December 2013 Archives

Guentzel Fills in for the Don Lucia Radio Show

| No TrackBacks
Go Gophers! TopTenGo Gophers!Mike Guentzel
Go Gophers!

Listen to tonight's show: 1500ESPN.com | Archived Radio Broadcasts

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Don Lucia Radio Show returns to the airwaves of 1500 ESPN for the 2013-14 season, airing live on Mondays during the year from the Beacon Public House inside the Commons Hotel on campus. 

For tonight's show, associate head coach Mike Guentzel fills in for Lucia with the show airing live from 6:00-6:30 p.m. CT on 1500 ESPN with co-hosts Wally Shaver and Jeff Dubay.

With Lucia serving as head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Sweden, Guentzel will serve as acting head coach during the winter break as well as Minnesota's two games of the Mariucci Classic (against Colgate at 7 p.m. CT on Jan. 3 and against either Ferris State or RPI at 7 p.m. on Jan. 4). 

This week's radio show will examine Minnesota's preparations for a busy month of January as the Gophers return to action with the Mariucci Classic, then travel to Penn State for the first time in program history in a rare Sunday-Monday series before returning home for a short week of practice before the Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium on Friday, Jan. 17. The Gophers then participate in Hockey Day Minnesota the following day at Mariucci Arena. The following week, Minnesota hosts the inaugural North Star College Cup on Jan. 24-25 at Xcel Energy Center. 

Guentzel will also talk about Minnesota's first half of the season that saw the Gophers go 12-2-2 including the first-ever Big Ten win and sweep against Wisconsin and the league's first-ever shootout last Friday against Michigan State. 

For the second-season in a row, Beacon Public House will host a live viewing of the Don Lucia Radio Show with food and drink specials every Monday night for Gopher Hockey fans. Learn more about Beacon Public House here. 

USA Tops Canada at the Xcel Energy Center

The U.S. women's national team defeated Canada, 3-2 in a shootout at the Xcel Energy Center Saturday afternoon. Catch up on the game and the ties to Gopher women's hockey along with some of the media coverage surrounding the win.

Read more:
Star Tribune: Gameday preview: Team USA vs. Canada
Dec. 27, 2013

ESPN-W: U.S., Canada ... Best of Frenemies
Dec. 27, 2013

Star Tribune: U.S.-Canada women's hockey rivalry heating up before Olympics
Dec. 27, 2013

Pioneer Press: U.S.-Canada a gold-medal women's hockey rivalry
Dec. 28, 2013

USA Today: U.S. women's hockey team beats Canada 3-2 in shootout
Dec. 28, 2013

USA Hockey: Knight Time Is The Right Time For A Shootout In St. Paul
Dec. 28, 2013

Star Tribune: U.S. women's hockey beats back rivals from Canada 3-2 in shootout
Dec. 29, 2013

Dixon, Wittman Sign Pro Contracts

| No TrackBacks
Although their collegiate careers may be finished, Tori Dixon and Ashley Wittman will continue their volleyball careers, beginning as early as January 2014. Both have signed contracts for the remainder of this season as the duo will compete professionally.

Dixon signed a contract with Rabita Baku as she will play in Azerbaijan for the next two and a half years. Dixon, a middle blocker, follows former Gopher middle blocker, Lauren Gibbemeyer, who also plays in Azerbaijan for Lokomotiv Baku.

Wittman leaves January 2 and will compete for four months in Puerto Rico. The outside hitter signed a contract with Indias de Mayaguez for the rest of the season and joins Northwestern standout Stephanie Holthus. Former Gopher Katherine Harms is also playing professionally as she plays in Italy for Agil Novara.

The Dixon/Wittman duo capped off their collegiate careers with a pair of All-America honors. Dixon a First Team All-American, finished her college career ranking fifth all time in total blocks (507), the best career hitting percentage (.369) and ninth all-time in career kills (1,479). Wittman, a Second Team All-American, ranks sixth in Minnesota history in career kills (1,778) and fourth in career digs (1,510).

Teddy Bear Toss Set for Jan. 11

The Gopher women's hockey team is pleased to host a Teddy Bear Toss during its game against Ohio State at Ridder Arena on Saturday, Jan. 11.

The Teddy Bear Toss will occur after the first Gopher goal. Fans are invited to bring teddy bears or other stuffed animals to the game and throw them on the ice after the first Minnesota goal. All of the stuffed animals will be donated to charity as part of the Gophers' annual toy drive.

The Gophers hosted a Teddy Bear Toss last season during a 2-0 win over Wisconsin on Dec. 2, 2012. Senior Mira Jalosuo broke a scoreless tie with a power-play goal in the third period. After the goal, fans tossed nearly 200 bears onto the ice. Staff members collected the bears, and members of the Gopher women's hockey team delivered them to a Toys for Tots collection site.

The Jan. 11 Gopher game will air live on the Big Ten Network, so fans not in attendance will be able to see the Teddy Bear Toss as it happens!

AHL: Ryan Potulny Signs with Hershey

| No TrackBacks
Go Gophers! TopTen
Go Gophers!Ryan Potulny
Go Gophers!

Gophers alum Ryan Potulny has signed an American Hockey League (AHL) contract with the Hershey Bears, Bears President/General Manager Doug Yingst announced over the weekend. 

The two-time All-WCHA selection was a member of the Minnesota hockey program from 2003-06 and registered 118 career points (68 goals, 50 assists) in 100 games.The Gophers made the NCAA tournament in each of his three years at the 'U' including a run to the 2005 NCAA Frozen Four in his sophomore season. As a freshman, Potulny helped Minnesota to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) playoff title. 

In 2005-06 (his final year at Minnesota), Potulny was a First Team All-American and led the nation in scoring with 38 goals and 63 points. The forward was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the Gophers captured the MacNaughton Cup as WCHA regular-season champions. 

Potulny joins former Gophers Nate Schmidt, Jeff Taffe and Ryan Stoa on Hershey's roster.

More from HersheyBears.com...

Following his signing by the Washington Capitals to a two-year deal in July of 2011, Potulny played a total of 127 regular-season games in a Hershey sweater. In his first season with the Bears, the 6-0, 179-pound native of Grand Forks, North Dakota led the team and tied for third in the AHL with 33 goals. His 65 points placed him third among his Hershey teammates. Of his 33 tallies, 19 came on the power play, which paced the entire American Hockey League. Potulny also led the Bears with five game-winning goals.

In 2012-13, Potulny led the Bears with 19 goals, while his 41 points ranked fourth on the squad.

During through the season prior to joining the Bears, Potulny was acquired by the Ottawa Senators and came to the AHL to help the Binghamton Senators capture the Calder Cup championship. His 14 goals and 26 points in the 2011 run to the title led all postseason players.

A 2009 member of the Planet USA All-Star squad, Potulny has produced 299 points (147 goals, 152 assists) in 370 AHL games with Philadelphia, Springfield, Rockford, Binghamton and Hershey.

Potulny has also appeared in 126 NHL games with Philadelphia, Edmonton, Chicago and Ottawa, registering 49 points (22 goals, 27 assists). He was originally selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the third round (87th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

NHL: A Pair of Tip-In, Power-Play Game Winners

| No TrackBacks

On Friday's 1500 ESPN morning show, Jeff Dubay talked at length about former Gopher Thomas Vanek's goal-scoring ability -- specifically his talent at tipping pucks in front of the net. 

Last night, Vanek showed off that ability -- netting the eventual game winner 1:18 into the third period with a power-play goal as the New York Islanders topped the New York Rangers 5-3. The goal was Vanek's 11th of the season (23rd point) while fellow Gophers alum Kyle Okposo picked up the primary assist on the score (Okposo has 11-20--31 this season as well). 
 

Speaking of tip-in, game-winning power-play goals, Blake Wheeler picked up one for Winnipeg in a 5-2 victory over Nick Bjugstad and the Florida Panthers. The former Gopher captain now has 12 goals and 26 points this season as the Jets ended Florida's five-game winning streak. Wheeler now has five goals in his last five games. 


Bjugstad added a goal for the Panthers -- his seventh goal of the season and 14th point -- after picking off an errant pass in the Jets' defensive zone. 

Eyes on Sweden: USA Falls in Exhibition Game

| No TrackBacks

On March 23, 2013, Minnesota head coach Don Lucia was named the head coach of the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team by USA Hockey. With Lucia behind the bench, the Red, White and Blue will compete at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2013 - Jan. 5, 2014, in Malmo, Sweden. 

In addition to Lucia, Gophers Brady Skjei and Hudson Fasching are competing for a roster spot on next year's U.S. squad. 

The U.S. program will seek its fourth medal in five years including a gold-medal performance in 2013 with Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly on the roster and assistant coach Grant Potulny on staff. As the tournament approaches, Gophersports.com will provide updates using "Eyes on Sweden".

-------------------------------------------------------------

ANGELHOLM, Sweden (From USA Hockey) - The U.S. National Junior Team lost to Sweden, 4-2, tonight in pre-tournament action at Lindab Arena. Ryan Hartman (West Dundee, Ill.) and Dan O'Regan (Needham, Mass./Boston University) supplied the U.S. goals.

Team USA is holding training camp for the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Angelholm until Dec. 23. The U.S. has a final pre-tournament game Sunday (Dec. 22) vs. Finland. Tournament play in Malmo, Sweden, begins Dec. 26.

"There was a lot to like in how we played tonight," said Don Lucia, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. "I thought we had vast improvement in our game since we last played. I thought we played with very good energy, especially after the first period. We got pucks in deep and a lot of good looks. Unfortunately, it was one of those nights where their goalie made some outstanding saves. Five-on-five, we scored a couple good deflection goals. The minus was that we gave up two power-play goals."

During a power play at 6:54 of the first period, Sweden's Andreas Johnson one-timed a shot from the left slot high into the net for a 1-0 advantage.

Sweden doubled its lead with 21 seconds left in the opening frame when Alexander Wennberg swatted a high rebound into the goal from the edge of the crease.

Neither team scored in the second period, though USA doubled Sweden in shots on goal, 12-6, for a two-period shot advantage of 23-12.

Hartman cut the U.S. deficit in half at 1:43 of the third period. Ian McCoshen (Hudson, Wis./Boston College) stopped a Sweden clearing attempt and wristed a shot that Hartman tipped out of midair in the low slot.

Sebastian Collberg reclaimed Sweden's two-goal lead by speeding through the right circle and firing a hard wrist shot into the near top corner.

While on the power play, Sweden buried a rebound at 17:25 to gain a 4-1 advantage.

Team USA capped the scoring at 19:04 when O'Regan redirected a left point shot by Jaccob Slavin (Erie, Colo./Colorado College). Riley Barber (Pittsburgh, Pa./Miami Univ.) also assisted.

Anthony Stolarz (Edison, N.J.) made 19 saves in the loss. His counterpart, Oscar Dansk, stopped 36 shots.

Team USA is back on the ice Sunday (Dec. 22) when it takes on Finland in the pre-tournament finale in Angelholm, Sweden. Game time is 1:30 p.m. (7:30 a.m. ET).

NHL: Ballard Breaks Drought

| No TrackBacks

We might be a little partial since he was a Gopher All-American and helped Minnesota win back-to-back national championships, but Keith Ballard is without question one of our favorite NHL players and favorite people in hockey. 

So it was great to see him snap a 12-game point drought last night with an assist in Minnesota's game at Pittsburgh (to be fair, he had three assists in two games before the stretch). Ballard has five assists this season with the Wild after signing with the organization in the off-season. 
 

Noteworthy:
*Alex Goligoski had a team-high 25:58 of ice time in Dallas' 4-1 win at Vancouver last night. 

*Nick Bjugstad and the Florida Panthers topped Ottawa 4-2 on Thursday for the team's fifth-straight win. 

Gophers in the News: Mid-Season Break

Despite being on a four-week mid-season break from competition, Minnesota (19-1-0, 13-1-0 WCHA) has received lots of recent media coverage. Catch up on some of the recent news surrounding Gopher women's hockey.

Ohio State Series Recap
Minnesota Daily: Minnesota blows past Ohio State
Dec. 9, 2013 

Star Tribune: Gophers women complete hockey sweep of Ohio State
Dec. 9, 2013 

Pioneer Press: Gophers women's hockey: Rachel Bona hat trick leads win over Ohio State
Dec. 7, 2013 

WCHA: UM's Bona, McMillen and Cameranesi, UW's Packer Named WCHA Women's Players of the Week
Dec. 11, 2013

USCHO: Wednesday Women: Midseason Looks
Dec. 11, 2013

Frozen Four Hosts Named
Star Tribune: Minnesota Scene: Xcel, Ridder get three Frozen Fours between them
Dec. 11, 2013 

KARE11: U of M, Twin Cities win Frozen Four hosting duties
Dec. 13, 2013

Minnesota Daily: NCAA announces sites for future tournaments
Dec. 11, 2013

Olympic Updates
KSTP: US Women's Olympic Hockey Camp Opens In Blaine
Dec. 13, 2013 

KSTP: U.S. Women's National Team to Train in Blaine
Dec. 16, 2013

Fox9: Team USA Work Out in Blaine
Dec. 16, 2013

Star Tribune: Slowed by injury, Gophers product Amanda Kessel expected to be healthy when Olympics begin
Dec. 18, 2013 

USA Hockey Magazine: Bozek Brings Versatility To Team USA Blueline
Dec. 2013 Issue

Grand Forks Herald: Minnesota native strong candidate to return in 2014 games
Dec. 19, 2013

Minnesota Daily: Raty, Jalosuo selected to Finnish Olympic team
Dec. 18, 2013

Lions.FI: Here they are - female lions Sochi Olympics
Dec. 18, 2013

Sport.FI: Finland Women's Ice Hockey Olympic Team named
Dec. 18, 2013

Sarah Erickson Coaching at Concordia Moorhead
Inforum: At 23, Cobbers women's coach has already accomplished much in hockey
Dec. 9, 2013 

Minnesota Daily: Erickson coaches college at young age
Dec. 10, 2013 

Other Noteworthy Gopher Items
USA Today: Ad Meter Year in Sports winner revealed
Dec. 18, 2013 

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Final Poll of 2013
Dec. 17, 2013

USCHO.com Final Poll of 2013
Dec. 16, 2013

MinnPost: U of M's successful 'non-revenue' sports teams contribute in other ways
Dec. 20, 2013

Gold and Gopher: Gophers Hockey: 10 things to look forward to in 2014
Dec. 22, 2013

USTFCCCA Presents 2013 Bowerman Award

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Convention is taking place in Orlando this week. One highlight of the convention is the annual presentation of The Bowerman Award, the highest honor in collegiate track and field. The Bowerman debuted in 2009 and is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female collegiate track & field athletes in the nation.

From USTFCCCA:
"Clemson hurdler Brianna Rollins and Indiana high jumper Derek Drouin were awarded The Bowerman Trophy as the most outstanding collegiate track & field student-athletes of the 2013 season in a ceremony held Wednesday evening at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes as part of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Convention. Rollins is just the second hurdler to win the award -- the first since Queen Harrison in 2010 -- and the first from Clemson, while Drouin scored a plethora of firsts for the award. He is the first student-athlete from Indiana and the Big Ten to win the award, and is the first field event specialist to hoist The Bowerman Trophy."

Watch a replay of the award presentation courtesy of flotrack.org:

Watch more video of Bowerman Awards 2013 on flotrack.org

Minnesota's cross country and track & field coaches are enjoying the convention.

Catch up on all the details of The Bowerman Award presentation and the rest of the 2013 USTFCCCA Convention.

Jalosuo, Raty to Represent Finland in Olympic Games

Team Finland's women's ice hockey roster for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games has been released, and former Gophers Mira Jalosuo and Noora Raty are set to represent their home country in Sochi, Russia.

Naisten maajoukkue // Sotshi 2014 from Leijonat TV on Vimeo.

Raty will make her third Olympic appearance after competing for Finland in both the 2010 (bronze) and 2006 (fourth place) Olympic Games. Meanwhile, Jalosuo will make her Olympic debut this winter.

Finland's roster includes three goaltenders as Meeri Raisanen and Eveliina Suonpaa join Raty between the pipes. The roster has seven defensemen; Minnesota Duluth junior Tea Villila will join Jalosuo in action at the blue line. Eleven forwards round out the line up, including North Dakota's Michelle Karvinen and Susanna Tapani.

Eight nations will compete for gold in women's ice hockey at the 2014 Olympic Games, set for Feb. 7-23, 2014: Canada, U.S., Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, Germany and Japan.

Up to seven current and former Gophers could compete in Sochi as Megan Bozek, Gigi Marvin, Anne Schleper, Lee Stecklein and Amanda Kessel hope to earn a place on Team USA. The final 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team, which will include 18 forwards/defensemen and three goaltenders, will be announced during the second intermission of the NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2014, in Ann Arbor, Mich., live on NBC.

Read more:
Sport.FI: Women's Ice Hockey Olympic Team named
Here they are - female lions Sochi Olympics

NHL: Leddy, Okposo, Johnson Tally Goals

| No TrackBacks

Former Gophers Nick Leddy, Kyle Okposo and Erik Johnson tallied goals for their respective NHL teams last night with Johnson adding an assist for his third point in the last two games. 

Leddy, who won the Stanley Cup last season with Chicago, added an insurance power-play goal for the Blackhawks in last night's 3-1 win over Nashville. The defenseman's rebound attempt went in and out of the net so fast the goal had to be reviewed by officials and eventually confirmed. Leddy has 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) this season for Chicago while the Blackhawks have won five of their last six. 


While Alex Goligoski and the Dallas Stars got revenge on Johnson and the Avalanche with a 3-2 win on Tuesday after Monday's 6-2 loss, it was Johnson who found the scoreboard for the second-straight game. After adding his eighth assist earlier in the game, Johnson tallied his fourth goal to give Colorado a 2-1 lead in the second period although Dallas would go on to score two unanswered goals. 


Finally, Okposo put the Islanders up 1-0 with his 11th goal of the year just 11 seconds into Tuesday's second period against Tampa Bay. The forward, who has 30 points this season including three goals and four points in his last four games, absolutely blasted his shot from the point to beat Ben Bishop in goal. The Lightning, however, would go on to win 3-2 in a shootout. 


With only two games on the schedule for tonight and Paul Martin still out with an injury for Pittsburgh, we'll be off until Friday. 

Eyes on Sweden: Fasching Nets Overtime Game Winner

| No TrackBacks

On March 23, 2013, Minnesota head coach Don Lucia was named the head coach of the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team by USA Hockey. With Lucia behind the bench, the Red, White and Blue will compete at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2013 - Jan. 5, 2014, in Malmo, Sweden. 

In addition to Lucia, Gophers Brady Skjei and Hudson Fasching are competing for a roster spot on next year's U.S. squad. 

The U.S. program will seek its fourth medal in five years including a gold-medal performance in 2013 with Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly on the roster and assistant coach Grant Potulny on staff. As the tournament approaches, Gophersports.com will provide updates using "Eyes on Sweden".

-------------------------------------------------------------


MANKATO, Minn. (From USA Hockey) - Hudson Fasching (Burnsville, Minn./University of Minnesota) scored 3:41 into overtime to lift the U.S. National Junior Team to a 3-2 victory over Minnesota State tonight in pre-tournament action at Verizon Wireless Center. Quentin Shore (Denver, Colo./University of Denver) and Ian McCoshen (Hudson, Wis./Boston College) also scored for Team USA.



Team USA travels to Sweden tomorrow (Dec. 18) to continue its preparation for the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship. Tournament play in Malmo, Sweden, begins Dec. 26.

"i think we learned some things with our team," said Don Lucia, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. "We put some people in some positions maybe they haven't been in a lot. I thought our goalies did a good job tonight. We didn't give up any five-on-five goals. Obviously, Hudson Fasching made a great play on the game-winning goal."

Following a scoreless first period, Minnesota State capitalized on a power play at 6:05 of middle frame. From the right side of the net, Jean-Paul Lafontaine tucked a rebound behind Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine/Providence College).

Shore responded for Team USA at 8:51 with a pinpoint wrist shot from the right circle that hit the top corner of the net. Jaccob Slavin (Erie, Colo./Colorado College) and Steve Santini (Mahopac, N.Y./Boston College) picked up the assists.

MSU regained the lead with another power-play goal at 2:44 of the third period. Johnny McInnis chipped a centering pass over the glove of Anthony Stolarz (Edison, N.J.).

Team USA scored with the man-advantage at 9:03, tying the game, 2-2. From the right point, McCoshen one-timed a feed from Anthony DeAngelo (Philadelphia, Pa.) into the net. Stefan Matteau (Chicago, Ill.) also drew an assist.

On the game-winning goal, Fasching raced down the left wing, deked around a defenseman and stretched the puck around the goalie and inside the right post. Slavin collected the primary assist.

Gillies stopped 11 of 12 shots in 29:35. Stolarz made nine saves on 10 shots in 33:39.

Team USA is back in action Friday (Dec. 20) when it faces Sweden in a pre-tournament game in Angelholm, Sweden.


Gophers Spread Holiday Cheer

| No TrackBacks
Go Gophers! Gophers
Go Gophers!Go Gophers!
Photo Gallery

Just days after shopping for Toys for Tots and St. Joseph's Home for Children, the University of Minnesota women's basketball team got back into the giving spirit Tuesday, shopping for and donating gifts to the Amplatz Children's Hospital and a family which it adopted through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities.

The Gophers used their own money, as well as funds donated by the women's basketball staff, to shop for gifts at Target on Monday night. The team carefully hand-selected presents for more than 10 children at the hospital and picked out items from the family's list, which included a mother, a 13-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy.

The first stop for the team was at Amplatz on Tuesday morning, where it dropped off its gifts and visited with numerous patients and their parents. Along with the gifts they had shopped for, the Gophers also handed out posters and Minnesota head gear on each of its stops.

Later that day, the Gophers headed out to St. Paul to deliver gifts to their adopted family, which had two children who just-so-happened to be big basketball fans. 

Eyes on Sweden: Catching Up at Camp

| No TrackBacks


On March 23, 2013, Minnesota head coach Don Lucia was named the head coach of the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team by USA Hockey. With Lucia behind the bench, the Red, White and Blue will compete at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2013 - Jan. 5, 2014, in Malmo, Sweden. 

In addition to Lucia, Gophers Brady Skjei and Hudson Fasching are competing for a roster spot on next year's U.S. squad. 

The U.S. program will seek its fourth medal in five years including a gold-medal performance in 2013 with Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly on the roster and assistant coach Grant Potulny on staff. As the tournament approaches, Gophersports.com will provide updates using "Eyes on Sweden".

-------------------------------------------------------------

MINNEAPOLIS -- With the U.S. National Junior Team hosting training camp at Mariucci Arena this week, NHL.com caught up with head coach Don Lucia to talk about the team. 


Lucia and the U.S. squad will head to Mankato following today's morning practice for an exhibition game against Minnesota State tonight at 7:37 p.m. CT tonight at Verizon Wireless Center. Tonight's game can be streamed on America One with Comcast broadcasting the action on channel 999 in the Twin Cities and Charter showing the game on 826 HD, 226 SD. 

NHL: If At First You Don't Succeed...

| No TrackBacks

Gopher Hockey alum Erik Johnson's first shot attempt in the below video might not have found the back of the net, but his second try sure did. The first overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft scored his third goal of the year on Monday night as the Colorado Avalanche topped Alex Goligoski and the Dallas Stars 6-2 in Denver. 


Johnson, who has 10 points in 32 games for Colorado this season, is tied for the team lead in plus/minus at +18. 

While the Stars ended up losing the contest, Goligoski picked up his eighth assist of the season in the loss. He, too, has 10 points this season for Dallas. 


Mannon Practices Healy

With the 2014 season just around the corner, junior Ellis Mannon is working on perfecting his new skill on parallel bars - the Healy. An All-American in 2013, Mannon was the NCAA runner-up on pommel horse last season. He scored a career-high on parallel bars with a score of 14.600 at Nebraska.

Last August, Mannon competed at the 2013 P&G Gymnastics Championships, posting an all-around score of 161.500, which was good for 24th place. He tied for 15th place on the pommel horse with a combined score of 26.900 after scoring a 14.850 in the event finals. Mannon also placed 15th on parallel bars (28.250), including a 14.350 in the finals. Last season, Mannon competed on pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar for the Gophers and looks to carry over his recent success into the 2014 season.

NHL: Bjugstad Tallies Game Winner for Florida

| No TrackBacks

Former Gopher Nick Bjugstad tallied the game winner in Florida's 2-1 win over Montreal on Sunday night, notching his sixth goal and 13th point of the season with the tally. 


Bjugstad and the Panthers are on a three-game winning streak and face off against Phil Kessel and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. 

Wheeler Nets Two on Saturday

Former Gopher Blake Wheeler had two very Blake Wheeler-esque goals for Winnipeg on Saturday in a 6-4 loss to Alex Goligoski and the Dallas Stars. We'll just cut to the chase and show you both...


Wheeler now has four goals in the last two games for Winnipeg. 

Noteworthy 
*Nate Schmidt was sent to the Hershey Bears (AHL) by the Washington Capitals on Monday. In 28 games with the Capitals this season, Schmidt had six points (two goals, four assists). 

*After a short stint with the Iowa Wild (AHL), Erik Haula was re-called by the Minnesota Wild over the weekend. 

Don Lucia Radio Show Airs Tonight

| No TrackBacks
Go Gophers! TopTen
Go Gophers!Adam Wilcox
Go Gophers!


Listen to tonight's show: 1500ESPN.com Archived Radio Broadcasts

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Don Lucia Radio Show returns to the airwaves of 1500 ESPN for the 2013-14 season, airing live on Mondays during the year from the Beacon Public House inside the Commons Hotel on campus. 

With Lucia coaching the U.S. Junior National Team this month as it prepares for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships next month in Sweden, tonight's show will feature special guest Adam Wilcox. Listen to the Gophers' netminder, along with co-hosts Wally Shaver and Jeff Dubar, from 6:00-6:30 p.m. tonight. 

This week's show will look back at the first half of the season with Minnesota posting a 12-2-2 overall record over the first three months of play. We'll also look ahead to a busy January that will see the Gophers host the Mariucci Classic, then head to Penn State for the first time in program history before hosting the Hockey City Classic on Jan. 17 at TCF Bank Stadium and the inaugural North Star College Cup the following weekend. 

For the second-season in a row, Beacon Public House will host a live viewing of the Don Lucia Radio Show with food and drink specials every Monday night for Gopher Hockey fans. Learn more about Beacon Public House here

Eyes on Sweden: Training Camp Schedule

| No TrackBacks

On March 23, 2013, Minnesota head coach Don Lucia was named the head coach of the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team by USA Hockey. With Lucia behind the bench, the Red, White and Blue will compete at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2013 - Jan. 5, 2014, in Malmo, Sweden. 

In addition to Lucia, Gophers Brady Skjei and Hudson Fasching are competing for a roster spot on next year's U.S. squad. 

The U.S. program will seek its fourth medal in five years including a gold-medal performance in 2013 with Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly on the roster and assistant coach Grant Potulny on staff. As the tournament approaches, Gophersports.com will provide updates using "Eyes on Sweden".

-------------------------------------------------------------


MINNEAPOLIS -- USA Hockey will take over Mariucci Arena this weekend with the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team training camp, running Dec. 15-18 on the University of Minnesota campus.

Below is a full training camp schedule from USA Hockey. All practices are open to the public. 


Date
Event
Time (CT)
Sun., Dec. 15Practice6:30-8:00 p.m.
Mon., Dec. 16Practice10:00-11:30 a.m.
Mon., Dec. 16Practice5:00-6:00 p.m.
Tues., Dec. 17Practice10:00-11:30 a.m.
Tues., Dec. 17
at Minnesota State (Mankato, Minn.)
7:30 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 18Practice9:30-10:30 a.m.
* all times are subject to change
  


NHL: Wheeler Nets Two in Loss

| No TrackBacks

After tallying a pair of goals in the effort, former Gopher Blake Wheeler was named the No. 2 Star last night in Winnipeg's 4-3 shootout loss to Erik Johnson and the Colorado Avalanche. 

Wheeler's first tally of the night didn't take long -- 24 seconds to be exact -- as the Jets went up 1-0 on home ice. 


Wheeler added his ninth goal of the season later in the game during a third period power play. The Jets forward now has 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in 33 games this season. 


Okposo Nets 10th of the Year: 

We certainly appreciate the double shout out during last night's Islanders/Coyotes broadcast, but it was even better to see Kyle Okposo score his 10th goal of the season soon after. 


Through 33 games this season, Okposo has 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) while the forward may challenge for his best season to date (52 points in 80 games during the 2009-10 season). 

Noteworthy: 

*Gopher alums Thomas Vanek and Aaron Ness added assists on John Tavares' second period goal.

*Alex Goligoski had a team-high 26:34 of ice time in Dallas' 3-1 loss at Nashville. 

*Phil Kessel added an assist in Toronto's 6-3 loss to St. Louis. 

*Ben Gordon had 3-2--5 in a 6-4 win for Tulsa (CHL) over Brampton (via Let's Play Hockey). 

*Erik Haula had 2-1--3 in a 4-2 win for Iowa (AHL) over Abbotsford. 





Gophers Off to Second Best Start Ever

By: Ben Gotz, Athletic Communications Student Assistant

After sweeping Ohio State in its final series of 2013, the University of Minnesota women's hockey team is getting some well-deserved rest for a few weeks before resuming their season at the beginning of 2014. It's hard to say they haven't earned it, as their 19-1-0 record gives this year's team the second most wins at the holiday break in team history, trailing only last year's undefeated team. The 2012-13 Gophers boasted a 20-0-0 mark at the holiday break en route to their 41-0-0 perfect season.

This year marks the fifth time in program history the team has concluded the first half of the season with one loss or less. Three of those seasons resulted in national championships. With half a season left to play, the Gophers are off to a strong start in their quest for back-to-back-to-back national championships.

Here's a look at how the Gophers have started over the history of the program:
1997-98: 9-4-1 start, 21-7-3 finish
1998-99: 11-1-1 start, 29-4-3 finish
1999-00: 12-5-0 start, 32-6-1 finish, national champions
2000-01: 11-4-1 start, 23-9-2 finish
2001-02: 12-2-3 start, 28-4-6 finish
2002-03: 15-2-1 start, 27-8-1 finish
2003-04: 13-0-1 start, 30-4-21 finish, national champions
2004-05: 15-1-2 start, 36-2-2 finish, national champions
2005-06: 12-5-1 start, 29-11-1 finish
2006-07: 14-3-1 start, 23-12-1 finish
2007-08: 13-4-1 start, 27-7-4 finish
2008-09: 15-2-1 start, 32-5-3 finish
2009-10: 15-3-2 start, 26-9-5 finish
2010-11: 13-6-0 start, 26-10-2 finish,
2011-12: 17-3-0 start, 34-5-2 finish, national champions
2012-13: 20-0-0 start, 41-0-0 finish, national champions
2013-14: 19-1-0 start

Be there when the Gophers resume play in 2014. Minnesota hosts Ohio State at Ridder Arena in a Friday/Saturday series Jan. 10-11, 2014.

Gophers Shop for Tots

| No TrackBacks
Go Gophers! Sari Noga and Joanna Hedstrom
Go Gophers!
Go Gophers!

Photo Gallery

Members of the University of Minnesota women's basketball team used their break from games to start spreading holiday cheer to the Twin Cities community, as they shopped for and donated items for Toys for Tots and St. Joseph's Home for Children.

The money used to purchase gifts was donated by Gopher fans during toy drives held at select Minnesota home events, including women's and men's basketball and men's hockey games. In addition to the toys that were donated at the contests, fans also gave cash donations which equaled $3,000.

Senior Sari Noga and freshman Joanna Hedstrom took a portion of those donations to Target and selected gifts for the sometimes-forgotten teenage group, who also receive gifts through the toy drives set up on campus. Noga and Hedstrom carefully chose gifts such as books, CDs, makeup, perfume, hats and scarves and art supplies and then dropped off their gifts at St. Joseph's Home for Children.

The Gophers have a long tradition of giving back to the community, especially around the holiday season. Stay posted to gophersports.com to see how else the women's basketball team plans to give back during their break from classes.    

NCAA Reveals Gymnastics Championships Sites

The NCAA announced the sites for the 2015-2018 men's and women's gymnastics championships today. Watch the announcement from NCAA.com:

National Collegiate Men's Gymnastics Championships Sites
2015: Norman, Okla., University of Oklahoma
2016: Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State University
2017: West Point, N.Y., Army
2018: Chicago, University of Illinois-Chicago/Chicago Sports Commission

The sites for the four championships were chosen from six finalists, including the University of Minnesota's Sports Pavilion and the State Farm Center in Champaign, Ill., along with the four selected sites.

Along with the men's championships locations, the NCAA revealed the women's regional and championship sites. The University of Minnesota will host women's gymnastics regionals at the Sports Pavilion in 2016 and 2018.

The gymnastics announcements came as the NCAA announced 523 sites that have been named hosts for 82 of its 89 championships for the 2014-18 seasons, marking the largest collection of host site announcements in association history.

Learn more:
NCAA: NCAA Championships Site Selections

NCAA National Championship Sites Revealed

The NCAA announced sites for upcoming national championships in cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field for all divisions today. The locations and hosts have been determined for the championships between 2014-15 and 2017-18. Watch the announcement from NCAA.com:

NCAA Division I Cross Country
2014: Terre Haute, Ind.
2015: (TBA)
2016: Terre Haute, Ind.
2017: Louisville, Ky.

NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field
2015: Fayetteville, Ark.
2016: Birmingham, Ala.
2017: College Station, Texas
2018: College Station, Texas

NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field
2015: Eugene, Ore.
2016: Eugene, Ore.
2017: Eugene, Ore.
2018: Eugene, Ore.
2019: Eugene, Ore.
2020: Eugene, Ore.
2021: Eugene, Ore.

The cross country and track & field announcements came as the NCAA announced 523 sites that have been named hosts for 82 of its 89 championships for the 2014-18 seasons, marking the largest collection of host site announcements in association history.

Learn more:
NCAA: NCAA Championships Site Selections
USTFCCCA: NCAA Championships Sites for Cross Country and Track & Field Announced Through 2017-18

Updates on Signed Recruits

| No TrackBacks

Since the announcement of the newest Minnesota baseball signing class, several of the future Gophers have already added accolades to their resumes.

Micah Coffey threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns on 15-of-18 passing to lead Batavia (Ill.) to the Class 6A football championship. He threw 29 touchdown passes on the season. The Daily Herald chose him as the Co-Player of the Year for the area. He also received a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award, which will be officially given at a banquet in February at the Chicago Bears' training facility.

Also happening since signing day, Fred Manke earned all-area honorable mention from the Wisconsin State Journal for his defensive play with Lodi's football team.

Record watch: Toby Hanson's basketball season has begun, and he is on track to become Delano's all-time career scoring leader. He started the season with 1,121 points, needing 136 to break the record.

Good luck to all signees participating in winter sports!

NHL: Big Goals for the Gophers


This slick goal from former Gopher and current Florida Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad was just one of a handful of big goals by Minnesota alums last night in NHL action. 

    

Bjugstad's late third period tally tied the game at 2-2 while the Panthers would go on to beat Detroit 3-2 in a shootout. The former first-round draft pick has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) for Florida this season. 

Much like Bjugstad and the Panthers, Kyle Okposo, Thomas Vanek and Aaron Ness of the New York Islanders (Dinkytown East as we like to call the team) scored late in the third and then topped San Jose 3-2 in a shootout.

Okposo, who has 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in 32 games this season, assisted on Vanek's goal at 0:51 of the third period and then tallied the game-tying goal with less than two minutes left with this extra-attacker goal off the draw.  


Both Vanek and Okposo would score in the shootout with Okposo sealing the win for the Islanders. 


While we're at it, here's Vanek's regulation goal from less than a minute into the third period -- the forward now has 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) this season: 

Montague Works on Rings Dismount

Sophomore Paul Montague is working on a new dismount on still rings. Check out his recent progress at fall practice.

Montague competed on pommel horse, still rings and parallel bars as a freshmen during the 2013 season. He received the team's Spirit of Gopher Gymnastics award. Montague took 18th on parallel bars (14.550) at the 2013 Big Ten Championship and competed on pommel horse (12.750) and rings (14.450) at the NCAA qualifier.

USA: Stauber Named to U.S. Women's Olympic Team Staff

| No TrackBacks
Go Gophers! TopTen
Robb Stauber
Go Gophers!

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Former Gopher All-American and 1988 Hobey Baker Award winner Robb Stauber has been named to the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women's Team coaching staff , USA Hockey announced tonight. Stauber and the U.S. squad will compete at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, set for Feb. 7-23, 2014. 

Stauber, who will serve as goaltending coach and scout, has been involved with the U.S. Women's National team since 2009, focusing on coaching and development of its goaltenders. The 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia will mark Stauber's first appearance at the Olympics as an assistant coach for the U.S. 

The former netminder has 10 years of professional hockey experience, including four seasons in the National Hockey League with the Los Angeles Kings and Buffalo Sabres. The Duluth, Minn., native also spent time in the IHL and AHL. 

At the University of Minnesota, he was the first goaltender to win the Hobey Baker Award (1988). He was also the recipient that year of the WCHA Player of the Year award and was named All-WCHA First Team and All-America First Team. Additionally, Stauber was recognized as WCHA Goaltender of the Year in 1988 and 1989. Stauber also represented the U.S. at the 1987 IIHF World Junior Championship and 1989 IIHF Men's World Championship. 

In addition to his playing career at the University of Minnesota, Stauber served as the goalie coach for the University of Minnesota's men's team from 1998-2008, helping the program win back-to-back national championships in 2002 and 2003.

With tonight's news, Gopher Hockey will now have representatives on both the U.S. Olympic Men's and Women's Teams (Gophers All-American and current Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards will serve as an assistant coach for the men's team with seven former Gophers set to attend training camp). Minnesota will also have representatives on the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team with Don Lucia serving as head coach and Brady Skjei and Hudson Fasching set to attend training camp before competing at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden Dec. 26, 2013 - Jan. 5, 2014. 

NHL: Schmidt Nets First NHL Goal, Then Another

| No TrackBacks

In case you missed it, former Gopher All-American Nate Schmidt scored his first NHL goal on Saturday night in a 5-2 win for Washington over Nashville, and then the Capitals defenseman added his second lamp lighter on Sunday as Washington topped the New York Rangers 4-1. 

Here's Schmidt's first NHL goal: 


From the Washington post: 

"The first thing anyone notices about Schmidt is that he's always smiling. There's yet to be a practice, game or any other team activity where he hasn't had a grin on his face and his teammates are glad to see the rookie with a persistently sunny outlook get rewarded."

Schmidt's rise to the NHL is truly an impressive story. An undrafted defenseman, Schmidt tallied just one assist and played in just 13 games as a freshman at Minnesota in 2010-11 before developing into one of the program's leaders in his final two years with the Gophers (Schmidt played in every game of his sophomore and junior seasons). 

In 2011-12, Schmidt earned Second Team All-WCHA with 41 points in 43 games. His 38 assists that year were the most among NCAA defensemen while Schmidt also added three goals as the Gophers returned to the NCAA Frozen Four for the 20th time in program history and the first time since 2005. Perhaps his most memorable college goal helped the Gophers clinch  the 2012 MacNaughton Cup as WCHA regular-season champions in a 2-1 win over Wisconsin in the season finale. 


In his final year with the program -- 2012-13 -- Schmidt earned Second Team All-America honors to join an elite group of Gopher defensemen under head coach Don Lucia and associate head coach Mike Guentzel that includes fellow NHL blue-liners Alex Goligoski, Paul Martin, Jordan Leopold (2002 Hobey Baker Award winner) and Keith Ballard. Schmidt tallied a career-best nine goals as a junior and ended the year with 32 points and 23 assists as the Gophers repeated as conference champions and went on to the program's 34th NCAA tournament. 

Schmidt signed an entry-level deal with Washington soon after last year's NCAA tournament and played the final eight regular-season games with the team's AHL affiliate -- the Hershey Bears -- registering four points (one goal, three assists). Schmidt added two assists in five AHL playoff games as well. 

The 2013-14 season saw Schmidt play in one game with the Bears (he registered a goal in the game) before being called up for his NHL debut with the Capitals. In 26 games this season, Schmidt has six points (two goals, four assists). Here's Schmidt's goal from Sunday: 


Schmidt is one of 15 former Gophers who have played in the NHL this season along with Keith Ballard (Minnesota), Nick Bjugstad (Florida), Alex Goligoski (Dallas), Erik Haula (Minnesota), Erik Johnson (Colorado), Phil Kessel (Toronto), Nick Leddy (Chicago), Jordan Leopold (St. Louis), Paul Martin (Pittsburgh), Aaron Ness (New York Islanders), Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders), Jordan Schroeder (Vancouver), Thomas Vanek (New York Islanders) and Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg).

Guentzel Fills in for the Don Lucia Radio Show

| No TrackBacks
Go Gophers! TopTen
Mike GuentzelGo Gophers!


Listen to tonight's show: 1500ESPN.com Archived Radio Broadcasts

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Don Lucia Radio Show returns to the airwaves of 1500 ESPN for the 2013-14 season, airing live on Mondays during the year from the Beacon Public House inside the Commons Hotel on campus. 

For tonight's show, associate head coach Mike Guentzel fills in for Lucia with the show airing live from 6:00-6:30 p.m. CT on 1500 ESPN with co-hosts Wally Shaver and Jeff Dubay.

With Lucia serving as head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team as it prepares for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships in Sweden, Guentzel will serve as acting head coach during the winter break as well as Minnesota's two games of the Mariucci Classic (against Colgate at 7 p.m. CT on Jan. 3 and against either Ferris State or RPI at 7 p.m. on Jan. 4). 

This week's radio show will examine Minnesota's preparations for a busy month of January as the Gophers return to action with the Mariucci Classic, then travel to Penn State for the first time in program history in a rare Sunday-Monday series before returning home for a short week of practice before the Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium on Friday, Jan. 17. The Gophers then participate in Hockey Day Minnesota the following day at Mariucci Arena. The following week, Minnesota hosts the inaugural North Star College Cup on Jan. 24-25 at Xcel Energy Center. 

Guentzel will also talk about Minnesota's first half of the season that saw the Gophers go 12-2-2 including the first-ever Big Ten win and sweep against Wisconsin and the league's first-ever shootout last Friday against Michigan State. 

For the second-season in a row, Beacon Public House will host a live viewing of the Don Lucia Radio Show with food and drink specials every Monday night for Gopher Hockey fans. Learn more about Beacon Public House here

Gopher Hockey Press Report: Michigan State

| No TrackBacks

Catch up on all the news around Gopher Hockey with this week's edition of Gopher Hockey Press Report. 

*Gophers forward Ambroz breaking out on, off ice (Star Tribune)

*No. 1 Gophers Travel to Michigan State (FOXSportsNorth.com)

*Ambroz finds niche as vocal leader (Minnesota Daily)

*Gophers hockey pair Skjei, Fasching on preliminary U.S. Junior National Team roster (Star Tribune)

*Seth Ambroz leads with his own style (Pioneer Press)

*A Jester, A Scorer (FOXSportsNorth.com)

*Gophers Close First Half at Michigan State (Gophersports.com)

*Gophers Meet the Media: Michigan State (Gophersports.com)

*Big Ten Honors Ambroz as First Star (Gophersports.com)

Reminder: Friday's game is a 6:06 p.m. CT puck drop (FOX Sports North PLUS, BTN2Go.com, 1500 ESPN) while Saturday is set for 3:06 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North, BTN2Go.com, MyTalk 107.1). Here's the FSN PLUS Channel Guide for Friday night.


Offseason Update

| No TrackBacks

Gopher Golf Fans!

The offseason for college golf is upon us. Strength and conditioning sessions are at a higher intensity. individual meetings, fall season statistical analysis, yoga sessions and recruiting are in full swing around the country's best college golf programs. A reflection on our fall finds me smiling and sitting back in my office chair relaxing in knowing that my players are having the time of their lives competing for the Maroon and Gold!

Without getting too far ahead, I still have our final tournament of the fall to analyze. The Kiawah Classic hosted by Charleston Southern brought 18 teams from all across the country to compete on the par-72, 7,015-yard Jack Nicklaus-designed Turtle Point Golf Club. To say this golf course was tight would be an understatement. Out of bounds stakes and water hazards greeted each player from hole 1 to 18. The constant winds off the ocean, tough pin placements and thin Bermuda lies greenside presented the biggest challenge of the year for our team.  Day 1 is a day that I have already erased from my memory as balls careened out-of-bounds, 3-putts abounded and Gopher Golf endured the toughest scoring day of our outstanding fall season. 312 was the score as Jon Trasamar led our team with a 3-over-par round of 75. Junior Tyler Lowenstein (76), freshman Jose Mendez (79), freshman Matt Rachey (79) and senior Alex Gaugert(80) round out the scoring.

Go Gophers! Rachey
Go Gophers!
Read a Q&A with Matt Rachey at the end of this blog entry.
Go Gophers!

We have all watched the movies "Miracle," "Invincible" and "Rudy" which offer inspiration in times of desperation. For the 45 minutes following Round 1, I gave my best impression of the great coaches in these movies. It was hard to see our well prepared team collectively struggle but it also gave our coaching staff the opportunity for teaching/coaching moments, and each of the players responded well.  Round 2 would prove to be dramatically different as we putted the ball considerably better and controlled our trajectories better from tee to green. We moved from 15th to 12th on Day 2 and put ourselves in position to secure our sixth top-10 finish of the year heading into Day 3.

Day 3 once again greeted us with cold weather, ranging from 30 to 40 degrees at 8 a.m., with winds off the water.  Our scoring leader, Jose Mendez, played one of his most solid rounds of the year in posting a 2-under-par score of 70. That proved to be one of the lowest scores in the entire field that day and also helped him secure another top-20, with a tie for 16th in his sixth collegiate tournament. The others battled on Day 3 with scores of 74 by Lowenstein (T-16), 77's by Gaugert (T-54) and Rachey (T-69), and rounding out with an 82 by Trasamar (T-82).  Despite higher than normal scoring, we managed to move up to finish in a tie for 10th place.

I never want my guys to stop learning by asking questions about the golf swing, mental processes or golf course conditions, and I can say that we have assembled a very hard working group of young men. We talk about launch conditions with drivers, grooves in wedges, face rotation with putting, gap spacing in irons...just to mention a few of the great conversations these young men bring up while driving back from Braemar Dome or our Tom Lehman Practice Facility. Our preparation in the offseason is a well-oiled machine producing solid results the past few seasons in the spring and I don't expect anything less from our intelligent group of budding stars in Gopher Golf right now.

Our rankings heading into a spring season that will see us competing in six to eight tournaments, depending on NCAA bids, have us positioned at No. 68 in Golfweek and No. 79 in Golfstat out of the 308 Division I golf teams in the country. We are in great position with a +22 (.500) record that ranks 43rd among those same teams. Our schedule will remain strong as we compete in the Big Ten Match Play at Concession GC, Long Beach State at Virginia CC, Oregon at Emerald Valley GC, Iowa at Finkbine GC, Penn State at the PSU Blue Course, the Big Ten Championships at French Lick Resort, NCAA Regionals and NCAA Finals.

The excitement is growing and I want everyone to be a part of it by following our results on Golfstat.com, Gophersports.com, "Carlson's Corner" and mngolf.org, and support our program's technological needs by donating via GoldenGopherFund.com on the right hand side of the page under Our Sports or calling me anytime at my office at 612-625-5863.

Have a great Holidays from all the players and tremendous support staff at Gopher Men's Golf and finally from my wife, Caese, myself and our 15-month-old, Collins!

2013-14 Men's Golf Team at the Tom Lehman Practice Facility


Happy Holidays from Collins!


Player Feature: Matt Rachey (Fr./Waconia, Minn./Waconia HS)

GopherSports: What are your goals for the 2013-14 season?
Matt Rachey: Practice hard each day and consistently improve each part of my game.

GS: What part of your game is your biggest strength?
MR: Ball striking 

GS: Which course in the Twin Cities area is your favorite and why?
MR: Somerset. We played it for qualifying this year and it had some of the coolest looking holes around.

GS: Favorite club in your bag?
MR: Driver

GS: Anything interesting you carry around in your golf bag?
MR: A bag of quarters so I can by my Snickers at the turn.

GS: What is your favorite thing about being a Golden Gopher?
MR: Getting to play some of the nicest courses in the country and being able to hang out with the older guys on the team.

Gophers Meet the Media: Michigan State

| No TrackBacks

This weekend Minnesota will play its' first ever Big Ten-road series when it travels to East Lansing, Mich., to take on the Michigan State Spartans. On Wednesday, players and coaches met with the media to discuss the team's final series of 2013 and the events of the previous week.

Michigan State enters this weekend with a record of 5-7-0, but Minnesota players and coaches caution that the Spartans are better than their record indicates. 

"I think they are an improving team," Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said. "When the year began a couple of their key guys were out due to surgery, in John Deager and Matt Berry. They are just starting to play again, and I think that is why you saw them win a couple of games this weekend." 

The Spartans swept Princeton by scores of 4-1 and 8-2.

Seth Ambroz was named the Big Ten's First Star of the week after he tallied four goals against Wisconsin, including the game-winning goal late in Saturday's contest. 

"It was probably the biggest goal I have scored so far as a Gopher," Ambroz said. "It was against Wisconsin and the game winner."

Ambroz has become a vocal leader on the team, a role coach Lucia would not have initially pegged him for.

"I don't know if I have every been around a player who has grown so much as a person than Seth has from when I first met him at age 15 to where he is today." 

Seth says he likes to make sure his teammates are having fun on and off the ice. 

"We have a young team with a lot of quiet guys. I like to joke around and get them smiling."

Earlier Wednesday, USA Hockey announced their preliminary roster for the 2014 World Junior Championship. Lucia will be the head coach of this year's American entrant, who will look to repeat as gold medalists.

"We are excited about our group. I thought we had a good summer and improved a lot over the course of the evaluation camp in Lake Placid."

Two of the players that make up Lucia's American forces are Gopher teammates Hudson Fasching and Brady Skjei. Fasching is currently tied for the freshman scoring lead in the Big Ten with 14 points. 

"With the type of first half he has had offensively, he really earned his way on the team," Lucia said. "He put himself in good position this summer and continued to elevate his play during the course of the fall."

Brady Skjei was one of the last cuts off last year's American roster. He is eager to write a different script this year. 

"I definitely have a chip on my shoulder," Skjei said. "Anytime you put on the USA jersey it is pretty special, but you watch the U-20s on TV over Christmas. It is definitely something you look forward to your whole life."

Coach Lucia is familiar with Skjei's game and has a good idea about the role he will play for the USA. "He will have to play in a shutdown-type role with the team and be a good penalty killer."

This week's games at Michigan State will take place Friday night at 6:00 p.m. CT, and Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. CT. Friday's game will be shown live on FSN Plus and Saturday's rematch will be live on Fox Sports North.

Story by University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock

 

Fan Reaction: Skate with the Gophers

Enjoy fan photos and reactions from last weekend's Skate with the Gophers event at Ridder Arena.

Gophers in the News: OSU Series Preview

Catch up on the recent media coverage of Gopher women's hockey, including recaps of Minnesota's series sweep over Princeton and previews of this weekend's series at Ohio State.

USCHO: Cameranesi picks up three points, Leveille stops all 11 as Minnesota blanks Princeton
Nov. 30, 2013 

USCHO: Photo Gallery: Princeton at Minnesota
Nov. 30, 2013 

Star Tribune: Gophers women's hockey shuts out Princeton
Nov. 30, 2013 

Pioneer Press: Minnesota wins 9-1, completes sweep of Princeton
Dec. 1, 2013 

Minnesota Daily: Minnesota dominates series with Princeton
Dec. 2, 2013 

Minnesota Daily: Building greatness from the bench
Dec. 4, 2013 

The Hockey Writers: NCAA Women's Hockey Weekly Round-Up
Dec. 4, 2013 

Minnesota Daily: Gophers duo proves valuable this season
Dec. 5, 2013 

Star Tribune: U women's hockey aims to keep two streaks going at Ohio State
Dec. 6, 2013

Watch Jack Metcalf on Rings

Sophomore Jack Metcalf is making progress on his still rings routine. Check out a video from a recent practice to see how he's coming along.

Metcalf competed solely on rings as a redshirt freshman last season after red-shirting the 2012 season. His scored a career-best 15.200 at the 2013 NCAA Qualifier where he tied for fifth on rings. Metcalf also tied for third on rings (15.150) at the Big Ten Championship.

Nine Goals by Nine Gophers Not Quite a Record

Nine different Gophers scored goals in Minnesota's 9-1 win over Princeton last Sunday: Sarah Davis, Meghan Lorence, Hannah Brandt, Milica McMillen, Baylee Gillanders, Bethany Brausen, Maryanne Menefee, Kelsey Cline and Kelly Terry. Nine different players!

As it turns out, Sunday's win marked the third time in program history that at least nine different Gophers have scored in a single game. It was the first time since the 1997-98 season that the feat has happened.

In just the fifth Minnesota women's hockey game in program history, nine different Gophers scored goals en route to a 10-0 win over St. Cloud State (Nov. 15, 1997). Marisa Pettiford (2), Julie Otto, Paula Vogt, Brittny Ralph, Megan Milbert, Betsey Kukowski, Lacey Franzmeier, Laura Tryba and Heather Alm each found the back of the net against the Huskies.

Later during the 1997-98 season, 10 Gophers scored goal in a 10-0 win over Wisconsin at Mariucci Arena (Feb. 7, 1998): Betsey Kukowski, Tracy Donaghue, Matty Brekken, Laura Tryba, Sarma Pone, Tai Thorsheim, Julie Otto, Dacia Lyons, Kelly Olson and Hattie Hoff.

Even though it's happened before, the widespread scoring in Sunday's 9-1 win was remarkable. In addition to nine different players scoring goals, 15 of 18 Minnesota skaters had at least one point, including all six defensemen and each member of the Gophers' top three lines. The Gophers combined for 26 points, but no individual had more than three points, led by Sarah Davis (1g-2a), Kelly Terry (1g-2a) and Hannah Brandt (1g-2a).

The scoring summary attracted the attention of Roman Augustoviz from the Star Tribune. He wrote a series of tweets breaking down the box score.

Take a look at the final box score from the 9-1 win.

Eyes on Sweden: Preliminary Roster Announced Wednesday

| No TrackBacks

On March 23, 2013, Minnesota head coach Don Lucia was named the head coach of the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team by USA Hockey. With Lucia behind the bench, the Red, White and Blue will compete at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2013 - Jan. 5, 2014, in Malmo, Sweden. 

In addition to Lucia, four current Gophers are competing for a roster spot on next year's U.S. squad. Earlier this year, sophomore defenseman Brady Skjei, freshman forward Hudson Fasching, freshman forward Taylor Cammarata and freshman defenseman Michael Brodzinski participated at the 2013 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid.

Next year, the U.S. program will seek its fourth medal in five years including a gold-medal performance in 2013 with Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly on the roster and assistant coach Grant Potulny on staff. As the tournament approaches, Gophersports.com will provide updates using "Eyes on Sweden".

-------------------------------------------------------------

MINNEAPOLIS -- USA Hockey will announce the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team Preliminary Roster on Wednesday morning, the organization announced earlier this week. 

The training camp for the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team is Dec. 15-18 at the University of Minnesota's Mariucci Arena. For camp details, click here, and to request credentials, click here ... Practices at Mariucci Arena will be open to the public ... Training camp continues Dec. 19-23 in Angelholm, Sweden. The final roster will be named Dec. 23.

The 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship is being held in Malmo, Sweden, Dec. 26, 2013 - Jan. 5, 2014. Team USA will compete in a group with Canada, Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia For more information about the tournament, click here.



Gophers in the First and Second Round

| No TrackBacks
The University of Minnesota is preparing for its 19th NCAA Tournament appearance this week as it host the First and Second Rounds, Dec. 6-7 at the Sports Pavilion. Minnesota takes on Radford, Friday at 7 p.m. Iowa State and Colorado also join the Gophers in tournament competition and play at 4:30 p.m. Friday. Tickets for the event can be purchased here

As we prepare for the NCAA Tourney, here's a look back and one of the most recent memories in 2011. Trailing 0-2, Minnesota came back and defeated Washington, 3-2 in the Second Round. The win advanced the Gophers in their own NCAA Regional, where they went on to face Iowa State. Read the full recap.

Richard Pitino Blog: Early Season Review

| No TrackBacks

Richmond - When I got the job, I looked at this game on the schedule and was very concerned.  Richmond is a well-coached team with an established winning culture. It is also a tough environment and difficult style to prepare for. Holding them without a point for over seven minutes and ending on a 19-0 run was impressive.

Richard Pitino and Syracuse's Jim Boeheim shake hands after their match-up in Maui


Syracuse - I don't believe in moral victories but I am very proud of the effort we gave. To be even on the glass without Mo Walker was great. Costly turnovers at the end of the game were just too hard to overcome. Malik Smith showed that he loves to take the big shot but I am the most proud of how much better his defense and leadership has become.

Arkansas - We came out in the first half and played potentially our best half of the year. Shot 65% from the field and played very unselfish basketball. The second half was a different story. Give Arkansas credit for playing a great overall game. I was also disappointed with our defensive intensity towards the end. Turnovers and rebounding were also a problem.

Chaminade - I know it sounds funny but this was easily the hardest game of the tournament. Our guy's bodies were finally adjusted to Maui time and it truly felt like a 9:30 a.m. start. They were tired and disappointed to be in this position. Chaminade has won that "Game 7" several times in the past and had been playing great offensively. The true character of this team came out in the second half. They had nothing to lose and we could have folded. Nothing was going right for us but our guys refused to accept losing. I was very proud of the way we finished this game.

Overall assessment of Maui - Our team was so grateful of our fan turnout for the trip. Not only did our great fans show up but they were arguably the loudest group in the tourney. We really appreciate their support and referenced the fans several times during timeouts. Overall, we played four-out-of-six great halves of basketball.  The second half of Arkansas and the first half of Chaminade were major learning experiences for us. It was an awesome tournament and we hope to be invited back again in the future. We took the red-eye back Wednesday night in hopes of getting our players bodies adjusted back to Central Time for tomorrow's game.

Coach Pitino and the Gophers went 1-2 in Maui last week.


Florida State - We will have our toughest test of the season tomorrow night at the Barn. Florida State has been battle tested early. They were up double digits on Michigan in the second half and ended up losing in overtime by two. The game before that, they blew a very good VCU team out in a game where they were up by 30. They won by double digits at Central Florida and they just lost a tough rivalry game at Florida by one point as well. They are well coached as always and physically very imposing. We must rebound the ball, keep them out of transition and not turn the ball over. Their two losses could have gone either way and they could easily be ranked top 15 if they had won those games. We need a great environment tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m. Hope to see everyone there!

Scheduling - There has been some speculation about a game between us and Louisville next year. We are currently working on scheduling a game with ESPN against Louisville in Puerto Rico in a military hangar on Nov. 14.  We are 99% sure it will happen but we are just ironing out some details. We are also confirmed to play in the Preseason NIT next year around Thanksgiving time in Madison Square Garden. These are two great opportunities for our fans to travel to great locations and hopefully see some exciting basketball. We will release details on both events when everything is finalized.

See everybody tomorrow night!

Go Gophers!

Richard Pitino

Don't Miss Tonight's Don Lucia Radio Show

| No TrackBacks
Go Gophers! TopTen
Go Gophers!Don Lucia


Listen to tonight's show: 1500ESPN.com Archived Radio Broadcasts

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Don Lucia Radio Show returns to the airwaves of 1500 ESPN for the 2013-14 season, airing live on Mondays during the year from the Beacon Public House inside the Commons Hotel on campus. 

Join Lucia and co-hosts Wally Shaver and Jeff Dubay on Mondays throughout the season with each show airing live at 6 p.m. CT on 1500 ESPN. 

This week, the Don Lucia Radio Show looks back at the Gophers' sweep over Wisconsin in the program's first-ever Big Ten Conference series. Minnesota topped the Badgers 4-1 on Friday afternoon for the first-ever Big Ten game before battling to a 4-3 victory on Saturday. Seth Ambroz tallied a pair of goals in both games including both game winners and has now scored six goals in the last four games against Wisconsin. Tonight's show will also look ahead to this weekend's conference series at Michigan State -- the Gophers' final series before breaking for the holidays. Minnesota is 103-43-12 all-time against Michigan State including a two-game sweep over the Spartans to open the 2012-13 campaign. 

For the second-season in a row, Beacon Public House will host a live viewing of the Don Lucia Radio Show with food and drink specials every Monday night for Gopher Hockey fans. Learn more about Beacon Public House here