NHL: Vanek Makes Islanders Debut

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Go Gophers!Thomas VanekGo Gophers!

Former Gopher standout Thomas Vanek made his debut with the New York Islanders on Tuesday night in a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers, two days after the eight-time 20-goal scorer was traded to the team from the Buffalo Sabres. 

Tuesday marked Vanek's 599th career NHL game with the forward likely skating in his 600th game on Friday against Ottawa. Vanek is also three points shy of 600 for his career (254-243--497). 

"It's a fresh start for me and hopefully I can help these guys out right away," Vanek told the Islanders on Monday. "I'm just happy to be here right now, taking it all in. An opportunity like this doesn't come around much. I'm going to try to make the most of it."

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Kessel Contributes in Win Over Edmonton

Phil Kessel contributed on all four of Toronto's goals in Tuesday's 4-0 shutout over Edmonton, tallying two goals and adding two assists in the victory. It didn't take long for the former Gopher to find the stat sheet on Tuesday, scoring just 1:08 into the first period for the eventual game-winning goal. 


Here's Kessel's second goal of the night (all four points can be seen on Leafs TV): 


Through 13 games this season, Kessel has 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) -- tied for second most in the NHL with Steven Stamkos and two shy of Sidney Crosby for the league lead. 

Wheeler Nets Another Goal in Loss to Blues

Blake Wheeler added his ninth point of the year (five goals, four assists) with a goal in Winnipeg's 3-2 loss to Jordan Leopold and the St. Louis Blues. Nice looking goal for the former Gopher. 

Gopher Hockey Press Report: Boston College

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Go Gophers!Adam Wilcox
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Catch up on all the news around Gopher Hockey with this week's Gopher Hockey Press Report.

*High scoring top line is clicking for Gophers hockey (Star Tribune)

*Adam Wilcox braces for tough test in goal (Pioneer Press)

* The Big Ten Network will highlight Minnesota's 1979 national championship on Big Ten Elite. The show premieres at 9:30 p.m. CT on Friday following the Gophers/BC game on BTN. (BTN)

*Gopher hockey coach downplays No. 1 ranking (FOX Sports North)

*No. 1 rank irrelevant so early in season (Minnesota Daily

*Gopher Athletics set to hold annual food drive (Gophersports.com)

*Freshman Faceoff: Hudson Fasching (Gophersports.com)

*Gophers Meet the Media: Boston College (Gophersports.com)

*Larry Ross was one of 10 Gophers to be inducted into the 'M' Club Hall of Fame on Thursday (Gophersports.com)

Reminder -- Friday's game is set for 7:10 p.m. CT (Big Ten Network, 1500 ESPN, BTN2Go.com) with Sunday's finale set for 1:10 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North, 1500 ESPN, BTN2Go.com). 

Freshman Faceoff: Hudson Fasching

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Go Gophers!Gophers freshman Hudson Fasching is tied for the Big Ten rookie scoring lead. 
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We caught up with freshman Hudson Fasching to get to know a little more about him as he continues his first campaign with the Gopher men's hockey team. 

Through four games this season, Fasching is tied with teammate Justin Kloos for the Big Ten rookie scoring lead with six points (two goals and four assists). The native of Burnsville, Minn. was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round of the 2013 NHL Draft and comes to the Gophers with plenty of high-level experience after spending two seasons with the U.S. National Development Team Program. Hudson will be counted on to use his size and add toughness to the Gophers this season. 

What does it mean to you to play for the Gophers?
"I am a Minnesotan, born and raised. I grew up around Mariucci my whole life watching Gopher games and finally being able to put the jersey on means the world to me."

Describe the type of game you like to play for people who may not know you?
"I am a power forward. I go in the corners and like to grind it out. I want to bring pucks to the net hard and just play hard in general."

Is there an NHL player you like to watch and model your game after?
"Yeah! David Backes of the St. Louis Blues. I like to model my game after him. He plays hard in all aspects of the game, and that is what I like to model from him."

We're just a few weeks into the season, but you seem to have found some success playing alongside Sam Warning and Kyle Rau. How has that experience been?
"Coming in as a younger guy on the team, it's great to be able to play with two of the veterans on this team. They're good at moving the puck around and setting up scoring chances, and we've had some success so far. They're both great players, and they're great examples for me in terms of how I want to develop as a player." 

You spent the last two seasons playing with the USA Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., how did the experience help your game develop?
"Being away from home for a couple years around great coaching and great teammates really helps me mature a lot as a person and as a player. It is very competitive over there. Bringing all those aspects to Minnesota will be huge for me."

You had the opportunity to travel to some cool places with the USA Development Program. Which was your favorite?
"I got to go to Sochi, Russia for the Under-18 World Championships. Just the experience of being in another country, eating their food, and being in their culture is eye opening. You don't really know what it is like over there until you get there. It was a really fun experience."

You played at Apple Valley High School with fellow Gopher A.J. Michaelson. What does it mean to be playing with him again?
"Yeah! A.J. and I grew up together. We played all through youth hockey together. It is awesome that I get to play with one of my childhood buddies out here. It should be a lot of fun. Hopefully, we can get on a line together sometime during the year."

What kind of music do you like to listen to before the game?
"I am a rocker type of guy. Just anything that gets be going is good for me. "

What are some of the nicknames you have received from guys on the team?
"Some of the guys call me Huddy-Buddy, but most of the guys just call me Fasch."

Gophers Meet the Media: Boston College

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Minnesota welcomes Boston College to Mariucci Arena this weekend for a two-game series. The No. 1 Gophers will face a stiff test from No. 5 Boston College. The Eagles come to the Twin Cities soaring high after dispatching Wisconsin, 9-2, last Friday night in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Coach Don Lucia and members of the team met with the media Wednesday afternoon to discuss the clash with another member of college hockey's elite.

Boston College features another crop of dynamic playmakers this season. "They are going to be skilled and fast. We need to play our game and use our speed to hang with them all weekend," defenseman Brady Skjei said. Lucia knows the Gophers must value puck possession. "(Boston College's) transition game is really good. If you make a mistake with the puck you are going to pay."

Boston College's ability to post nine goals against Wisconsin caught the eyes of Gopher coaches and players. "They scored nine five-on-five goals, which is not easy to do," Lucia said. "(Our defensemen) are going to get tested this week. They are going to get tested taking care of the puck coming up the rink and down low defending." 

Minnesota goaltender Adam Wilcox was surprised to see Boston College's overwhelming success against the Badgers and knows he will be tested. "I have to be on top of my game. I have to be communicating with the defensemen and be good right in front of our net."

This week, Minnesota took over the nation's number one ranking in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll from Miami University. The players and coaches did their best to downplay early-season rankings. "It is something to look at, but not something to put too much on right now," Wilcox said.

The early success of the top-two lines is based on the immediate contribution of the freshmen. Lucia said the genesis of Hudson Fasching playing on the top line started in the summer. "He showed me something at the World Junior camp when I had the opportunity to be on the ice with him that week,"-- second-line center Justin Kloos has really impressed line mate, and captain, Nate Condon with his commitment to do all the little things. "(Justin) is obviously talented offensively, but the big thing with him is that he is a big, hard worker." 

This weekend's series takes place on Friday and Sunday with Gopher football home Saturday afternoon. Friday's hockey contest is at 7:10 p.m. CT and can be seen nationally on the Big Ten Network. Sunday's game takes place at 1:10 p.m. CT and will be shown on Fox Sports North. Both games this weekend can be heard on 1500 ESPN and will be streamed on BTN2Go.com. 

-Story By University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock

Eyes on Sweden: Mariucci Arena to Host Training Camp

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Go Gophers!Don LuciaGo Gophers!


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, five current Gophers are competing for a roster spot on next year's U.S. squad. Sophomore defenseman Brady Skjei, freshman forward Hudson Fasching, freshman forward Taylor Cammarata and freshman defenseman Michael Brodzinski are currently participating at the 2013 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid. Freshman defenseman Tommy Vannelli is also in the hunt for a roster spot for the U.S. team. 

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".

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Hockey announced today that the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team will hold a four-day training camp Dec. 15-18 in Minneapolis. Five practices are scheduled at the University of Minnesota's Mariucci Arena, while a pre-tournament game at Minnesota State University is set for Dec. 17. Team USA will defend its gold medal at the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden, Dec. 26, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014.

The preliminary roster for the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team will be unveiled in early December.

From Minneapolis, training camp will move on to Angelholm, Sweden, Dec. 19-23. The U.S. will play pre-tournament games Dec. 20 vs. Sweden and Dec. 22 vs. Finland. The final 23-player U.S. National Junior Team roster will be announced Dec. 23.

In August, 44 players attended the 2013 U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. Complete details from that camp can be found here.

NOTES: Practices at Mariucci Arena will be open to the public ... Team USA has medaled in three of the last four IIHF World Junior Championshipswinning gold in 2010 and 2013, plus bronze in 2011 ... Don Lucia(Plymouth, Minn.), head coach of the University of Minnesota men's ice hockey team, was named head coach of the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team on March 23Bob Motzko (St. Cloud, Minn.), head coach of the St. Cloud State University men's ice hockey team, Greg Brown (Scituate, Mass.), associate head coach of the Boston College men's ice hockey team, and David Lassonde (Denver, Colo.), assistant coach of the University of Denver men's ice hockey team, will serve as assistant coaches. The video coordinator isDan Muse (Clinton, Conn.), assistant coach of Yale University's men's ice hockey team ... Jim Johannson(Colorado Springs, Colo.), USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations, is serving as the general manager of Team USA for the fifth consecutive year ... Don Waddell (Detroit, Mich.), an international consultant to USA Hockey, is assisting with player identification for Team USA Team USA will compete in a group with Canada, Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship. For more information about the tournament, click here.

2014 U.S. National Junior Team Training Camp Schedule
Dec. 15-23 | Minneapolis, Minn. & Malmo, Sweden

DateEventVenueLocationTime
Sun., Dec. 15PracticeMariucci ArenaMinneapolis, Minn.6:30-8 p.m. CST
Mon., Dec. 16PracticeMariucci ArenaMinneapolis, Minn.10-11:30 a.m. CST
 PracticeMariucci ArenaMinneapolis, Minn.5-6 p.m. CST
Tues., Dec. 17PracticeMariucci ArenaMinneapolis, Minn.10-11:30 a.m. CST
 at Minnesota State UniversityVerizon Wireless CenterMankato, Minn.7:37 p.m. CST
Wed., Dec. 18PracticeMariucci ArenaMinneapolis, Minn.9:30-10:30 a.m. CST
Fri., Dec. 20vs. SwedenLindab ArenaAngelholm, Sweden7:30 p.m. CET
Sun., Dec. 22vs. FinlandLindab ArenaAngelholm, Sweden1:30 p.m. CET

Don Lucia Radio Show Airs Tonight

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Don Lucia

Listen to tonight's show: 1500ESPN.com

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 coach Lucia and co-hosts Wally Shaver and Jeff Dubay on Mondays throughout the season with each show airing live on 1500 ESPN from 6-6:30 p.m. CT. 

This week, the Don Lucia Radio Show looks back at the Gophers' two-game sweep over Bemidji State last weekend and previews the upcoming nonconference series against Boston College this weekend. Lucia, Shaver and Dubay will also discuss Minnesota's new No. 1 ranking in the national polls as well as the hot hands of NCAA leading scorer Sam Warning and rookies Hudson Fasching and Justin Kloos, who are both tied for the Big Ten rookie scoring lead. 

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

What We Learned At Bemidji State

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The Gophers are now 4-0 this season after sweeping the Bemidji State Beavers on the road this past weekend. Minnesota is 4-0 to start a season for just the second time in the last 13 years. In fact, the last two times the Gophers started 4-0 they ended the season with a trip to the Frozen Four.

Here is what we learned this weekend:

Warning To The Nation

Sam Warning looks like a scoring dynamo this season. His nine points through the first two weeks are tied for the most in the nation. He was named the number one star both games in Bemidji after collecting five points on the weekend. His two goals Saturday night marked the second two-goal effort of his career. Sam was challenged in the offseason to become a consistent scorer this season. In the first two weeks, he has delivered. Warning has a goal in every game this season. His five goals on the season are tied for second best in the country.

Upperclassmen Now

Sam Warning might be the headliner, but the whole junior class has raised their game. Defenseman Ben Marshall and forward Travis Boyd each posted a goal and an assist this weekend. Boyd's impact is especially noteworthy due to his struggles last season. It is obvious Travis' strong start on the scoresheet has carried over to his strong forechecking and overall energy on the ice. He was awarded the hard hat for his performance Friday night. Ben Marshall has not been shy to jump into the play during his career, and he has found success early in this season, giving the Gophers more scoring punch from the blue line. Kyle Rau has been as steady this season as Gopher fans have come to respect from the captain.

Freshman Chemistry On Display

The appearance of freshmen Justin Kloos and Taylor Cammarata in Gopher sweaters this season was highly anticipated. This weekend, we began to see the chemistry these two diminutive forwards developed together playing for the United States Hockey League's Waterloo Black Hawks last season. Justin Kloos notched his second goal of the season on Saturday and Cammarata tallied four points this weekend after being held off the scoresheet during the Ice Breaker. Taylor scored his first college goal on Saturday by scooping up and deposited a Kloos' shot, which rebounded of the end boards. Taylor helped set up Kloos in the third period with good work behind the net to find Nate Condon, who quickly feed the puck right to Kloos for Justin's second goal of the season.

Spread The Wealth

The spread of scoring was mentioned last week, but thirteen different Gophers have now found the back of the net this season. Seventeen different Gophers have registered at least a point. A pair of unheralded defensemen joined the list of point producers this weekend with great stretch passes from the defensive zone that led to Gopher goals on the rush. Senior Jake Parenteau assisted on Travis Boyd's crucial goal that evened the score early on Friday's game. Freshman Jake Bischoff collected his first collegiate point with an excellent outlet pass that led to Sam Warning's second goal on Saturday.

What Needs Work

The Gophers need to make a more concretive effort to stay out of the penalty box moving forward this season while the penalty killers continue to improve. Games have been called tight early this season, so Minnesota must adjust. The penalty killers got the job done all four times Saturday night, but in the two games before the Gophers went shorthanded a total of 10 times and yielded four goals. Special teams usually take time at the beginning of the season, but the team could help themselves by eliminating the number of penalties. Minnesota has given up only three goals while at even strength this year.

Looking Ahead

The next four games will tell us a lot about just how good the Gopher team is. A trip to South Bend, Ind. to take on Notre Dame is on the horizon, but the Gophers will need all their focus on next weekend when Boston College comes to town. The always-talented Eagles will come to Mariucci with plenty of confidence after a 9-2 victory over Wisconsin Friday night. Jonny Gaudreau's seven points in three games leads Boston College in scoring. The showdown with Boston College brings together two of the nation's best teams and best freshman classes.

Story By University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock

Gopher Hockey Press Report: Bemidji State

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Go Gophers!Senior Tom Serratore will face off against his uncle's Bemidji State team this weekend.
Go Gophers!

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

*Adam Wilcox steady in net for Gophers Hockey (Star Tribune

*Serratores come together at Bemidji (Minnesota Daily)

*Sam Warning ready to take turn filling up the net (Pioneer Press)

*Gophers' goalie Adam Wilcox picking up where he left off (FSN)

*In-state rivalries still critical for Gophers despite new landscape (1500 ESPN)

*Condon and Rau lead Gophers on and off the ice (Carlson School of Management)

NHL: Good Night for the Gophers

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Kyle Okposo, Erik Johnson and Nick Bjugstad all tallied points in NHL action last night while Jordan Schroeder became the 13th Gopher to play in the NHL this season. 

Okposo helped the New York Islanders dig out of a one-goal deficit in route to a 3-2 win over Edmonton. Okposo's power-play -- his second goal of the season -- tied the game at 2-2 early in the second before the forward added the primary assist on the game-winning goal later in the period. Okposo now has six points (two goals, four assists) in seven games. 


Meanwhile, former Gopher Erik Johnson tallied his first goal of the season -- also on the power play in Colorado's 4-2 loss to Detroit last night. The defenseman took the puck from net to net for the goal, sparking a two-goal rally for the Avalanche.


Noteworthy: 
*Nick Bjugstad tallied his first career assist on Thursday night in Florida's 3-2 loss to Boston.  

*Paul Martin had a game-high 27:30 of ice time and was +2 in Pittsburgh's 4-1 win over Philadelphia. 

*Jordan Schroeder made his season debut for Vancouver in a 3-0 win over Thomas Vanek and the Buffalo Sabres. 

NHL: Vanek Scores, Bjugstad Returns to Lineup

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Tuesday night was full of former Gophers in NHL action including a trio of Gopher vs. Gopher games. 

Among those in action was Thomas Vanek, whose Buffalo Sabres took down Kyle Okposo and the New York Islanders 4-1 in overtime. Vanek gave his team an even slate in the second period, tying the game at 2-2 with a power-play tally for his third goal of the season. Vanek now has five points (three goals, two assists) in eight games this season. 


Noteworthy: 

*The Florida Panthers added Nick Bjugstad to the active roster yesterday with the former Gopher making his season debut in a 4-3 loss to Nashville last night. Bjugstad is now the 12th former Gopher to skate in the NHL this season after Nate Schmidt made his pro debut over the weekend. 

*Paul Martin tallied the primary assist on Pittsburgh's game winner in a 3-2 win over Edmonton. 

*Erik Johnson followed suit with a helper on Colorado's game winner in a 3-2 win against Alex Goligoski and the Dallas Stars. 

*Phil Kessel and Toronto bested Keith Ballard and the Minnesota Wild 4-1 on Tuesday with Kessel tallying an assist in the victory.