Gophers Celebrate Senior Night on Saturday

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Justin Holl, Michael Shibrowski, Tom Serratore, Jake Parenteau, Nate CondonGo Gophers!

For five Minnesota seniors,tonight's game against Penn State marks their final time taking the ice at Mariucci Arena. Among their many accolades, this year's group of graduating seniors earned a trip to the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four, won back-to-back MacNaughton Cups as WCHA regular-season champions, set a Minnesota attendance record at the 2014 Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium and helped the Gophers capture the inaugural North Star College Cup. In their four years with the program, the Gophers 92-41-17 -- a .670 winning percentage. Gopher Hockey and the University of Minnesota will honor the senior class before tonight's 6:10 p.m. CT game. 

Here's what the seniors had to say about their time with the Maroon & Gold. 

Nate Condon | #16 | Forward | Wausau, Wis. 

"Over the past four years, I have learned what a great honor it is to play for the Gophers.  Minnesota has a storied history that I am very proud to say I could be a small part of.  The time that I have been here has made me greatly appreciate the experience of college athletics, as well as recognize the efforts many have made to get me here.  The drive to succeed and unwillingness to settle for anything less than exceptional is a value given to me by my parents, Barb and Tim, and my brothers, Nick and Ryan.  Without them pushing me constantly I would not be in the situation I am today.  I would like to thank them, my teammates, my friends, and everyone else who has made my experience at the 'U' something I will never forget." 

Justin Holl | #12 | Defenseman | Tonka Bay, Minn. 

"I am honored to be a part of the Gopher Hockey tradition.  Playing in front of the best fans in college hockey at the best arena in college hockey has been an unbelievable experience that I will never forget.  I would like to thank my family; my parents, Jerry and Sue, my brother, David, and my sister, Julia, for their love and support throughout my hockey career.  I would also like to thank my teammates here at the University of Minnesota for an unforgettable four years.  Thank you all for making my time here memorable."

Jake Parenteau | #6 | Defenseman | Franconia, Minn. 

"I cannot begin to thank everyone who has helped me get to this point in my life, but I am incredibly grateful to have had so much support from so many people. Playing hockey at the University of Minnesota has been a dream come true for me, and I am so honored every time I get to put on my jersey. It has been a true privilege to play here at the 'U'. I want to thank my family - especially my parents, Tom and Shellee - and my friends for everything they have done to help me get here. I'd also like to thank all the coaches, teammates and fans who have supported me throughout my career."

Tom Serratore | #14 | Forward | Colorado Springs, Colo. 

"I am very fortunate and honored to have been given a chance to wear the 'M' at the University of Minnesota. I am also very grateful to have been surrounded by so many incredible people who have helped me reach my goal of wearing the Maroon and Gold. I would like to thank my family, friends, teammates and coaches along the way who have supported me and helped me grow both on and off the ice. I would especially like to thank my parents, Frank and Carol, for helping me live out my dream of playing college hockey. Thanks for the memories!" 

Michael Shibrowski | #1 | Goaltender | Andover, Minn. 

"As a kid, I always dreamed of being a Gopher, so to have the opportunity to put on that jersey and wear the 'M' is pretty special. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to play for the University of Minnesota. I want to thank our staff for the opportunity and support along the way, my teammates for the memories and friendships I have created, and my family and friends for all the support. Specifically I'd like to thank my Dad, Gary, Mom, Kathy, and my brother, Aaron, who sacrificed so much to give me the opportunity to be here and for that I will always be grateful. Thank you to everyone who has helped me throughout my career. It has been a thrill to play in front of the best fans in college hockey."

Gopher Hockey Press Report: Penn State

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Catch up on all the news around Gopher Hockey before this weekend's series with Penn State gets underway. 

Minnesota Daily: Bromance on ice

Reminder, Friday's series opener is set for 8 p.m. CT on the Big Ten Network and BTN2Go.com (Matt Shepard, Ben Clymer, Mark Strobel) while Saturday's finale is slated for 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Network (Dan Kelly, Ben Clymer). Friday's radio broadcast will be on 1500 ESPN while Saturday is on MyTalk 107.1. Both games will also be on the Gopher Radio Network (Wally Shaver, Frank Mazzocco).

Gopher Meet the Media: Penn State

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MINNEAPOLIS (Gophersports.com) -- The No. 2 Minnesota men's hockey program met with the media on Wednesday afternoon to preview this weekend's Big Ten series with Penn State. 

For Minnesota seniors Nate Condon, Justin Holl, Jake Parenteau, Tom Serratore and Michael Shibrowski, this weekend's series  will be their final games at Mariucci Arena. Hear what they had to say about the upcoming games. 

Reminder, Friday's series opener is set for 8 p.m. CT on the Big Ten Network and BTN2Go.com (Matt Shepard, Ben Clymer, Mark Strobel) while Saturday's finale is slated for 6 p.m. on NBC Sports Network (Dan Kelly, Ben Clymer). Friday's radio broadcast will be on 1500 ESPN while Saturday is on MyTalk 107.1. Both games will also be on the Gopher Radio Network (Wally Shaver, Frank Mazzocco). 

NHL: Catching Up with Nick Bjugstad

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We caught up with former Gopher All-American Nick Bjugstad last weekend when the current Florida Panthers forward was back in town during the Olympic break. Check out the video below to hear what Bjugstad had to say about his time as a Gopher, his first NHL game and transitioning to the pro game.  


Through 52 games this season with Florida, Bjugstad has 23 points for the Panthers while his 13 goals are tied for second on the team. Bjugstad was selected 19th overall in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Panthers. 

During his three seasons with the Maroon & Gold, no Gopher scored more goals than Bjugstad with 54 while the forward tallied 98 total points in 109 career games. In Bjugstad's final two seasons with the program, the Gophers earned two-straight MacNaughton cups as Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) regular-season champions and two NCAA tournament berths including the team's run to the NCAA Frozen Four in 2011-12.

Gopher Hockey Press Report: Michigan

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Catch up on all the news around around Gopher Hockey as No. 2 Minnesota prepares for a Big Ten Conference series against No. 10/11 Michigan this weekend at Mariucci Arena. 

College Hockey News: Hudson Crossing

Alums:

Reminder, Friday's series opener with the Wolverines is set for 8:04 p.m. CT on the Big Ten Network (Dan Kelly, Ben Clymer, Fred Pletsch) while Saturday's finale is slated for a 7:10 p.m. puck drop on FOX Sports North (Doug McLeod, Ben Clymer, Kevin Gorg). Both games will also be streamed on BTN2Go.com. Radio broadcasts for both games will be on the Gopher Radio Network and flagship station 1500 ESPN (Wally Shaver, Frank Mazzocco). 

Gophers Meet the Media: Michigan

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The Gophers will be back inside the friendly confines of Mariucci Arena this weekend when they host No. 10/11 Michigan. Coach Don Lucia and members of the team met with the media Wednesday afternoon to discuss the clash with another one of college hockey's iconic programs.

Both teams will be hungry to reverse poor results from the past weekend. The Gophers were swept at Wisconsin for the first time since 1999 and Wolverines suffered a surprising 4-0 loss at Penn State. Minnesota knows their biggest problem is a lack of goal scoring. 

"It is not easy to score goals and it gets harder as the second half wears on," Lucia said. "We did a lot of things well over the course of the (Wisconsin) series. Hopefully, we will continue to do those."

The low goal totals have become a worrying trend for Minnesota. The Gophers have scored just one goal in four of their last eight games. "We have had plenty of opportunities. We just have to bear down and score," defenseman Brady Skjei said.

Defenseman Justin Holl is excited to put last weekend's disappointment in the rear-view mirror and face the challenge a program like Michigan presents. "I think we would rather have it this way instead of playing a softer team. I think is good that we play a tough team and test ourselves right away."

Minnesota has squared off with Michigan 259 times over the years, but not since 2010 when the Gophers captured a 3-1 victory. Fans can expect up-tempo games and lots of transition opportunities. "Michigan is like us. They might not have a dominate offensive player, but they have three lines that can score, a mobile defense, and a goaltender that is playing very well," Lucia said.

As we witness the beginning Big Ten hockey conference, there is a desire to see old rivalries get reinvigorated. The Minnesota-Michigan rivalry is one of those. "I think it will become a really good rivalry," Lucia said. "We had some big games with them and they have had great teams year in and year out. I think this is next rivalry to really ramp up in the Big Ten for us." With four of the Gophers' last eight regular season games against the Maize and Blue there is an expectation to see the rivalry flourish in the near future.

Minnesota goes back to a traditional Friday-Saturday series against the Wolverines. Friday's contest begins at 8 p.m. CT and air live on the Big Ten Network. Saturday's game starts at 7 p.m. CT and can be seen on Fox Sports North. Both games can be heard on 1500 ESPN with Wally Shaver and Frank Mazzocco.

Story by University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock

 

Gopher Hockey Press Report: Wisconsin

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Gophers Meet the Media: Wisconsin

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The Gophers will be in Madison later this week to conclude their regular-season series with the Badgers. Minnesota swept Wisconsin at Mariucci Arena back in November. Coach Don Lucia and members of the team met with the media Tuesday afternoon to preview the Boarder Battle.

Games against Wisconsin are traditionally tight, defensive affairs. 

"We know that we are going to have to win a 2-1 or 3-1 type of game," Lucia said. "For us to be effective this is the type of weekend where Hudson Fasching and Seth Ambroz, guys who are big and strong around the net, need to score some goals."

The Badgers have made good use of home ice this season, compiling a 13-2-1 record. "It is a good environment for our guys to play in. It will be especially good for our young guys to be put in that environment," Lucia said. The Gophers have won at least one game at the Kohl Center every season since 2007-08.

Captain Nate Condon will play collegiate hockey in Madison for the last time this weekend. He will do so in front of an estimated 20 family members. "It is always fun to go back and play because a bunch of my family is there," Condon said. "(Current Badgers) are the guys I played with in youth hockey, so it has always been fun to play against them."

Seth Ambroz scored four goals against the Badgers during the November series, including both game winners. "The biggest thing is that the team comes out with a pair of wins. Hopefully, I can contribute as much as possible and continue being successful against Wisconsin," Ambroz said. "Everything is just a little bit more important when it is a rivalry,"

Goaltender Adam Wilcox posted his sixth career shutout on Saturday against Michigan State. "Adam is pretty consistent. I think that is the one trait I like most about him," Lucia said. Wilcox's play over the past couple of weeks has allowed the Gophers to win games despite the offense's lack of rhythm. "Wilcox has been playing really well and that is great, but we do have to find our game offensively and put a few more goals in," Ambroz said.

The injury report remains unchanged from last week. Minnesota will be without the services of Tom Serratore and Michael Brodzinski, but everyone else is available for the trip to Madison.

The schedule throws another curveball at the Gophers this week with games on Thursday and Friday. Thursday's action gets underway at 7:30 p.m. CT and Friday's contest will begin at 8 p.m. CT. The Big Ten Network will broadcast both games live. Fans can listen to Wally Shaver and Frank Mazzocco call the games on 1500 ESPN.

Story by University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock

Don't Miss the Don Lucia Radio Show Monday Night

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Go Gophers! TopTen
Go Gophers!Nate Condon with the Mariucci-Bessone Trophy. 
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. 

Join Lucia and co-host Wally Shaver on Mondays throughout the season with each show airing live from 6:00-6:30 p.m. CT on 1500 ESPN. 

This week, the Don Lucia Radio Show looks back at Minnesota's series with Michigan State that saw the Gophers go to their fifth shootout of the season on Friday before picking up a 1-0 shutout victory over the Spartans on Saturday. 

The Gophers return to action this weekend with a rare Thursday-Friday Big Ten series in Madison. Minnesota and Wisconsin face off on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. CT (BTN, BTN2Go.com, 1500 ESPN) before closing out the series on Friday at 8 p.m. (BTN, BTN2Go.com, 1500 ESPN).

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. 

Gophers Meet the Media: Michigan State

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The No. 1 Gophers will welcome Michigan State to Mariucci Arena this weekend for a two-game set. The series kicks off Minnesota's 12-game stretch against Big Ten opponents to close out the regular season. Select Gopher players and head coach Don Lucia met with the media Wednesday afternoon to discuss the showdown with the Spartans and events of the past couple weeks.

The Gophers took four of a possible six points from the Spartans during a road trip in early December. 

"They are a good defensive team. (Goalie Jake Hildebrand) is very good," coach Lucia said. The Spartans dropped a pair of game last weekend to their archrival Michigan.

The last three weeks offered unique quirks with a Monday game, an outdoor game, and a trophy. 

"It was pretty crazy. It was a lot of new experiences, even for the guys who have been here for a few years," said forward Travis Boyd. "It was fun, but at the same time it was a little hectic."

This week's return to Mariucci means the Gophers can fall back into a routine. Minnesota recently completed a stretch of four games at four different venues.

"It is good to be at home again. We are looking forward to the Big Ten rivalries picking up again," said defenseman Mike Reilly.

The non-conference portion of the Gophers schedule is now complete with Minnesota posting an 11-2-3 record out of conference. The Gophers will face strictly Big Ten opposition prior to the NCAA postseason. 

"(The schedule) is starting to ramp up now," Lucia said. "We have not seen Michigan yet, we have to go to Madison, and we have a very difficult finish at Ohio State and at Michigan."

Minnesota is currently riding a 12-game unbeaten streak -- the longest active unbeaten streak in the nation -- but the players know their recent hockey hasn't been their best. 

"We have to give a ton of credit to Adam Wilcox for this past weekend," Reilly said. "We have to pick it up (going forward) and start focusing a little bit better."

The Gophers will be forced to play with five defensemen on Friday. Michael Brodzinski will be out a few weeks with a lower-body injury and Ben Marshall must miss out on Friday's action after receiving his third game misconduct of the year in the title tilt of the North Star College Cup. Marshall is eligible to return to the Gopher lineup on Saturday. Tom Serratore also sustained a lower-body injury on Saturday and will be sidelined a few weeks.

Friday's puck drop is at 8 p.m. CT and will be shown live on BTN. Saturday's contest begins at 7 p.m. CT and will be shown live on FSN Plus. Fans can listen to Wally Shaver and Frank Mazzocco call both games this weekend on 1500 ESPN.

-Story by University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock