopla" came to a close with the players signing autographs in the lobby.

 

 

Daily Clips - Oct. 16

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More than 2,400 people viewed this picture in the last 14 hours and more than 150 liked it on Facebook. Were you one of them? (Lockerz and Facebook)

Gophers sweep defending national champs on the road (GopherSports.com)

Sweep-tastic! (ESPN 1500)

AUDIO: Don Lucia and Kent Patterson spoke with the media after the game (AudioBoo)

Ignore the pessimistic headline, and just enjoy where the Gophers are in league play (Star Tribune)

Bulldogs swept away... (Duluth News Tribune)

...by the Gophers (Minnesota Daily)

Kent Patterson saved 92 of 100 shots he saw this weekend. (Pioneer Press)

Gophers got it done (SBNation) and rallied from down 0-2 to do so (Examiner.com)

Freshman Kyle Rau fitting in just fine (FSN)
Patterson Passes Test(s)

After facing just 40 shots over two games against Sacred Heart, Minnesota goaltender Kent Patterson had 100 shots fired his way against defending national champion Minnesota Duluth. The senior netminder wasn't rattled however, and has now started his season with a 4-0-0 record for the second straight year. He now owns a .943 save percentage to go along with a 2.00 goals against average and two shutouts.

Hot Start

Minnesota has now won its first four games of the season for the first time since 2001-02, when it won its first six games (and started 11-0-2). UM swept in-state rival Minnesota Duluth for the first time since 2006-07 and swept the Bulldogs in Duluth for the first time in over a decade, last accomplishing the feat in 1999-2000.

Comeback Kids

Until there was two minutes left in the third period of Friday night's game, the Gophers had not been faced with a deficit in the young season. Minnesota pulled off a classic come-from-behind overtime victory in that game, but started slow in the series finale, falling behind 2-0. Instead of caving in front of a hostile Amsoil Arena crowd, the Gophers rallied again, reeling off five consecutive goals.

Burying the Biscuit

The Gophers' offense has started the season on fire, scoring in each of the 13 periods in which it has played so far (including overtime). Minnesota is averaging 6.25 goals per game in the early going and has seen offensive contributions from 15 different players. It's not just the forwards putting up points either, six different defensemen have contributed a goal or an assist. Sophomore Nate Schmidt has six points--all assists--so far.

Special Teams Success

After a so-so year on the power play last season, the Gophers are demolishing opposing penalty kills in 2011-12. After a three-goal weekend against Sacred Heart in their first week, Gophers piled up six goal in nine man-advantage opportunities against Minnesota-Duluth, including a perfect three-for-three night on Saturday. Minnesota, a team recognized as one of the worst penalty-killing teams in the country last year, has now killed 18 of 20 penalties this season.

Super Sophomores Crush Bulldogs

Going into Friday night, sophomores Nate Condon and Nick Bjugstad had five points in five career games against UMD. Condon added two goals to his total and Bjugstad added a goal and two assists. Fellow second-year player Erik Haula also had a big weekend, notching two goals and two assists.

Daily Clips - Oct. 15

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Alternate channel listing's for tonight's game (FOX Sports North)

VIDEO: Highlights from Minnesota's 5-4 overtime win against the defending national champions (SnappyTV)

Photo gallery of Nate Condon's OT game-winning goal (Facebook)

Analysis from us on last night's big win (GopherSports.com) plus our live blog recap (GopherSports.com)

And our complete game coverage (GopherSports.com)

AUDIO: Kent Patterson, Nate Condon and Don Lucia speak with the media after the overtime win

Gophers rally for OT win (ESPN 1500 Twin Cities)

Minnesota wins before clock runs out (Star Tribune) and may have found some scorers (The Roman Empire)

After losing lead, Gophers rally for win (GopherPuckLive)

Dramatic goals lead U to victory (Pioneer Press)

Minnesota turns the tables on Duluth (USCHO)

Wow. That was fun. (The Daily Gopher)

Another rally story (Examiner.com)

Video Highlights: Minnesota 5, Minnesota Duluth 4 (OT)

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Sophomore Erik Haula scored his fifth goal of the season and second of the night with 44 seconds remaining in regulation to pull even with Minnesota Duluth in the WCHA opener for both school. Sophomore Nate Condon then won it for the Gophers with an overtime goal with 56 seconds remaining in the extra session. Kent Patterson made a career high 46 saves as the Gophers improved to 3-0-0 on the year. Relieve all the highlights right here.  


Taking Down the Champs and Starting Strong
Minnesota improved to 10-3-1 against defending national champion teams since repeating in 2002-03 by beating 2010-11 champ Minnesota-Duluth on Friday. All but one of those 14 contests came against WCHA opponents. The Gophers are off to a 3-0-0 start for the first time since 2001-02.

Overtime Turnaround?
Minnesota went 0-1-5 in its first six overtime games of last season before posting its first and only extra-session victory over Bemidji State in the last game of the regular season. In 2011-12, however, the Gophers collected their first overtime win in their third overall game with their 5-4 OT win on Friday. Conversely, Minnesota-Duluth started strong in overtime games last year with five wins and no losses in seven overtime games in the first two months of the season.

Patterson's Prowess
For seven-plus periods, Gopher goalie Kent Patterson kept Minnesota opponents off the scoreboard. The senior netminder's shutout streak ended after 145:12 when Caleb Herbert beat him with a great individual effort. Patterson didn't have a shutout in his collegiate career before this season, but didn't let the end of a great run affect his play against the team that has proven to test him the most. The Colorado Avalanche draftee made a career-high 46 saves to record his fifth 35-plus save game against the Bulldogs.

Rau Comes Up Big All Around
Just like he did in high school, Kyle Rau made some key plays to help push the his team to victory. After UMD tied the game 2-2 quickly on a five-minute power play, Rau broke the puck out and drew a major penalty from Luke McManus to cancel out the rest of what could have been a lengthy UMD opportunity. He also drew and interference call at the beginning of the third. In addition to giving Minnesota man-up opportunities, Rau also scored his second and third goals of the season and was effective on the penalty kill.

Powerful Power Play
There were many skeptics concerned with Minnesota's power play performance against Sacred Heart last weekend after the unit scored three goals on 14 opportunities. In their WCHA opener, the Gophers' man advantage play silenced some of its doubters for at least one night, scoring three times on six chances. Kyle Rau notched two of those goals and Erik Haula opened the scoring with a power-play tally.

WATCH: Joe Coleman's winning 360-degree dunk (YouTube)

WATCH: Rodney Williams dunks over Barnyard "animals" Friday (YouTube)

Freshman Joe Coleman won the dunk contest, Tubby Smith came out swinging and the fans where treated to a show from Gopher greats from throughout the years Friday at Williams Arena.

We blogged all night from live courtside Gopher basketball's Midnight Madness event, "Gopher All-Star Friday Night," formerly Tubby's Tipoff. Watch some quick highlights from the event above and check out the blow-by-blow below!

7:50 p.m. The autograph session behind section 115 is winding down, and we're almost ready for lights-out and introductions.

8:10 p.m. Lights are out, and the smoke machines are ready to go. The Gopher dance team is taking the floor for a performance.

8:15 p.m. The players, starting with freshmen, are being introduced with the "Rocky" theme song in the background.

8:25 p.m. Tubby Smith is introduced as the "heavyweight champion of the world." He comes out in a boxing outfit and starts sparring.

8:27 p.m. Now it's the alumni guests' turn. The fans cheer for all of them, and Trent Tucker  gets probably the loudest ovation.

8:33 p.m. Lights are back on as the team warms up and Tubby gives a little overview of each of them. "This team is ready to blossom," he said. "They've had a great off-season and a great pre-season."

8:49 p.m. Jamal Abu-Shamala and Brent Lawson win the alumni skills competition. Contestants had to dribble around cones, pass off a rebounding-type net, and make a basket.

8:58 p.m. Several current Gophers come close, but none are able to knock down a half court shot to win prizes for the kids they were paired up with. At least the kids get autographed miniature basketballs.

9:09 p.m.  After the first round of the three-point contest, Willie Burton and Voshon Lenard each made 10. Burton emerged victorious in the final. He made 11 (including some bank-ins) to Lenard's eight.

9:17 p.m. Big man Ralph Sampson III led all current players with nine triples after the first round. Andre Hollins won the shoot-off with Maverick Ahanmisi to face Ralph in the finals. Ralph bested his first-round total by making 13 to Andre's 11. He'll probably be taking some of those shots during the season if they're open.

9:19 p.m. Time for the contest everyone's been waiting for: the dunk competition. Kevin Lynch, Jeff Hagen, and Trevor Winter will judge.

9:22 p.m. Andre Hollins has had the best display so far, with a 360 dunk.

9:26 p.m. Rodney Williams brings down the house dunking over both a chicken and a pig. Watch video of the dunk here. He proceeds to check the picture on a photographer's camera. Rodney then provides the alley-oop pass for Joe Coleman's dunk.

9:28 p.m. The fans call for Trevor Mbakwe, and the place erupts when he stands up to join the competition. Maverick feeds him a pass off the backboard, which he slams down in typical Mbakwe fashion.

9:30 pm. Joe Coleman is our winner, receiving a combined score of 29 in the championship round to beat Rodney Williams. That was a sweet one-handed 360 dunk.

9:34 p.m. Up next, the current Gophers will play two 10-minute periods of intrasquad basketball. The alumni will play after.

9:37 p.m. The maroon team is on the board after a three from Ahanmisi.

9:39 p.m.
Mbakwe gets a three-point play for maroon. Rodney puts gold on the board with a soaring dunk. 6-2, maroon.

9:41 p.m. Mbakwe is an absolute force in the paint. Two more and-ones, and then another dunk. He has 11 points, and maroon is dominating. Tubby is offering commentary on the mike now.

9:46 p.m. Andre Hollins is showing his ability to drive to the basket. He draws a foul and makes both FTs. Then a fast break dunk from Coleman brings gold within six.

9:47 p.m. Maroon leads 18-13 at the end of the first half. Vince Taylor talks to the maroon huddle while Saul Smith leads the gold huddle.

9:51 p.m. An Andre Hollins three makes it 22-16, maroon, with about seven minutes left.

9:57 p.m. It's a closer game now, with maroon up by only four points, 25-21. 1:45 left.

9:58 p.m. Chip Armelin makes a defensive back-like steal that leads to a fast break bucket for gold.

10:00 p.m. Maverick scores, gets a steal, and hits a three for maroon.

10:01 p.m. Our final score is 33-27, maroon. Trevor Mbakwe led all scorers with 15 points. Also for maroon, Maverick Ahanmisi scored 14. Joe Coleman led gold with 12 points. The five-minute alumni game is up next after a short warm-up.

10:08 p.m. The alumni game is underway. The pace is a little slower than the previous game, but these guys could still dominate any pick-up game at a local Y. Voshon Lenard takes his fair share of threes, finally making his last one, and Willie Burton connects on an alley-oop!

10:11 p.m. The maroon team wins a close one, 12-11. It was great to see all those alumni back on the court at the Barn.

10:13 p.m. "Hail Minnesota" plays on the loudspeakers as we wrap things up here. Thanks for joining us tonight, and we hope to see you all at the Barn this season!

Guest Entry: Day In the Life of Donnell Kirkwood

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Occasionally here on the official Golden Gopher Football Blog, we'll be featuring guest contributors, including Mike Ricci, editor and webmaster of the football program's official site -- GoldenGopherGridiron.com.

Truth be told, it's been a rough string of weeks for us in the football program. The last two weeks found us on two forgettable road trips to Michigan and Purdue. Now we're in the middle of our bye week and quite frankly, it couldn't have come at a better time. This week is a chance to take a step back and breathe. In two weeks we will play host to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, the centerpiece to our Homecoming weekend. Where we stand now, there aren't a lot of people giving us much of a shot in that game.
Go Gophers! Gopher Gridiron logo
Go Gophers!
Check out GoldenGopherGridiron.com for even more football content this season!.
Go Gophers!


Based on our performance, that might be fair. But if there is a silver lining to the early season struggles we've had, it's been seeing the undying support that we've received from many Golden Gopher football fans. Rome wasn't built in a day, it was built over time with blood, sweat, and tears. As Coach Kill likes to say, "We're building this on a foundation of concrete, not sand." Go Gophers!

In regards to GoldenGopherGridiron.com, this week we premiered a new video featuring redshirt running back Donnell Kirkwood. Donnell was gracious enough to let me follow him around during the Michigan trip two weeks ago. When the video starts, we catch Donnell on Friday morning as he gets ready for a brief walkthrough before loading the plane and heading to Ann Arbor. Later in the video I had a chance to visit with Donnell and his traveling roommate, fellow running back, David Cobb. The two backs told me how they unwind after being cooped up on an airplane for a few hours. Next, a look at how a Big Ten team eats while on the road (spoiler alert: very well).


Hey Gopher fans. Each week we will give you the opportunity to ask questions via Facebook, Twitter or the Gophers Inner Circle. This week we had four questions and Head Assistant Coach Brandon Eggum gave his responses. 


Gary: How is Sonny Yohn's knee recovering going?

Sonny's knee is fine. He wrestled the end of the season, spring, summer and early fall with no issues. I would not expect any problems this season from that old injury.

 

Multiple People: What are you thought s about Logan Storley this season?

Logan has shown phenomenal improvement in a short amount of time. He has expressed strong interest in competing this season. We are considering that possibility.

 

Adam: What is the one thing the team/staff is excited about this season?

In general we are excited to watch the team compete as a whole. This is a great team full of hardworking individuals. We are very excited to watch some of the new faces that will step into the lineup

 

Andy: How has Jake Deitchler looked in drills in the early on?

Jake is doing well. He recently has been wrestling live and looks good. He is excited for the opportunity to compete. We are expecting to have him compete at the Bison open. 

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Schoullis, Kessel and Marvin Named to Team USA Roster

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Current Gophers Jen Schoullis and Amanda Kessel, as well as former Gopher Gigi Marvin, have been named to the 20-player roster for Team USA in the 2011 Four Nations Cup from Nov. 9-13 in Nyköping, Sweden.

Schoullis and Marvin both played for the U.S. in the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship this past April. In August, Schoullis and Kessel played for Team USA at the IIHF Twelve Nations Cup in Finland and helped their team to a 6-0 record in tournament play.

Click here for the press release from USA Hockey.

And as long as we're talking USA Hockey, here's a feature on Gopher sophomore Amanda Kessel from USA Hockey Magazine's October issue:

http://usahockeymagazine.com/article/2011-10/amanda-kessel

2011-12 Season Preview Mashup

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During yesterday's Minnesota Women's Basketball Media Day, Brianna Mastey, Leah Cotton, Katie Loberg, Kionna Kellogg and Rachel Banham took time to talk a little bit about the upcoming season.

The Gophers talk about their goals for the year, which game they are most looking forward to and even their most memorable moments at Minnesota. Enjoy!

2011 Wisconsin adidas Invitational

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This afternoon at 1p.m. CT, the No. 21 University of Minnesota women's cross country team will be in action in Madison, Wis., for the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. At 1p.m. will be the championship race and at 2:20 p.m. the "B" race will take place. 


Yesterday afternoon Flo Track put together a preview of the 6k course. Check out the video below! 

Watch more video of Wisconsin adidas XC Invitational 2011 on flotrack.org

2011 Wisconsin adidas Invitational

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This afternoon at 1:40 p.m. CT, the No. 17 University of Minnesota men's cross country team will be in action in Madison, Wis., for the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. At 1:40 will be the championship race and at 3 p.m. the "B" race will take place. 


Yesterday afternoon Flo Track interviewed Minnesota's own Hassan Mead. They also put together a preview of the 8k course. Check out the videos below! 

Watch more video of Wisconsin adidas XC Invitational 2011 on flotrack.org

Watch more video of Wisconsin adidas XC Invitational 2011 on flotrack.org

Daily Clips - Oct. 14

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Duluth play-by-play man talks about this weekend's matchup with us (GopherSports.com)

Young Gophers will get tested in Duluth... (FSN)

...where they are playing the defending national champs (Pioneer Press)

This weekend should tell us a lot about the Gophers (SBNation)

Weekend preview from Duluth (Duluth News Tribune)

Week 1 WCHA Power Rankings (College Hockey News)

Blog: Media Day Recap

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Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith and the 2011-12 Gophers met the Twin Cities media Thursday afternoon at Williams Arena.

A portion of the event was streamed live on Gophersports.com with Gopher radio play-by-play voice Mike Grimm and analyst Spencer Tollackson interviewing Gopher players. Fans can watch a replay of "Media Day Live" here.

View a Photo Gallery from media day right here.

Coach Smith's transcript can be read here.

Just a reminder, "Gopher All-Star Friday Night" begins at 7:00 p.m. at Williams Arena. Doors to "The Barn" will open at 6:30 p.m.

For more information on tomorrow evening's event click here.

View From The Other Side: Minnesota Duluth

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Minnesota heads to defending national champion and rival Minnesota Duluth this weekend to open WCHA play. We asked Minnesota Duluth's radio play-by-play voice Bruce Ciskie a few questions about the Bulldogs before this weekend's matchup. You can follow Ciskie on Twitter @bruceciskie.

GopherSports: Bruce, you know the Bulldogs as well as anyone. Can you give us a scouting report on the defending champs?

Bruce Ciskie: The defending national champions (man, that just doesn't get old) lost a good chunk of their offensive and defensive prowess from last year. Justin Fontaine (Houston) and Mike Connolly (Worcester) are in the AHL. Kyle Schmidt and Mike Montgomery graduated, while Justin Faulk signed with the Carolina Hurricanes and made the NHL out of training camp. But two-time All American Jack Connolly is back to serve as team captain, and he has sophomore J.T. Brown playing the right wing. Brown had a great game Friday against Notre Dame, flying up and down the ice. His speed is at "game-breaking" levels. On defense, Wade Bergman and Brady Lamb will be the leaders, but freshman Chris Casto (former Hill-Murray star) looks solid so far, and junior Drew Olson continues to progress. Senior Kenny Reiter returns between the pipes after starting the championship run with an incredible performance in a 2-0 shutout win over Union.

Connolly and Travis Oleksuk are the top two returning centers. Freshman Caleb Herbert is quickly emerging there, and among the wings, UMD is looking for big things out of sophomore Joe Basaraba and junior Jake Hendrickson. Another freshman to watch is Justin Crandall, younger brother of UMD goalie Aaron Crandall. Justin Crandall is a tenacious competitor and a very good skater with some scoring touch.

GS: You mentioned a lot of player there, but is there one player who Gopher fans should pay close attention to this weekend?

BC. I mentioned J.T. Brown, and he might end up being UMD's best player before the season is out. His speed makes him a factor whenever he is on the ice, and he seems to have learned how to harness his emotions and avoid the occasional undisciplined, retaliatory-type penalty. Brown manned a point on UMD's top power-play unit against Notre Dame, and while it might not be natural for him to work the point, he showed that he's more than capable.

If Brown decides to leave UMD, he will be one of the most sought-after free agents among NHL teams next spring. He's that good, and will prove it over the course of this season.

GS: The Gophers and Bulldogs played four pretty competitive games last season as the teams went 1-1-2. What does Minnesota Duluth have to do this weekend to beat their rival?

BC: Well, I didn't vote Kent Patterson on my Preseason All-WCHA ballot in the media poll, but it wasn't because I don't think he's any good. Patterson is a legit star goalie, and I respect his game tremendously. He's the kind of guy who doesn't suffer a lot of bad beats, and he certainly can carry the Gophers to victories when he's on his game. For UMD to get wins this weekend, Patterson has to be solved. The Gophers have firepower up front, including some recruits I think Don Lucia did a great job getting.

UMD also needs to get solid play from the goalie and defense in both games. The Gophers might not be as dynamic as Notre Dame, but they will work hard, they can win their share of faceoffs, and there are playmakers UMD has to be aware of.

I expect a great atmosphere at Amsoil Arena, and it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the series ended in a split.

Daily Clips - Oct. 13

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Gophers headed to Duluth to take on the defending champs (Minnesota Daily)

Mark Alt talks about his decision to play college hockey instead of college football and how he had to convince his NFL pro bowler father (ESPN 1500 Twin Cities)

Roundup from yesterday's media availability (GopherSports.com)

Know the enemy: UMD weekly release (UMDBulldogs.com)

WCHA season preview from our friends Up North (Bemidji Pioneer)

Folks in Denver are already talking extension for Erik Johnson (Mile High Hockey)

VIDEO: Four former Gophers are playing in Norway (KSTP)

"Dunking 101" with Rodney Williams

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What's Rodney Williams planning to do at the dunk contest this Friday night to take back his dunk contest crown from Trevor Mbakwe? He discusses in this short video, "Dunking 101 with Rodney Williams."

Be sure to come out Friday night for "Gopher All-Star Friday Night"! More info at z.umn.edu/allstar.

Blog: Gophers Ready For UMD

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By Edwina Reckel (story) and Reid Strait (video)
GopherSports.com


The Gophers' schedule doesn't ease them into conference games as their first road game comes against the reigning national champs, the University of Minnesota-Duluth. At media availability Wednesday, head coach Don Lucia and players discussed last weekend's win and how the team is preparing to face one of their biggest rivals.

Lucia started off by saying that despite the two easy non-conference wins, the team is ready to take on Duluth.

"It doesn't matter who we played last week... It's a different ball game. Last year we had good games against Duluth. This is a whole new experience for our kids. We have a lot of young guys and juniors and seniors we can rely on," Lucia said.

Despite the challenge of going on the road straight out of the gate, Lucia said he likes the change of schedule.

"The road has been pretty good to us, and it helps the goaltender to have a good start on the road. We just have to hang in there... If you're going to have a successful season you have to find a way to get points every weekend, home or away."

The Gophers, although confident coming off of season-opening victories, know that the team must grow as a young defensive core, get solid more solid play in the net from Kent Patterson, improve penalty kills and work on their consistency in order to go far as a team.

Defensemen Mark Alt also addressed the media Wednesday, and talked about how the atmosphere of the team has changed.

"This weekend we are playing a much better team. We could have won [last weekend's] games 4-1 and not have been as excited for them," Alt said. "Anytime you score 15 goals in a weekend it's pretty happy as the team sees it and obviously Duluth it's going to be a different style of game, but I think that was a good weekend for us to have before going to Duluth."

Alt was confident about a positive change in the Gophers since last year as well.

"I feel like we have a different team. This team is more driven than any team I've played on," he said.

Forward Jake Hansen praised Patterson's performance this past weekend and stressed that the Gophers are prepared for their match-up with the Bulldogs.

"We know how Duluth plays. They've had a good power play since I've been here and watching film, it looks strong again."

Alt summarized the Gophers' stance for the big series this weekend: "It's important to go up there and make a statement that the Gophers are back."

Alumni Corner: Matt Koalska

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Go Gophers! Matt Koalska
Go Gophers!
Matt Koalska scored the game-tying goal against Maine with less than a minute left in the national championship game
Go Gophers!
Almost any Minnesota Hockey fan can tell you where they were when Matt Koalska scored with 52.4 seconds left in the 2002 National Championship against Maine to send the game to overtime, where Grant Potulny ended it. Koalska, who was a sophomore at the time of that memorable play, finished his career as a Gopher with 136 points in 171 games before moving on to play three seasons of professional hockey. The St. Paul-native took some time to catch up and look back on his time at the University of Minnesota with GopherSports.com:

GopherSports.com: What was your time like at Minnesota and what is your favorite memory from playing at Mariucci Arena?
Matt Koalska: My time spent at the U gave me some of the best moments of my life. At that point in my life I didn't have many worries and just enjoyed each day. I was close to home, lived with my best friends, and I was playing the sport I loved. Things were good. My favorite memory playing at Mariucci has to be the first home series I played in my freshman year. Going out for warm ups thinking to myself, "Wow, I am here. I am a Gopher!" We found a way to get a sweep, which made it a little sweeter. It was amazing to be playing in front of such a huge and supportive crowd.

GS: Where was your favorite place to eat on campus at the University of Minnesota?
MK: That would have to be Campus Pizza. I think Troy Riddle and I went there just about every day.

GS: How did you feel before the faceoff following the timeout with 58.3 seconds left in the 2002 national championship game and how did you feel after scoring the tying goal? Can you talk about your unique and memorable goal celebration?
MK: I was trying not to worry too much about the time on the clock. I just knew my role as the sixth player was do my best to try to get the puck on the net. After the faceoff I just hung back and read the play hoping the puck would slip out my way. Fortunately it did.  I put a quick shot on net and I got lucky. After scoring I was in shock and knew the only way to celebrate was with my team. I went to Hill-Murray High School and during big games when a big goal was scored, jumping into the bench was the celebration. That was the only thing that came to my head at that time.

GS: As a St. Paul-native, did winning the national championship your hometown make the memorable moments from that experience more special? How many of your family members and friends were there?
MK: Of course it was special for the whole team to have the Frozen Four in St Paul. I was a little more fortunate my parents were just a few miles from the rink. It was special for the 18,000 fans that were able to make it and witness such an awesome game, which definitely made it feel like a home game. A lot of people I wasn't even aware of have come up to me and told me they were at the game, so I have no idea how many friends. But I have a pretty big family and most of them were able to make it, while I know the rest were watching on TV.

GS: Before your teams' back-to-back championships, there hadn't been a repeat NCAA champion in over 30 years. Going into the 2002-03 season, did you think you would win another national title? How did it feel once you accomplished it?
MK: I know there were some people who had doubts because of the seniors we were losing, but as players we knew it was a possibility and that's all that mattered. We had a talented group of freshmen coming in and good leaders to bring success. We knew what it would take to win another title, so we worked hard to accomplish it. It felt great to win another one for the program and the University, as well as Sid Hartman.

GS: You played for three seasons of professional hockey after your time at Minnesota. What is your favorite hockey memory outside of college?
MK: My favorite hockey memory outside of college hockey would have to be my first NHL game with the New York Islanders. It was a home game against Toronto. My parents were there and it was one I will never forget.

GS: Who was the best player you ever played with and against (at any level)?
MK: Well my wife is a pretty good player. Dierks Bentley isn't too bad either. Best player I ever played with, that's really hard, as there are so many great players. Sidney Crosby was the best I ever played against.

GS: Can you talk a bit about coming back to Minnesota to earn your degree?
MK: I was very fortunate the University allowed me to come back to finish my degree after I was done playing. I was out of school for a few years and it was a transition to get back into school mode. Graduating with a Communications Studies degree required four levels of a foreign language. I had only completed levels 1 and 2 of German, and after not speaking it for a few years, it was very difficult to come back and complete 3 and 4. The U was great for helping me get tutors, allowing me to work at Bierman for computers and a place to study, as well get support from academic advisors. I am very grateful and am so glad I was able to get my degree.

GS: What have you been doing since then?
MK: I spent a few years coaching doing skating lessons in the Twin Cities until my wife brought me north to Fergus Falls. I now work at Athletic Republic. My wife and I also coach the high school girl's hockey team together and are expecting our first baby in February.

GS: To what extent do you follow Gopher hockey today? Do you still keep in touch with the players you played with at the U?
MK: I still enjoy following the team. If I am unable to watch the game, I make sure I am checking scores as soon as I can. My dad will still call to update me as well. My best friends are still the players that I played college hockey with and we try our best to stay in contact. It is getting more difficult with us being all across the world and growing families, but there are usually weddings, baby showers, and other events that get us all together during the summer. I also enjoy building relationships with other hockey alumni who I didn't play with. There is definitely a bond amongst us, and it is great to share stories and the love of the game.

Amateur Wrestling News has released their pre-season rankings for the 2011-12 season. Each weight class has 20 ranked student-athletes. Minnesota is represented in nine out the ten weight classes in the early poll.

Amateur Wrestling News
Division I Pre-Season Rankings

 

125

1. Matt McDonough-Jr, Iowa

2. Zach Sanders-Sr, Minnesota

3. Ryan Mango-Jr, Stanford

4. Jarrod Patterson-Jr, Oklahoma

5.  Nic Bedelyon-Sr, Kent State

 

133

1. Jordan Oliver-Jr, Oklahoma State

2. Scotti Sentes-Sr, Central Michigan

3. Tony Ramos-Soph, Iowa

4. Bernard Futrell-Jr, Illinois

5. Devin Carter-Soph, Virginia Tech

11. David Thorn-Soph, Minnesota

 

141

1. Kellen Russell-Sr, Michigan

2. Boris Novachkov-Sr, Cal Poly

3. Montell Marion-Jr, Iowa

4. Andrew Alton-Soph, Penn State

5. Zack Kemmerer-Sr, Penn

15. Nick Dardanes-Fr, Minnesota

 

149

1. Frank Molinaro-Sr, Penn State

2. Jamal Parks-Sr, Oklahoma State

3. Tyler Nauman-Sr, Pittsburgh

4. Mario Mason-Jr, Rutgers

5. Ivan Lopouchanski-Jr, Purdue

14. Dylan Ness-Fr, Minnesota

 

157

1. Kyle Dake-Jr, Cornell

2. Derek St. John-Soph, Iowa

3. Jason Welch-Jr, Northwestern

4. Ganbayar Sonjaa-Sr, American

5. Walt Peppelman-Jr, Harvard

14. Jake Deitchler-Soph, Minnesota

 

165

1. David Taylor-Soph, Penn State

2. Shane Onufer-Sr, Wyoming

3. Josh Asper-Jr, Maryland

4. Brandon Hatchett-Sr, Lehigh

5. Paul Gillespie-Sr, Hofstra

10. Cody Yohn-Jr, Minnesota

 

184

1. Quentin Wright-Jr, Penn State

2. Robert Hamlin-Jr, Lehigh

3. Grant Gambrall-Jr, Iowa

4. Steve Bosak-Sr, Cornell

5. Chris Honeycutt-Sr, Edinboro

8. Kevin Steinhaus-Soph, Minnesota

 

197

1. Cam Simaz-Sr, Cornell

2. Cayle Byers-Sr, Oklahoma State

3. Sonny Yohn-Sr, Minnesota

4. Micah Burak-Jr, Penn

5. Matt Powless-Sr, Indiana

 

Hwt

1. Zach Rey-Sr, Lehigh

2. Ryan Flores-Sr, American

3. Cameron Wade-Sr, Penn State

4. Tony Nelson-Soph, Minnesota

5. Spencer Myers-Soph, Maryland

Daily Clips - Oct. 12

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Gophers head to Minnesota Duluth this weekend to open WCHA play against defending national champs (GopherSports.com)

Alternate channel listing for Saturday's game. Look it up now, so you don't have to on Saturday at 7 p.m. (FOX Sports North)

Radio voice of the Gophers Wally Shaver looks back at the wins against Sacred Heart and ahead to Duluth (YouTube)

Kent Patterson did something that no Gopher had done since 1936 and was recognized for it (GopherSports.com and FOX Sports North)

Taylor Matson is up for an award (GopherSports.com) and scored on a pretty breakaway against Sacred Heart (YouTube)

Solid Gophers-Bulldogs preview from our friends at GPL (GopherPuckLive)

According to @CHNDanMyers the Gophers were one of the winners in the WCHA last week. Fifteen goals will do that for you (College Hockey News)

More than 1,000 words dedicated to Phil Kessel's snapshot. Still probably not enough (Toronto Sun)

Thomas Vanek looking for his European success to continue stateside (AP)

Keith Ballard ready to have a bounce-back year? (Vancouver Sun)

Jeff Taffe gives Houston both experience and dynamic (Hockey's Future)

Patterson Honored by WCHA

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Go Gophers! Kent Patterson
Go Gophers!
Kent Patterson was named WCHA Co-Defensive Player of the Week today
Go Gophers!
Goaltender Kent Patterson was named the Red Baron® WCHA Co-Defensive Player of the Week for Oct. 11. He shares the honor with goaltender Austin Lee of Minnesota State.

Patterson earned his first and second career shutouts this past weekend against Sacred Heart. The senior made 20 saves in both games and it was the first time that the Gophers won their first two games of the season by shutout since 1936 when Bud Wilkerson blanked Carleton (7-0 on Dec. 11, 1936) and Dartmouth (2-0 on Dec. 29, 1936). It was also the first time that Minnesota won its first two games of the season by shutout on back-to-back days since 1933 when it beat North Dakota (4-0 on Jan. 13, 1933 and 9-0 on Jan. 14, 1933).

Patterson, who was named All-WCHA Second Team last year as a junior, recorded the Gophers' first shutout since Alex Kangas made 26 saves to beat Colorado College 3-0 on Feb. 19, 2010 (span of 44 games between shutouts). Patterson's 20 saves were the fewest needed by a Gopher goalie since Kellen Briggs also made 20 saves on Oct. 27, 2006 in a 3-0 win against Colorado College. The last Minnesota netminder to make less than 20 saves in a shutout was Jeff Frazee who made only 10 saves in a 4-0 win against Alaska Anchorage on Feb. 25, 2006. Patterson became the first Minnesota goaltender to shutout the same opponent on consecutive nights since Adam Hauser whitewashed Alaska Anchorage in the WCHA playoffs on March 12-13, 1999.

Patterson was also named Co-Defensive Player of the Week last season for the week of Dec. 14 after going 1-0-1 with a 1.92 goals-against average and a .951 save percentage against No. 2 Minnesota Duluth.

Jake Hansen and Sam Warning were nominated for Offensive Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week, but were not recognized. Hansen is tied with one other player for first in the nation with six points, while Warning is tied with three other players for first in the nation among freshmen with four points.

Saturday's Game To Air On Alternate Channel

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Per FOX Sports North:

Residents of the State of Hockey have no need to worry about missing the Gophers or Wild this Saturday night, as FOX Sports North will be broadcasting both games live.

The broadcast of the Wild vs. Red Wings game will begin at 6:30 p.m. with Wild Live Pregame presented by Century Link on the regular channel. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. on an alternate channel will be Gophers Live Pregame presented by Century Link.

A list of alternate channel listings for the Gopher Hockey game can be found here.

Gophers In the Pros - Week Five

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Minnesota Vikings' cornerback Marcus Sherels excelled on Sunday as his team's punt returner. His contributions on special teams included two big punt returns in the first quarter to get the Vikings off to another strong start.

The first return was 23 yards after the Arizona Cardinals' first possession. Sherels' second return of 22 yards set up the first touchdown drive of the game, the first of four Vikings' touchdowns that quarter.

"I love being a punt returner," Sherels reported to the Post-Bulletin. "The guys do a great job of blocking and it's a great scheme."

Minnesota was finally able to hold on to their lead and won their first game of the season 34-10 over the Cardinals.

Here's a look at the performance of other Gophers in the National Football League and the Canadian Football League:

  • Eric Decker, wide receiver for the Denver Broncos, recorded two receptions in Sunday's 29-24 loss to San Diego. Decker could be receiving from a new quarterback in the foreseeable future, given that Tim Tebow replaced Kyle Orton in the second half.
  • Chicago Bears' running back Marion Barber recorded one rush attempt for three yards and one reception for seven yards in the Bears' 24-13 loss to the undefeated Detroit Lions.
  • Tight end Matt Spaeth, also with the Bears, had one catch for eight yards in Chicago's Monday night loss.
  • Dominique Barber, safety for the Houston Texans was active but did not record any statistics as the Raiders won an emotional game 25-20 after the passing of owner Al Davis.
  • Logan Payne, wide receiver for the New York Jets, is still recovering from wrist surgery. The Jets fell to their rival New England 30-21.
  • In addition to those who were on active rosters, three former Gopher players spent week five of the NFL season on the practice squad for their respective teams. Offensive lineman Dominic Alford is on the practice team for the Cleveland Browns, cornerback Traye Simmons practices with the San Diego Chargers, and last year's quarterback Adam Weber is with the Denver Broncos.
  • In the CFL, wide receiver Arland Bruce had six receptions for 92 yards and one touchdown in the BC Lions' win on Saturday. The victory was the team's seventh straight win. Ernie Wheelwright, wide receiver for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, remains on the nine-game injured list with a knee injury.

Daily Clips - Oct. 11

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Scouting report on Jake Hansen and Seth Ambroz... (The Cannon via GopherState)

...and one on Zach Budish (OnTheForecheck via GopheState)

You know Phil Kessel had a hat trick the other day, but did you see all three goals? (YouTube)

Alex Goligoski and the Stars want to establish home dominance (Defending Big D)

Blog: Dunking 101 with Trevor Mbakwe

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To get ready for "Gopher All-Star Friday Night," this year's Gopher basketball Midnight Madness event (formerly known as Tubby's Tipoff), GopherSports.com caught up with Trevor Mbakwe at practice last week to ask him what he's going to do to follow up on his 2010 dunk contest championship.

Check it out and don't forget to come to Williams Arena this Friday night to watch this year's contest!

Gophers Inner Circle: Day One of the 2011-12 Season

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Photo Gallery of Practice 1


The University of Minnesota Golden Gopher wrestling team had its first day of practice today, in preparation for the 2011-12 season. Minnesota held its practice in the team wrestling room, which is located in the basement of the Bierman Athletic Building.

Coach J Robinson enters his 26th year as the commander and chief of the Gophers. Minnesota returns four All-Americans in seniors Zach Sanders (125 lbs.) and Sonny Yohn (197 lbs.). Sophomores Kevin Steinhaus (184 lbs.) and Tony Nelson (Hwt.) are the other All-Americans that return for the Gophers.. All four of them are team captains for the season.

With the season starting on Saturday November 12, (Bison Open) gophersports.com will bring you more updates leading up to the first match. Make sure to follow along on the twitter (@GopherWrestling) and facebook (Golden Gopher Wrestling) pages for photos, notes and information. 

Practice Report 10/6/11

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Here is a quick practice update on the University of Minnesota women's gymnastics team. Check out the end of the video to catch up with sophomore Justine Cherwink.

Welcome!

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Welcome to the Gopher women's basketball blog! More content coming soon.

Daily Clips - Oct. 10

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Vote For Kent! (Facebook)

Mike Guentzel, Nick Bjugstad make WCHA Watch List for 2011-12 (College Hockey News)

Gopher season preview (scroll all the way down) (College Hockey News)

You hear that Minnesota swept Sacred Heart? (Examiner.com)

Blake Wheeler took the first shot in history for the reborn Jets (Winnipeg Sun)

Cade Fairchild made his pro debut in the AHL and Jay Barriball had an assists for Peoria (Peoria Journal Star)

Jeff Taffe had two assists in Houston's win (Chicago Tribune)

Aaron Ness already has a goal for Bridgeport (Connecticut Post)

GWH Blog: In the News

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To start of our week, we'd be remiss if we didn't take a moment to wish our Canadian team members: Sarah Davis, Kelly Terry, Baylee Gillanders and coach Brad Frost, a Happy Thanksgiving!

Here are some weekend recaps from local newspapers:

Star Tribune, Oct. 8: Gophers top Huskies in WCHA Opener

Star Tribune, Oct. 9 (look for women's hockey info below volleyball)

Pioneer Press, Oct. 8

Pioneer Press, Charley Walters column Oct. 8 (you have to scroll down quite a bit, but there's a Rachel Ramsey note in there!)

Minnesota Daily, Oct. 10: Gophers rout St. Cloud State, sweep weekend series at home

Examiner.com, Oct. 8: Gophers drub St. Cloud State

Examiner.com, Oct. 9: Gophers pitch shutout and complete sweep

Daily Clips - Oct. 9

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Video highlights, photo gallery and story from Minnesota's season-opening sweep (GopherSports.com)

Our analysis of last night's win (GopherSports.com)

Minnesota's confidence growing? (Star Tribune)

Kent Patterson is perfect on the year (ESPN 1500 Twin Cities)

Thoughts on the sweep of Sacred Heart (GopherPuckLive) and their game recap (GopherPuckLive)

The Daily's perspective on the Gopher's win last night (Minnesota Daily)

Gophers win 6-0 (SB Nation)

Jake Hansen had four points last night (USCHO)

Pressure? Coach Lucia doesn't feel any (ESPN 1500 Twin Cities)

But he does like how hard the Gophers have been working this year (FSN)

Phil Kessel had a hat trick and an assist in Toronto's win last night (AP)

Keith Ballard looking good early (The Province)

Observations from Minnesota's 6-0 win over Sacred Heart

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Go Gophers! Celebration
Go Gophers!
The Gophers celebreate one of their 15 goals of the weekend.
Go Gophers!
Battle Hymn of the Republic

For the second straight year, Minnesota started off the year with a home sweep of an East Coast team. The Gophers took down Massachusetts twice at home last season and beat Sacred Heart on back-to-back nights this weekend. In 2010-11, UM pulled off four sweeps. Two of them came at home and two came on the road. The Gophers swept Colorado College on the road and Michigan at home and on the road, in addition to its victories over the Minutemen.

Hansen, Haula,  and Warning

UM's second line paid huge dividends on Saturday night, combining for 10 points. Erik Haula put up two goals and an assist, Sam Warning had a goal and two assists, and Jake Hansen chipped in with four helpers. The line combined for five points on Friday (and each player scored a goal) in the 9-0 win.

Not in Our Net

Minnesota posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time since March 10 and 11, 2006, when the team kept Minnesota-Duluth off the board in 7-0 and 2-0 wins. The Gophers also blanked Alaska-Anchorage 4-0 in the game before that. Kent Patterson earned his second career shutout and became the first goalie to record consecutive shutouts against the same team since Adam Hauser pulled off the feat on March 12 and 13, 1999 against Alaska-Anchorage at home. Patterson made 20 stops on each night.

Improvement on the Dots

Faceoffs were not one of the Gophers' strengths in 2010-11. The team won only 47.9 percent of its draws and Erik Haula was leader in faceoff percentage at among players who attempted more than 150 at 49.3 percent. This season has been different so far, as Minnesota has won 56.4 percent (75-for-133) of its faceoffs. Taylor Matson leads the team with 20 faceoff wins in two games.

New Game, New Faces

Christian Isackson and Nick Larson replaced Travis Boyd and Nico Sacchetti as Tom Serratore's linemates on UM's fourth line tonight and proved to be effective. Though they were held off the scoreboard, the trio did a good job preventing SHU from breaking out of the defensive zone. Also making his season debut tonight was Jake Parenteau, who filled in for Blake Thompson as Nate Schmidt's defensive partner. Parenteau played well, throwing his body around and breaking up multiple odd-man rushes.

Atlantic Hockey Opponents

The Gophers, who have been challenged by the young Atlantic Hockey Association in the past, exorcised some of their demons against the conference this weekend and improved their record against the AHA to 6-2-1 since the league began official play in 2003. It was the second time the Gophers have ever hosted an Atlantic Hockey opponent for a weekend series. Minnesota swept Niagara by scores of 7-1 and 5-2 in 2005-06.

Racking up the Shots and Making them Count

Minnesota attempted 188 shots in its sweep of SHU, putting 92 of those efforts on goal. The 92 shots gave way to 15 combined goals. It was the first time the Gophers scored 15 or more goals in their first two games of a season since 2000-01.

Jones' Return Bright Spot in Tough Day for Gophers

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Freshman Marcus Jones provided a couple of bright spots in an otherwise forgettable day for the Golden Gopher football team.

Go Gophers! Marcus Jones
Go Gophers!
Marcus Jones returned a kick 92 yards for the touchdown.
Go Gophers!
With the Gophers trailing 45-3 in the third quarter, the freshman out of Wake Forest, North Carolina fielded a kickoff and scampered 92 yards up the field to pay dirt to notch the Gophers first touchdown of the afternoon.

Jones' impressive return Saturday comes a week after he had a long kick return for a TD negated by a penalty at Michigan. Filling in for the second straight week for the injured Troy Stoudermire, Jones had 5 returns for 159 yards, including the 92-yard touchdown.

"On special teams we try to get big plays," said Jones. "At the time it gave us a little energy, a little motivation to keep playing when the odds were stacked against us."

Coach Kill, who has praised the freshman for his tenacity all season, gave him credit after the game.

"It was a big play," said Coach Kill. "The kids kept playing, and that's all we can do -- we have to keep coaching them and they have to keep playing."

But like it was for the rest of a young Gophers squad, Saturday was a learning opportunity for Jones. After being hit hard from behind after an incomplete pass during the fourth, Jones reacted with a shove and was flagged for a personal foul penalty. Kill said he pulled the freshman aside after the play.

"I called him over and said 'Those are things you can't do'," Kill said. "He was frustrated... You bring him over to the sidelines and say 'Look where we are now... You're playing hard and you're trying hard, but that's not very smart.'"

Jones also recounted the moment late in the game.

"Coach Kill said, even though you dropped the ball, it would have just been a loss of down... Now you set us back, and the very next play we gained 15, 16 17 yards and didn't get the first down.

"That showed me I had to learn from my mistake, and not make those kind of mistakes, no matter what situation we're in in the game." Jones said.

"We're teaching right now," said Kill. "That's all we can do, and that was a teaching moment for Marcus, and I'm certainly very confident he'll learn from that."

Daily Clips - Oct. 8

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Recaps and a boxscore from Minnesota's 9-0 win from us, us, us again, Star Tribune, ESPN 1500, Minnesota Daily, AP, USCHO, GopherPuckLive, SB Nation and Examiner.

Alex Goligoski scored in a win for Dallas and talked to the media after (Stars TV)

Nick Leddy scored Chicago's lone goal in the loss to Dallas (Chicago Sun-Times)

Thomas Vanek started the year with two goals and an assist (AP)

Colorado does not have a captain but Erik Johnson was given an A (Denver Post)

You see Keith Ballard's goal the other night? (Canucks TV)

Breaking the Ice and Spreading the Wealth

In their first games as Golden Gophers, freshmen Kyle Rau, Sam Warning, and Seth Ambroz notched their first collegiate goals and Blake Thompson and Travis Boyd got on the board with assists. In total 15 of 20 of the team's skaters recorded points on the night. Ben Marshall was the lone freshman to not record a point, hitting two pipes, but the quick defenseman did finish the game with a plus-5 rating.

Shots, Shots, Shots; Goals, Goals Goals

After missing several scoring opportunities in its exhibition against British Columbia, the Gophers had no problem burying the biscuit against Sacred heart. Minnesota put up 47 shots on goal and scored nine times for the first time since Oct. 30, 2011 in a 9-4 road win over Colorado College. It was the first time the Gophers won by nine in shutout fashion since taking down Union 9-0 in 2005.

Turning Back the Pioneers

Goaltender Kent Patterson recorded his first career shutout in his first start as a senior. Patterson made multiple stops in close, while the team was shorthanded and finished the game with 20 saves. It was the Gophers' first home-opening shutout since 1985-86 when the team started out by beating Michigan Tech 3-0.

Fan Support

Sacred Heart, like many Atlantic Hockey programs, is not used to playing in front of large crowds. With a home area that has a capacity of approximately 1,000, the largest crowd the program had ever played in front of prior to Friday night was 6,036 on Dec. 29, 2007 at Magness Arena in Denver. The Pioneers dropped a 5-2 decision to Northern Michigan in the Denver Cup consolation game that night. The Gophers-Pioneers game drew 8,458 fans.

Bjugstad on the Board

Sophomore Nick Bjugstad had a slow start to his freshman campaign, but made sure to get off on the right foot in his second year. The former Mr. Hockey Award winner notched two goals in the 2011-12 opener and almost came out with more points than that. SHU goalie Steven Legatto robbed Zach Budish and Nate Schmidt on one-timers in front that were set up by Bjugstad.

Power Play Struggles

Gophers tended to control the puck well, but had a hard time capitalizing and breaking back into the offensive zone after a Sacred Heart clear. SHU had the nation's worst penalty kill last year, killing only 70.6% of their penalties. Minnesota did break through on its sixth and final chance when Seth Ambroz buried a Nate Condon rebound to finish 1-for-6 on the man-advantage.

Q&A: Boiler Bytes

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Throughout the season I'll chat with a media member who covers the opponent each week and bring you that interview in a Q&A format here in the Golden Gopher Football Blog. This week, I talked to Kyle Meinke who covers the Michigan Wolverines for AnnArbor.com.

GopherSports.com: There's been some chatter about some dissension in the Purdue program early this week. Has any of that been a distraction for the Boilermakers?
Mike Carmin: Players and coaches say no, but anytime a comment like the one quarterback Robert Marve sent out on Twitter doesn't portray a program that has good team chemistry. Once those thoughts reach the public, questions start and usually don't stop, unless the on the field performance changes.  

GopherSports.com: Other than the aforementioned questions about dissension, what else has been the buzz around the program this week?
Mike Carmin: Just how the Boilermakers will respond after the loss to Notre Dame. It wasn't as much that Purdue lost, but how coach Danny Hope's team performed. They had 13 penalties, including six in the first quarter, after a week off and had some tackling issues. Most Purdue fans understand the Irish have more talent, but this series has been competitive over the years. Last week was not one of those times.  

GopherSports.com: Who or what has Purdue's attention when it comes to Minnesota?
Mike Carmin: Whether MarQueis Gray plays or not. He gives the Gophers a different dimension on offense, one that will be difficult for the Boilermakers to stop.  
 
GopherSports.com: Which team needs this 'W' more?
Mike Carmin: Both teams need one badly and both have circled this game. I think this is a game Purdue can't afford to lose since it's at home and the Gophers may be missing some key personnel. The Boilermakers are healthy and need to bounce back after last week.  

GopherSports.com: Who are some players on the Purdue side of things that Minnesota fans should keep an eye on?
Mike Carmin: On offense, quarterback Caleb TerBush is expected to start his fifth straight game but backup Robert Marve will see action. Running back Ralph Bolden didn't play in 2010 after a knee injury and is the team's leading rusher. On defense, tackle Kawann Short is having a good year and cornerbacks Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson are physical players. Always keep an eye on kicker Carson Wiggs, who is capable of making one from 60-yards plus.  

GopherSports.com: Are there any matchups or 'game-within-a-game' situations that are of particular interest to you this week?
Mike Carmin: How the Boilermakers handle Minnesota's passing offense. Regardless of who they're playing, it's been a struggle defending the pass. Purdue has allowed too many big plays and needs to find a way to get off the field on third down. The Boilermakers haven't apply much pressure on opposing quarterbacks and that needs to change. 

GopherSports.com: How does Purdue win the game?
Mike Carmin: Fewer penalties than last week and no turnovers. Establish a running game, which would allow the quarterbacks to thrive in the passing game. If Gray plays, they have to keep him in check. 

GopherSports.com: How does Minnesota win the game?
Mike Carmin: Gray plays and is able to exploit Purdue's defense on the ground. The Gophers shut down the Boilermakers' running game and force TerBush and Marve to win it through the air.  Coach Jerry Kill is no stranger to winning in Ross-Ade Stadium after leading Northern Illinois to a win in 2009.

2011-12 Hockey Intro Video

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See it here first, the 2011-12 Golden Gopher Hockey OFFICIAL INTRO VIDEO:


2011-12 Season Preview: Offense

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Before we drop the puck tonight against Sacred Heart, we preview Minnesota's offense. Find out who will be scoring for the Gophers this year.

Gopher Football Featured Prominently in NFF Footballetter

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National Football Foundation Footballetter

The National Football Foundation's monthly newsletter for October arrived in my office recently. It was a great reminder of the University of Minnesota's significance in the history of college football. The issue had numerous references to the Golden Gophers.

Go Gophers! Sandy Stephens
Go Gophers!
Sandy Stephens was the first African American to be named All-America at the quarterback position.
Go Gophers!

I'll summarize Minnesota's inclusion in the Fotballetter here in the blog. But you can click the link above if you want to see the entire issue.

The cover story for this month's Footballetter is in regard to the 2011 College Football Hall of Fame class, which will be inducted December 6 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. Included in this year's Hall of Fame class is former Gopher great Sandy Stephens.

Stephens played quarterback at Minnesota from 1959-61. He was the first African American to be named All-America at the quarterback position. Stephens is still the only Gopher quarterback to ever lead his team to the Rose Bowl, accomplishing that feat in both 1960 and 1961.

Stephens' inclusion in the Hall of Fame signifies the initial struggles, then triumphs African Americans had in gaining acceptance at the quarterback position, according to the newsletter.

"There were some other black Big Ten quarterbacks, but Sandy was the first to be as successful as he was," former Gopher fullback Judge Dickson (and Stephens' roommate) said. "We rose from last in the Big Ten to first in the nation. Sandy called his own plays against multiple defenses. A check down was normal for him and us. This was at a time when blacks were stereotyped: black people were not smart enough or were not intelligent enough; they couldn't remember plays, and couldn't command an offense. We disproved all of that."

There's a great deal more on Stephens in the Fotballetter. Be sure to click the link above to read more about Stephens and his inclusion in the College Football Hall of Fame.

In addition to the information on Sandy Stephens' induction, NFF Historian and former Sports Illustrated writer Dan Jenkins has an article in the Footballetter detailing what he chronicles as the 20 greatest plays in college football history, many of which he witnessed with his own eyes.

Among those top 20 plays were two by Minnesota and both were huge in the annals of Gopher Football.

The first Minnesota play Jenkins referred to took place Oct. 20, 1934 in Pittsburgh, Pa. Here's what Jenkins wrote about that game:

"In what was called 'a battle of bludgeoning monsters' - that would your Minnesota and your Pitt - one trick play decided the national title. Tied 7-7 with time dwindling away and the ball on Pitt's 18-yard line, the snap goes to Minnesota quarterback Glen Seidel. He gives it to Stan Kostka, the fullback. Kostka plows into the line, but he doesn't have the ball. He's flipped it back to Seidel, who in turn flips it to Pug Lund, the All-America halfback. Pitt's defense by now is so confused, it doesn't notice Bob Tenner, the Gopher end, standing alone on the goal, waiting for Lund's touchdown pass. Minnesota 13, Pitt 7."

The other Gopher football play to make Jenkins' list took place Nov. 9, 1940 in Minneapolis. Here's Jenkins' account:

"Another Poll Bowl, as they came to be known. It was reasonable to assume that on a dry field Tom Harmon and Michigan would have prevailed. But there's rain and mud all day, and with the Wolverines ahead 6-0 it was time for Minnesota's Bruce Smith to show why he'd follow Harmon as a Heisman Trophy winner a year later. Smith runs a sweep to his left, cuts back into the middle, shakes off two guys, then flat runs over the last Michigan tackler at midfield, and continues in the drizzle - and 80-yard touchdown. Minnesota 7, Michigan 6."

In addition, we want to throw a shoutout to Sean Gothier of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation. Gothier was recognized as the Midwest Region winner of the NFF Chapter Leadership Award.

"These five honorees represent the best of our efforts to engage supporters at the grassroots level," NFF President and CEO Steven J. Hatchell said.

Click the link above to read all about Gothier's dedication to the NFF and his background.

Alternate Captains Named for 2010-11 Season

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Redshirt sophomore Zach Budish and seniors Jake Hansen and Joey Miller will serve as alternate captains for the Minnesota men's hockey team for the 2011-12 season, coach Don Lucia announced today. The trio will join senior captain Taylor Matson in leading the Gophers this year.

"Our players voted for the alternate captains, and I think they picked three very good leaders", said Lucia. "Zach, Jake and Joey each bring different and unique leadership skills to the dressing room and the ice. However, one thing they have in common is that they are all very hard workers and are of high character. They will do a fine job of helping Taylor lead the team this year."

Budish had six points in seven games last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury in late October. Hansen is the team's leading returning goal scorer with 11 tallies last year. Miller is the team's oldest player at 24. He has three points in 42 career games.  

Photo Gallery


Head Coach J Robinson aka "Salty Dog 6" has returned from Kuwait, after helping out with some US troops. Robinson spent a total of nine days overseas, which included his traveling time. He primarily was with the 1st Brigade Combat Team 34th Infantry Division 'Red Bulls'.

This was the second time coach Robinson made the trip, his last was in 2009, right around this time. Robinson says the overall purpose about going over there, was to thank the troops in person and spend some time with them.

"The biggest thing is being able to put your boots on the ground with them," Robinson said. "I wanted to hang out with them and thank them in person. It is different when you go over and thank them over there in person."

40 years ago Robinson was serving over in Vietnam and he made a note that when people came over to talk to you, it really helps breaking things up.

"You lose track of days over there," Robinson said. "It is important to hear the message from different voices."

While in Kuwait, coach spent different session talking with troops in seminars, giving small wrestling clinics, singed autographs and even stepped foot inside a A Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP), which is the United States Marine Corps in use by the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, and Special Operations Forces with the goal of surviving IED attacks and ambushes.

He wanted to eat, sleep and all that stuff, just like the troops. He wanted to be one the guys.

Coach is back in the wrestling office and ready to get things underway for the 2011-12 season. Check out the photos that were taken in Kuwait as well as a little video highlight. 

2011 Season Preview: Defense and Goaltending

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Since the season begins this weekend, we wanted to give you another inside look at the 2011-12 Gopher hockey team. We've put together a short two-part video preview of this year's squad -- today, it's the defense and goaltenders! Tomorrow, we'll preview the key offensive players.

Let us know what you think - how excited are you for the start of the season?

Daily Clips - Oct. 6

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The multi-talented @1500ESPNJudd was at media availability and has a notebook work of goodies (1500 ESPN Twin Cities)

Gophers-Pioneers preview (Minnesota Daily)

Morning Skate with Taylor Matson (GopherSports.com)

Gophers should have skill and grit on top lines (Western College Hockey)

Stu Bickel cleared waivers but stayed with NYR in Europe (NHL.com)

A healthy Keith Ballard is excited about the upcoming season (Vancouver Sun)

Ballard: "The stigma is gone that college players don't transfigure into good NHL players" (NHL.com)

Alex Goligoski is part of the new core in Dallas (Dallas Morning News)

Toronto media think Phil Kessel needs to score 40 for the team to have a good year (Toronto Star)

Coming Off Tough Loss, Gophers Need "Short-Term Memory"

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Senior defensive tackle Brandon Kirksey has been through some tough times in his four years with the Gopher Football program.

Kirksey was part of a 3-9 season in 2010, where he saw his head coach dismissed mid-season. He was even suspended from the team for a week after last year's 52-10 loss to Ohio State. But it sounds as though Kirksey has learned from those experiences and is one of the guys the Gophers can count on, even though times have been tough once again this season.


"It's a heavy burden," Kirksey said. "Last year, we didn't do so good. I had to carry that burden. This year, we're not doing so good, so it's still a burden. But it's a learning experience. You try to have a short-term memory. You just get over the hump and continue to work hard."

Kirksey has clearly been listening to head coach Jerry Kill when he talks about his philosophies in regard to adversity.

"You always find out who you have on your side in adverse environments," Kirksey said. "When things are bad you find out who your real soldiers are. That's even in life. Your family and friends ... when things are going bad in life, you find out who your real family and friends are. That's what we're dealing with now."

Coach Kill stated Tuesday that he's looking for a "fight-back mentality." It sounded like he feels Kirksey is one of the guys giving him that. Kirksey reiterated that when he talked about how he is dealing with things so far this season.

"I just know there's light on the other side," Kirksey said. "So I just continue to fight, continue to fight. I know a lot of guys look up to me. So I choose to hide the bad that I feel about it and look at it as optimistic about the good things that can happen. Continue to stress to them that if we keep working, we can beat a team that we want to beat. It's just not getting yourself down, not beating yourself up. Just have that short-term memory and continue to play and practice."

Senior offensive lineman Chris Bunders agreed with that mentality.

"Hopefully if we just stay on the course and keep going, we'll be fine," Bunders said.

Game Time with Grimm: Minnesota-Purdue Preview

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The voice of Gopher football, Mike Grimm, previews Saturday's match-up at Purdue with five key points:

1. GRAY'S HEALTH: The health of No. 1 quarterback MarQueis Gray will be the No. 1 discussion topic this week. A healthy Gray adds a playmaker to a team that is a bit shy on big play weapons. Minnesota's offense looked anemic at Michigan last week without Gray as an option.

2. DESPERATE TIMES: This is a matchup of two desperate teams, who might look at this weekend's tilt as their best chance to get a victory and get one fast. Minnesota begins a brutal four-game stretch following Saturday (Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Wisconsin). And, Purdue's upcoming six-game slate isn't exactly a cakewalk (Penn State, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Iowa). The most desperate team will almost certainly win on Saturday.

3. TACKLING: One of the bigger disappointments of the season so far for the Gophers is the lack of improvement in tackling. The team was a poor-tackling team a year ago and things haven't gotten a lot better. Poor positioning, poor angles, and poor technique, all equates to poor results. Minnesota has got to tackle to win.

4. GRAB A LEAD AND HOLD IT: Do you know the last time a Golden Gopher football team has won a game in which it hasn't trailed? Well, it was at Purdue on October 25th, 2008! The Gophers have trailed in every game since then - all 35 contests - even in the ten games they've won since then, they've trailed at some point. It'd be nice to get a wire-to-wire win this weekend West Lafayette.

5. ALL-ACCESS RADIO:  Gopher Radio Network sideline reporter Justin Gaard is provided exclusive locker room access and talks to head coach Jerry Kill after every game. It is worth the listen! Hope you'll join the entire crew for the broadcast from Ross Ade Stadium on Saturday on the Gopher Radio Network presented by AlarmForce!

Thank you all who have been following Coach J Robinson's daily blogs from overseas. Please continue to check back for more Gopher Wrestling updates during the season.

 

This well be the last transmission from Salty Dog 6 from Kuwait.

I wanted to wait till the last transmission to say thank you to the person that made it all happen.
I am getting ready to roll out (that the phrase they keep telling me), we are going to roll out at 0700 tomorrow. In a few minutes they will pick me up and will finish the day and the program we started 7 days ago.

I thought it only appropriate for me to direct some  last thoughts on the last day about the person that made this all happen.

Bear with me.

Different things effect us all in different ways. My generation and my family was effected by the trying times of the 60's and the Vietnam War. All my brothers plus myself served in Vietnam. Everyone who serve brought different things away from the experience  both good and bad. My college coach told me once that you need to have a philosophy about wrestling, he said know how the pieces fit together. Over the years those thoughts from Coach Roderick has gone into me developing an over all philosophy about life.

Parts of my philosophy comes from impact of Vietnam  Below is one part of the philosophy that came about

# 1. Understand who you work for. If your in it for 95% and their only in it for 40 % you will never go over 40%.

I wanted to thanks the man that has made this all possible because has been in it 100% both times and did what was necessary to get me here. This is the person that made it happen both times because the final decision weather I came was his.

Maj General Rick Nash is that person and he Commands of the Minnesota National.

In 2009 when Chaplain Morris first hatched this idea to bring me to Iraq the decision to allow me in country rested  in the hands of General Nash. Gen Nash trusted in Chaplain Morris said it was a go and brought me to Iraq. I didn't get to meet the General until the last day in 2009 but have enjoy watching the way he interacts with his men and women ever since.

Gen Nash for those that do not know him lives the life of getting involved with his job and life and with the National Guard by taking care of his soldiers.

I thought you should all know without his approval Salty Dog 6  would not be here today. I think the incite I have gain and in some part have been able to send back to you over the course of the last 7 days hopefully has made us all a little bit more aware of what our soldiers go though and do for us.

Thanks General Nash for allowing me come again. It has been good for us all

As they say here ................ I have to roll out and go to work.

I'll see you all soon back in the world.

Salty Dog 6

Daily Clips - Oct. 5

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Weekend preview and video analysis from Wally Shaver (GopherSports.com)

AUDIO: Don Lucia Radio Show on ESPN 1500 Twin Cities from Monday (GopherSports.com)

Another recap from Sunday's win (GopherHole)

Phil Kessel and 40 (Toronto Star)

Blake Wheeler: man on a mission (London Free Press)

Alex Goligoski could hit 55 points this season (USA Today)

Erik Johnson talks headshots (AP)

Video game version of Erik Johnson with a hipcheck (YouTube)

Get to Know Your Gophers: Brandon Kirksey

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KFAN personality and Gopher Radio Network sideline reporter Justin Gaard quizzes Gophers defensive tackle Brandon Kirksey on teammates, campus dining and much more in the newest installment of "Get to Know Your Gophers."

Gold Line with Wally Shaver: Sacred Heart preview

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Each week throughout the 2011-12 season on GopherSports.com, Gopher Radio Network play-by-play man Wally Shaver will provide unique insight into the Gophers in a new video segment we're calling "Gold Line with Wally Shaver." Wally will both look back at the previous weekend's results and look ahead to the upcoming series.

This week, Wally tells us what we can take away from Sunday night's exhibition win over British Columbia and takes a look at the Gophers' early schedule against the Pioneers and UMD.

Give it a view and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Kill Remains Positive, Welcomes Challenge

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Coach Kill 10.4.11 Press Conference Transcript

Watch a replay of the press conference in Gopher All Access

Head coach Jerry Kill appreciates a challenge. He's told me (and others) in the past that he believes the good Lord put him on earth to tackle difficult tasks like some of the programs he's turned around in the past. We all know some of the personal challenges he's overcome as well.

Go Gophers! Michigan Stadium
Go Gophers!
Jerry Kill says he doesn't shy away from a challenge.
Go Gophers!

The Gophers own a 1-4 overall record and are coming off 58-0 loss to Michigan that was one of the worst losses in the history of the program. As Kill has said repeatedly since he took over back in December, there is a culture that needs to be changed within the Minnesota Football program.

Make no mistake, that's a challenge, according to Kill.

"A lot of people go, "Coach, are you negative?  Are you down?"  No," Kill said during his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon. "It's a challenge.  It's a great challenge.  I came in Sunday and we went to work.  Hey, this is what we've got to do, man.  Here it is. It's the same thing every place I've ever been. It's a tough job for tough people and tough times.

 "I'm trying to change a mentality that's been embedded a little bit, and that's not easy to do," Kill added.  "Shoot, we're working at it.  I can tell you that."

All Coach Kill is looking for out his team are young men who are going to play hard. In fact he met with his staff recently and they discussed virtually every player on the roster in an effort to find the ones who are going to give the kind of effort Kill expects.

"I went through each kid and said first of all, we need to make sure we're putting the right people out there," Kill said of that meeting. "Second of all, does this guy play hard?  Is football important to him?  How does he feel?  I didn't even ask them if they were scholarship players or red-shirt players or what year they were.  I just want to know who is giving us effort, who wants to play hard, and that's who we're going to play."

That group will be the team of Gophers Coach Kill takes with him to West Lafayette, Ind. this weekend for Minnesota's Big Ten Conference matchup with Purdue.

"We played Purdue a couple years ago where I was before," Kill said. "So we've got a good idea (what to expect from the Boilermakers). Again, right now, it wouldn't matter who we were playing.  I'm more concerned about us than I am any of that.

"Right now we've got to worry about our kids mentally thinking that we've got to do what we need to do to get better," Kill added. "I think that is the biggest challenge we've got.  We've got to get them mentally ready to play this game."

Saturday's game is slated for 11:01 a.m. CT. The contest will be broadcast on ESPN.

Gophers In the Pros - Week Four

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Running back Marion Barber made his debut with the Chicago Bears Sunday after being sidelined with an injured calf for the first three weeks of the NFL season.  His five carries for 17 yards and a touchdown helped boost the Bears' running game against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.

Barber's touchdown in the fourth quarter sealed the 34-29 victory for Chicago, an important win following back-to-back losses against New Orleans and Green Bay. His game complemented teammate Matt Forte's 205 rushing yards and contributed to the Bears' 224 total rushing yards, the most they've had in a game since 1988.

"Marion was finally healthy, was able to come out and contribute, and he did a great job out there," Forte said of his teammate.

Here's a look at the performance of other Gophers in the National Football League and the Canadian Football League from this weekend: 

  • Wide receiver Eric Decker continues to prove himself as a weapon in the red zone for the Denver Broncos.  He had five catches for 56 yards and two of Denver's three touchdowns on Sunday against the Packers. Unfortunately, it was not enough to stop the defending Super Bowl champions, who won 49-23.
  • Dominique Barber, safety for the Houston Texans, was active but did not record any statistics in the Texans' big 17-10 win over Pittsburgh.
  • Vikings' cornerback Marcus Sherels was active but did not record any statistics as Minnesota lost 22-17 to the Kansas City Chiefs. Minnesota dropped to 0-4 on the year.
  • Nate Triplett, linebacker with the Indianapolis Colts, was active but did not record any statistics in the Colts 24-17 loss to Tampa Bay on Monday night.
  • Matt Spaeth, Chicago Bears' tight end, was inactive with a calf injury for the Bears week four victory.
  • New York Jets' wide receiver Logan Payne remains inactive due to wrist surgery. The Jets fell to the Ravens 34-17.
  • In addition to those who were on active rosters, three former Gopher players spent the fourth week of NFL season on the practice squad for their respective teams. Offensive lineman Dominic Alford is on the Cleveland Browns' practice team, cornerback Traye Simmons is with the San Diego Chargers, and last year's quarterback Adam Weber practices with the Denver Broncos.
  • In the CFL, wide receiver Arland Bruce had no receptions but did record one tackle in the BC Lions victory on Saturday. Ernie Wheelwright, wide receiver for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, remains on the nine-game injured list with a knee injury.

Daily Clips - Oct. 4

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The Emperor listed to Don Lucia's radio last night on ESPN 1500 Twin Cities last night and has what you need to know (Star Tribune)

Get to know this week's opponent: Sacred Heart (USCHO.com)

Lengthy season preview (Gopher Puck Live)

Seth Ambroz and Jake Hansen get a mention in the CBJ Prospect Review (Fire The Cannon)

Erik Johnson primed for a big season (USA Today)

"Watch for Alex Goligoski to take the Western Conference by storm this season" (Pro Hockey Talk)

Thomas Vanek's spoken words transcribed from Europe (Sabres.com) or you can listen to Vanek as well (WGR550.com)

Stu Bickel still with the Rangers (Newsday)

Alex Kangas working out in Wheeling (Wheeling News-Register)

Blog: Welcome!

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Welcome to the official Gopher men's basketball blog! More updates will be coming soon to GopherSports.com -- check back often!

Q/A With Drew Paradis

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GS:  Use five words to describe yourself.
DP: Responsible, Caring, Diligent, Self-Disciplined, Honest

GS: Describe your perfect day - who would you spend it with, what would you do, where would you be?
DP: I would spend it with either my family or my close friends and we would enjoy a day on the lake skiing, tubing, and just hanging out on the water. Or we would be camping on the North Shore up by Grand Marais, MN. Either way it's a great day!

GS: What is your pre-race routine?
DP: I wake up and go for a shakeout run, I eat a light breakfast...or lunch 3.5-4 hours before race time. Then I get cleaned up and everything packed and ready and then double check to make sure I have my spikes and jersey. Many times I then wait and relax, and read a book or my Bible.

GS: Other than the Gophers, what is your favorite sports team? (College or Pro)
DP: Though they have both broken my heart in the past couple of seasons, I love the Twins and the Vikings. Good times are coming for them.

GS: What do you miss the most about being at home?
DP: Hands down...My Mom's cooking is the best! In the summer I miss the lakes as well.

GS: Who was the most famous person you have ever met?
DP: Hassan Mead! Look at him...he's a stud.

GS: If your life was to be turned into a movie, what genre would it be; what would the title be; what actor would you have star in it?
DP: It would be an action movie...some crazy adventure. Title is still up in the air, but Matt Damon has signed on for the part.

GS: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
DP: If I could go anywhere, I would travel to Europe to see all of the incredible history and architecture over there. Oh and I bet the food would be pretty good.

GS: What is the best advice you have received? Who was it from?
DP: The best advice I have ever received has always come from my Dad. Some of the advice that he has given me is to be a man of integrity and to put forth my best effort no matter what is necessary.

GS: What are you listening to on your iPod right now?

DP: Phil Wickham

 

GS: If you had the choice to travel either forward or backward in time, which would you choose? Why?
DP: I would have to agree with Sean Olson's Response to move forward in time, because I know there are many Superbowl's in the future for the Minnesota Vikings.

GS: Where is your favorite place at the University of Minnesota?
DP: My favorite place to run is probably River Road. It's so nice to run there during the fall and spring.

GS: What is your major? Why did you choose this major?
DP: I am a Kinesiology major. I chose this because I am really interested in learning about the movement of the human body. And it will prepare me for Physical Therapy grad school.

GS: What is the first thing you think about when you wake up?
DP: Should I hit snooze?

GS: Do you have any siblings? How many?
DP: I have an awesome older sister, Megan who works for NDSU and I don't see nearly enough, because of our busy schedules.

GS: What is your favorite class or professor so far at Minnesota, and why?
DP: Anatomy lab and lecture were both great classes. I loved learning about the human body and seeing how it all works together. It's amazing! Plus who wouldn't like studying with Mike Torchia and Mike Shelendich?

GS: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
DP: If I had to eat only one thing, I would choose to eat Spaghetti, because it is always delicious meal.

GS: Who was your role-model as a child? Why? Has your role model changed now that you are older?
DP: Though I have had certain people during different times in life that I have looked up to, my parents have always been my role-models in life. I respect them so much for whom they are and their unconditional love and kindness for everyone around them.

GS: How has being a student and athlete at Minnesota influenced your life?
DP: Being a student at Minnesota has obviously influenced my life in many ways, because I am getting my education here and I usually learn something new every day from class and everyday experiences. As an athlete competing as a Gopher, it has been an amazing journey thus far where I have been surrounded by some great brothers (my teammates), and I have learned that in life you get knocked down and back...a lot. But your true character is seen with the response of getting up, learning, and pushing forward towards your goals.

Go Gophers!

Daily Clips - Oct. 3

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Roundup of recaps from Minnesota's 3-0 exhibition win last night from us, more us, blog recap from us and a photo gallery

More recaps from Minnesota Daily, ESPN 1500 Twin Cities and USCHO

Blake Wheeler likes hearing "Go Jets Go" (NHL.com)

TSN peg's Wheeler as Winnipeg's potential breakout player (TSN.com)

Pro Hockey Talk says the same about Nick Leddy (Pro Hockey Talk)

Phil Kessel: shy guy and party host (Toronto Star)

A comfortable Paul Martin should result in more points (PittsburghLive.com)

Thomas Vanek and the Sabres getting used to being in Europe (WGRZ)

Paul Holmgren does a Q&A (Philly.com)

Alex Kangas heading to Wheeling? (Penguins Insider)

Jeff Taffe with a shootout goal (Houston Chronicle)

Ryan Potulny is a reason why the Hershey Bears are stacked with talent (CitizensVoice)

Gophers Inner Circle: Coach Robinson in Kuwait Day #6

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Salty Dog 6 here

I have been here 6 days and have to say the time has gone extremely fast. We are heading back from "The Rock" a camp in the southern part of Kuwait about an hour's drive from Camp Airifjan. If I can get this done I can get an extra hour of sleep. For those that know my driving habits, NO, I'm not driving, I can't text or use the phone kuz the phone doesn't work here and no, there are no sunflower seeds.  As usual we are followed by our PSC detail and they have been great this entire stay. It is interesting to hear their perspective on on some of the groups and individuals they have been tasked to provide security for in the past.

The Rock is an Air Force base that the US shares with the Kuwait Air Force that is south of Kuwait City. There is a detachment of Red Bulls soldiers stationed there so that is why we were at an AF base. The base has a road sign like in the Movie "Mash" that states the distance to all the major locations in the US. Since there is a consignment of Minnesota soldiers assigned to The Rock, the sign reads 6740 miles to Minnesota. Of course you guessed it. I had to have my picture taken besides it. I'm sure that every American unit no matter where they were or what war they have fought in had a similar sign somewhere in their company area.

The morning started out with a church service with Chaplin Winn and then a meet and greet after the service for solders to stop by for some coffee and a chance eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee to visit.  All these e's are the results of dozing off in the SUV on the way back. We are on the way back. Sorry about that

The other group that we had an opportunity to speak with was the senior officers of the Air Force that run" the Rock". We are usually not around the other sister services and each base tends to identify certain branches of the service. The Rock, (Air Force), Airifjan, (Army), Virginia (Army)

Most of the soldiers that I speak with are young and you can see the pride that they have when I tell them that they are very special for what they are doing for our country. I know that I am getting old when they all look so young for what they are doing. You cannot help to imanage looking at some of these young men and women that tomorrow they well be sitting behind a 50 cal machine gun in a vehicle on a road somewhere in Iraq providing fire power for their buddies and a convoy. Most people will never know what they are doing or what they have done and they do not think it is a big deal.

I would be a missed if as a formed soldier I did not comment about the food and its quality. The food has been and will always be one of the greatest sources of complaining and on the other side of psychology one of the biggest morale building tools any Army has. General Grant (Civil War) once said that "an army travels on its stomach", disrupt the food source and you disrupt the army... You can work soldiers pretty hard and if they have good food/chow, the complaints concerning everything goes down. There is a direct correlation between the morale of the troops and their food. Go figure. Wrestlers get this.

A Sound Defensive Game

Under returning associate head coach Mike Guentzel, the Gopher defensive corps looked to be much improved overall. Tonight's group of Seth Helgeson, Justin Holl, Mark Alt, Ben Marshall, Jake Parenteau, Blake Thompson, and Chris Student help hold British Columbia zero shots on goal in the first period.

More Improvement on the Blueline

The defensemen were also aggressive offensively, making several rushes into the offensive zone. The Gophers attempted a lot of shots from the point and players like Mark Alt, Justin Holl, Ben Marshall, and Chris Student were not afraid to carry the puck deep into the offensive zone.

Filling the Aaron Ness Void

Speaking of Marshall, the Mahtomedi-native looked like a valid replacement for Aaron Ness on the blueline. Though he is one of the team's smallest defenders, he showed that he can make up for his lack of size with quick bursts on the backcheck and good defensive anticipation. He also showed the ability to make opponents miss while making rushes up the ice and displayed his superb vision with a couple blueline-to-blueline passes.

Replacing Cepis?

Jacob Cepis was good goal-scorer and a pesky player to deal with last year--certainly a player who will be hard to replace. However, two of the Gophers' freshman forwards, Kyle Rau and Sam Warning, showed some promising similarities to Cepis tonight. Both players showed a fearlessness that will help them deal with the physical WCHA style of play as well as a few signs of playmaking ability. Warning tallied two assists, including one on Jake Hansen's game-winning goal. 

Goaltending

Though they weren't tested much, the Minnesota goaltenders showed they will be up to the task this season. Kent Patterson wasn't phased by the absence of shots faced in the first period and stopped all three shots he faced, while Mike Shibrowski turned way all seven Thunderbird shots that came his way. The highlight of the night between the pipes was Shibrowski's save on a Cole Wilson one-timer in the second period that forced the Colorado College transfer to move quickly across the crease. Shibrowski finished the night with seven saves.

Oct. 2 Line Charts and Live Blog

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Follow all the action tonight in our live blog here!

The Gophers play their one exhibition game tonight against the University of British Columbia at 7 p.m. at Mariucci Arena. Line charts for both teams are available in .pdf format.

10.02.11 Minnesota lines vs UBC.pdf

10.02.11 UBC lines vs Minnesota.pdf


GWH Blog: World Girl's Hockey Day

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USA Hockey joined with hockey federations around the world on today for the first-ever World Girls' Hockey Day, created by the International Ice Hockey Federation to help grow girls' youth hockey.

World Girls' Hockey Day introduces females of all ages to hockey in a positive, fun and safe environment while helping them learn about hockey opportunities in their communities. The day also promotes fair play, sportsmanship, teamwork and making new friends while playing hockey. Activities range from American Development Model (ADM) clinics, Mother/Daughter skates, Meet & Greet skates with teams and Try Hockey for Free opportunities.

Seventy-six local hockey associations in the U.S. are hosting an event today in celebration of World Girls' Hockey Day.

Several members of the U.S. Women's National Team Program will join in the celebration, including current Gophers Anne Schleper and Jen Schoullis, who participated in a Mother/Daughter skate with the Shakopee Youth Hockey Association. Former Gopher Gigi Marvin was a U.S. National Team player who participated in the Waltham Youth Hockey Association's Try Hockey for Free event in Waltham, Mass.


Gophers Inner Circle: J Robinson Day 5

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Got to sleep in till 630 when Brad the Chaplains assistant came by to pick up my computer. I move over to the troop side of the base so I could be closer to the Mn National Guard guys so I am in an open bay troop building that has 7bunk beds so I have  a lot of room to stretch out. We had an all day workshop today that was set up to help the soldiers do some goal setting writing plus a part that deals with them developing their own personal philosophy. It began at 0800 and lasted till 1600 (4:00PM). We had about 40 soldiers, airmen and a couple of sailors from the Navy. They actually had a lot of writing to do as they had to go through an entire goal setting exercise by planning out their life for the next 10 years. In addition to the goal setting they had to create their own personal philosophy (like a company mission statement) that well guides them through life.

They all got workbooks for the exercises and a couple of them commented that doing the goal setting part was harder than they thought it was going to be because it made them really think about what they wanted to do with their life. The Brigade Commander and his Sgt Major attended the workshop the entire day which was a nice touch of support for the program. Having the Commanding Officer devote an entire day to the workshop was a big statement of what he thought about potential of the workshop and what it could do for his soldiers.

 LTC Rogers who is the garrison Commander here at Camp Airframe found me at dinner with the intent of giving me his unit coin... LTC Rogers is the Ranger I wrote about on the first day that we swapped Ranger stories. His unit coin just came in and he wanted to make sure I got it. He said this way he would not have to mail it to me.

The Army has a tradition that each unit has a coin that represents their unit. It is a sign of respect when the unit Commander or Sgt Major greets people they give a hand shake with the coin in their hand and passes it on to the person begin greeted/honor/etc. LTC Rogers asked if I knew where the tradition began and I didn't (story to follow) so he shared the story with me.

They have had me on the go since I got here. Chaplin Winn has been doing a great job in getting me in front of a lot of different groups and the Commanders of those groups seem very appreciative for the support. Chaplin Winn is not only in charge of me in which he spends most of his waking hours but he has regular responsibilities duties to perform as well.

Speaking of Chaplin Winn when I speak to a lot of the group they ask how I get motivated some days when I don't want to go to work and you just find yourself going though the motives. My response is you fake it until you make it. When I am in camp during the summer when there are days like that I tell them this story. When I get up I drive my jeep in to work because the wind and the openness seems to be refreshing.  I then put in a Lady Ga Ga CD with Poker face on it and start singing or in my wife's view mumbling or bellowing along. By the time I get to work I am generally in a better mood. Great music but I cannot endorse the singer...weird anyone, ding dong? Is she all here?)

They always play the rouser when they introduce you but this time they played Poker Face and the group went nuts when we told them the story.

 

Most of the soldiers do not have coins I would assume because of the cost but they have shared other things with me. I was talking with one wrestler/soldiers in the mess hall and he was wearing a 1st Calvary patch on his right shoulder (if you see a patch on a soldiers right sleeve it means he is allow to wear the patch of the unit he served in combat with, thus it is known as there combat sleeve) and I mention that served with one of the Cav units in Vietnam. He wanted to take off his patch in the mess hall and give it to me.

Another wrestler/soldier that attended one of the Combative seminars and one of the open huddles (just a time we sit around and shoot the bull) before he left it was important to him that he give me something. He took off his sniper tab (means he is sniper qualifier) from his uniform and gave it to me. You could tell it was something that he was quite proud of.  It was such a simple act that was touching and pretty cool.

I wish the American people could see some coverage on the attitude that these soldiers bring to what they are doing here. These soldiers are positive and ready to do whatever their command asks them to do.

These soldiers are really upbeat and excited to see and just talk to you. They are always thanking you for coming to see them. Actually it is they that should be getting the thank you's from us  for the mission they are accomplishing.

Heading back down to Camp Virginia tomorrow. LTC BoBo has 2 commands there and we got to one yesterday and we will get the other tomorrow plus there is another group at the ALS that we missed and will hit.

Daily Clips - Oct. 2

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Lots of exhibition games in the WCHA this weekend including one at Mariucci Arena (Star Tribune)

Speaking of today's game on campus, you can watch it in All Access on GopherSports.com (GopherSports.com)

UBC assistant coach says his team will be ready for the Gophers (@tkuntzy)

You see our video of four Gophers previewing the season from Media Day? (YouTube)

Alex Goligoski, "Never panics. He holds onto it for that extra second to make a play. He was almost like a fourth forward for us." (AP)

Jeff Frazee gets sent to Albany (Times Union) and then makes 36 saves in a 3-1 win AHL preseason game (Times Union)

Jordan Leopold is excited about opening the season in Germany (Niagara Gazette)

Kyle Okposo is a reason why the NYI should be a tough matchup this year (CSNNE.com)

John Tortorell on Stu Bickel, "No one's talked about him, but this kid Bickel has stood in there for us." (NY Daily News)

Todd Richards is running the PP in Columbus and wants his D to shoot (The Canon)

Aaron Ness sent to Bridgeport (Newsday)




Daily Clips - Oct. 1

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Minnesota's freshmen represent one of the top recruiting classes in the nation (College Hockey News)

Blake Wheeler should be on the first line for Winnipeg and needs to produce (Winnipeg Free Press)

Erik Johnson is a big reason why Colorado's D is, well, bigger (NHL.com)

Thomas Vanek had two goals and an assist against Washington yesterday (AP)

Could Aaron Ness make the Islanders out of camp? (Newsday)

Stu Bickel picks up his first point of the preseason (Rangers Report Blog)

Jay Barriball looked good when both teams looked out of it (Peoria Journal Star)

Jordan Schroeder sent to Chicago of the AHL (Vancouver Sun) where he needs to dominate according to his coach (The Province)

Ryan Flynn with a goal (Rockford Register Star)