There's no doubt that former Gopher Jordan Schroeder will remember his first NHL goal -- even if it doesn't officially count.
The Vancouver forward scored the shootout winner with this wrister on Friday, giving the Canucks a 2-1 victory over Chicago.
"I wanted to go in with some speed and wide," Schroeder told Canucks.com after the game. "I came back to the middle and changed my pace of speed. I froze him. He opened up the five hole a little bit, and it trickled through."
Schroeder's slot in the shootout lineup for Vancouver on Friday is even more impressive considering he made his NHL debut just over a week ago.
"We have been working on it," he said. "I knew my name would get called. I was fortunate enough to get one and score."
Former Gopher and current Canucks teammate Keith Ballard finished the night +1 with two blocked shots in the win while Chicago's Nick Leddy was also in the shootout lineup although the defenseman couldn't beat Roberto Luongo.
*Alex Goligoski had four blocked shots, a hit, two shots and one minor penalty in Dallas' 4-3 shootout win over Phoenix. Goligoski also had a team-high 25:24 of ice time.
*Saturday NHL games: NJD vs. PIT (Martin), EDM vs. COL (Johnson), BUF (Vanek, Leopold), NYR (Bickel) vs. TBL, BOS vs. TOR (Kessel), DAL (Goligoski) vs. PHX, CHI (Leddy) vs. CAL.
*Don't forget Skate with the Gophers is today from 1-4 at Mariucci Arena. To buy tickets, visit MyGopherSports.com.
In case you missed it, former Gopher Thomas Vanek vaulted into the NHL scoring lead on Thursday night with his second five-point game of the young NHL season. Vanek notched his eighth career hat trick and added a pair of assists to lead Buffalo to a 7-4 win over Boston for the Bruins' first regulation loss of the season.
*Paul Martin again led the Penguins with 26:23 of ice time on Thursday in a 3-0 win over the New York Rangers.
*Blake Wheeler had a pair of assists in a 3-6 loss to Florida. Wheeler's first helper of the night came off a great steal and subsequent backhanded dish to Olli Jokinen.
The No. 1 Minnesota men's hockey team is set to host its annual Skate with the Gophers event this Saturday with limited space remaining.
Saturday's event runs from 1:00-4:00 p.m. at Mariucci Arena with 20-minute sessions for each group of skaters. In addition to skating on with current Gophers, fans will also be able to participate in the following activities in the Mariucci Arena concourse.
*Autographs with the 2012-13 Gopher men's hockey team
*Hockey Skills Zone
*Photographs with Minnesota's national championship trophies as well as the MacNaughton Cup
*Equipment try-on station
*Meet the Gopher Hockey Cheerleaders
*Gopher Basketball free throw contest
*Temporary tattoo and face painting stations
*Sports Authority Spin-to-Win
*And of course...Goldy will be there too!
To register for this year's Skate with the Gophers and to learn more about the event, visit MyGopherSports.com.
Note: The doors will open at 12:30 p.m. Please bring your own skates for skating. There are limited skates available to rent.
For the second night in a row, former Gopher Jim O'Brien dug Ottawa out of an early deficit in route to a Senators' win.
After sparking the Sens to a 3-2 rally after being down 2-0 to Washington on Tuesday, O'Brien replicated the performance on Wednesday, quickly answering Montreal's early goal with the first of five unanswered scores by the Senators in a 5-1 win over the Canadiens.
*Jordan Schroeder, Keith Ballard and the Vancouver Canucks came out on top in a 3-0 battle over Erik Johnson and the Colorado Avalanche.
*Thursday NHL Games with Gopher connections: BUF (Vanek, Leopold) vs. Boston, WAS vs. TOR (Kessel), PIT (Martin) vs. NYR (Bickel), COL (Johnson) vs. CAL, NYI (Okposo) vs. NJD, WPG (Wheeler) vs. FLA.
*In AHL news, Kent Patterson has been called up to the Lake Erie Monsters. Patterson was named the CHL's Goaltender of the Month and Rookie of the Month for December with the Denver Cutthroats. (More to follow).
Former Gopher Jim O'Brien sparked a three-goal rally for Ottawa on Tuesday night in a 3-2 Senators' win over Washington. After the Capitals scored twice in the first period, O'Brien tallied his second goal of the season with 1.23 left in the second period -- the first of three unanswered goals by the home squad (Milan Michalek and Sergie Gonchar would add third period goals for Ottawa).
Now just six games into the season, O'Brien needs just one goal to tie his career best (3-3--6 in 28 games in 2011-12).
Wheeler Nears 200 Career Points
Blake Wheeler picked up a power-play goal on Tuesday in Winnipeg's 4-3 loss to Montreal. The forward has three goals and three assists this season, bringing his career point total to 197 (77 goals, 120 assists). Here's Wheeler's blast of a power-play goal from Tuesday night:
After a relatively quiet night in the NHL on Monday, we're unveiling a new weekly blog post for fans who want to follow ALL former Gophers playing professional hockey. Every Tuesday we'll post season totals for Minnesota alumni, whether they play in the NHL, the AHL, the ECHL, the CHL or any other league that keeps track of stats.
Here's the first edition of Gophers In The Pros!
Monday NHL Notes
*Four Gophers were in action on Monday -- Ballard (VAN), Schroeder (VAN), Goligoski (DAL) and Johnson (COL).
*Goligoski assisted on Dallas' only goal in a 2-1 loss to Columbus while also tallying four shots, two hits, two penalties and a blocked shot. Here's the former Gopher defenseman's assist on Philip Larsen's second period goal to give Dallas a 1-0 lead.
For the fifth-straight week, the Minnesota men's hockey program is the top-ranked team in college hockey in both the USCHO.com poll and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.
Minnesota (18-4-4 overall, 10-4-4) picked up 975 total points including 28 first-place votes in this week's USCHO.com poll to edge second-ranked Quinnipiac (18-3-3, 967 points, 22 first-place votes). New Hampshire (15-6-2, 871 points), Miami (15-6-5, 835 points) and Boston College (14-7-2, 771 points) round out the top five this week.
The Gophers are also the nation's top team according to this week's USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, picking up 497 points including 23 first-place votes. Quinnipiac ranks second with 485 points and 11 first-place votes while Miami (420), New Hampshire (417) and Boston College (369) round out the top five.
Elsewhere in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, North Dakota ranks seventh in the USCHO.com poll and eighth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll. Denver comes in at 10th in both polls, St. Cloud State ranks 12/13, Omaha sits at 14th in both polls with Minnesota State sitting one spot back in 15th. Wisconsin improved to 19th in this week's USCHO.com poll.
The Gophers are off this weekend before heading to St. Cloud State the following weekend for the first and only series between the two in-state rivals this season (both programs' last in the WCHA). The Huskies sit on top of the WCHA standings currently with 25 league points -- one point ahead of Minnesota and Omaha in a second-place tie with 24.
The No. 1 Gophers may be off this weekend, but the Don Lucia Radio Show continues tonight at the Beacon Public House on campus. If you haven't checked out the new restaurant yet, catch tonight's show live starting at 6 p.m. as Coach Lucia and Wally Shaver discuss all things surrounding Gopher hockey. Tonight's show also airs live on 1500 ESPN.
Tonight, Lucia and Shaver break down last weekend's split with Minnesota State and look ahead to the Gophers' road trip to St. Cloud State following the bye weekend. The duo will also look ahead to the upcoming OfficeMax Hockey City Classic -- Minnesota's first outdoor game in the modern era on Feb. 17 at Chicago's Soldier Field against WCHA rival Wisconsin.
Fans can also participate in the show via social media by tweeting their questions using the hash tag #PrideonIce. We'll ask the best questions live on the air.
The Beacon Public House offers great deals each week for the Don Lucia Radio Show including half price entrees and a happy hour special. The Beacon Public House is located in the new Commons Hotel on campus (615 Washington Avenue SE).
Former Gopher Nick Leddy's first goal of the year sure was a big one -- the overtime game winner in Chicago's 2-1 victory over Detroit on Sunday night that gave the team its sixth-straight win to open the season (a franchise record).
Leddy -- in his third year with the Blackhawks -- has five points (one goal, four assists) this season including four in the last five games. The defenseman, who scored on his only shot of the night and finished the game as a +1, needs one more point for his 50th career mark.
*There were two Gophers vs. Gophers matchups on Sunday night. Blake Wheeler's Winnipeg Jets topped Kyle Okposo and the New York Islanders 5-4 in overtime while Paul Martin and the Pittsburgh Penguins took a 2-1 shootout victory from Jim O'Brien and the Ottawa Senators.
*Wheeler had an assist that helped spark a two-goal rally for the Jets to force overtime and also added three shots, two blocked shots and a hit. Okposo also tallied an assist along with one blocked shot, two hits, two shots and a minor penalty.
*O'Brien had four hits in the game for Ottawa while Martin had a pair of blocked shots and led the Penguins with 30:26 of ice time.
*Jordan Leopold finished +1 with a blocked shot and a hit in Buffalo's 3-2 loss to Washington. Thomas Vanek, who had been on the ice for all 11 of Buffalo's goals through the first four games of the season, sat out Sunday's game with a muscle strain.
*Jordan Schroeder, Keith Ballard and the Vancouver Canucks dropped a 4-1 game to the still unbeaten San Jose Sharks.
*Monday NHL games for the Gophers: Vancouver (Ballard, Schroeder) vs. Los Angeles, Dallas (Goligoski) vs. Columbus, Colorado (Johnson) vs. Edmonton.
Here are some thoughts from the Gophers' 4-1 victory over Minnesota
Gophers Win in Mankato
The Gophers bounced back from yesterday's disappointing 2-1
lost to claim a 4-1 victory in Mankato. The Gophers have not lost a WCHA weekend since
last February at Denver. Minnesota had more energy in the early stages of
tonight's game, blocked shots, and got a boost from first-period goals by Justin Hull and Nate
Schmidt and a 26-save effort by Adam Wilcox.
Much Better Start
On Friday night, Minnesota looked sluggish and failed to use
the hometown crowd to their advantage early in the contest. Saturday, on the road,
the early effort was there. The Gophers took the crowd out of the game and
aggressively attacked the Mavericks in the first period with solid fore-checking.
The Gophers registered just eight shots on goal in the first period Friday. Tonight,
they had 13. The late power-play goal by Nate Schmidt capped off a road period the
Gophers could take pride in.
Holl Has One
Justin Holl scored his first goal of the season with a
spectacular individual effort, turning over a puck and finishing on a
breakaway. In fact, it was Holl's first goal in 42 games. The goal was
especially important to the Gophers because it gave them an early lead on the
road. Before this season, Holl was an everyday defenseman for Minnesota. He has
done a great job transitioning to a forward role in 2012-13. He was one of the
most noticeable Gophers on Friday night and continued to make his presence felt
on Saturday, creating multiple grade A scoring chances with his speed.
The Captain Comes Through
When a team has a disappointing loss like the Gophers did Friday
night, the captain has extra responsibility to help the team positively
respond. Gopher captain Zach Budish did just that. He had a goal and an assist
tonight. His goal gave the Gophers breathing room in the third period. He was
one of three Gophers, (Rau and Haula) to have multiple points in the game.
Tonight's performance comes after a three-point weekend against North Dakota.
Mavericks Have Impressed This Season
Minnesota State played step for step with the Gophers in all
four meetings this season. Tonight was the last WCHA regular season meeting
between Minnesota and Minnesota State. However, the teams will continue to play
next year as non-conference opponents. The Mavericks are tentatively scheduled
to visit Mariucci for a pair of games next season. The season series ended
Written by Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock