The Gophers men's hockey team met with the media Wednesday afternoon ahead of their last series at Mariucci Arena of the regular season. Minnesota enters the weekend two points behind St. Cloud State for the top spot in the WCHA with four games to go.
This weeks opponent, the Denver Pioneers, will be just as hungry as the Gophers. Denver sits in a tie for the final home-ice position for the WCHA playoffs. The Pioneers have given the Gophers fits over the years, including last season's sweep at Magness Arena.
"We have had our issues scoring goals. They are always good defensively, so we have to do a better job of getting second-chance opportunities and do a better job of getting traffic in front of the goaltender," head coach Don Lucia said.
Saturday is Senior Night at Mariucci Arena. Seth Helgeson is the lone senior on this year's team, meaning he will be the only player out on the ice for the pregame ceremony, "It is going to be odd, but the flower budget is going to be down and it probably will only take 30 seconds, so it will not be a distraction to the guys," Helgeson said.
Helgeson reflected on his four years playing for Minnesota, "I wish I could be here another four years. It is nice being here for all four years. I have had a great group of guys the last four years. It has been awesome."
Helgeson is a steady player for the Maroon & Gold. His numbers are not flashy, but his physical presence on the ice and character off the ice is not missed by coaches and teammates. Here is a sampling of what they had to say about Helgeson.
Coach Lucia --"Seth has done a good job. He is great with community service, he does well in school, and he is a guy who is an anchor (on the blue line.) When you do not notice him, he is at his best."
Nate Schmidt - "Seth is a staple on our team. Off the rink, he is a great guy and teammate. Definitely a guy full of character. When he gets to the rink, he is all business. He is one of those rare guys that can flip a switch and be totally dialed in around the rink, which is really helpful for our young defensemen."
Ben Marshall -- "I have been his (defensive) partner this whole year. He is really stable. He lets me do anything out there on the ice. I like to be offensive, and he understands that. When I mess up, he is always back there to help out."
-Written by University of Minnesota student intern Josh Brennock