NHL: Bjugstad, Wheeler Tally Winners

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We've been busy the last couple weeks, but so have our Gopher alums in the NHL including big nights from Nick Bjugstad and Blake Wheeler on Sunday. 

Bjugstad, who ranks third among Panthers and 10th among all NHL rookies this season with 11 goals, scored on this smooth shootout attempt for the eventual winner in Florida's 5-4 shootout win over Detroit:


Wheeler, meanwhile, notched the eventual game winner in regulation for Winnipeg's 3-1 rally over Nick Leddy and the Chicago Blackhawks and then the forward pocketed an empty net goal go boot. Wheeler leads the Jets with 21 goals this season while his 43 points are one off the team lead. 

"I think we loosened up in the second intermission," Wheeler said after the game. "We almost had to laugh at ourselves a bit the way the game had gone, especially the first period. They were all over us and our goalie was huge."

North Star College Cup to Visit Radio Show Tonight

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

MINNEAPOLIS -- Don't miss your chance to see the North Star College Cup up close and personal tonight at the Beacon Public House on campus. 

The North Star College Cup will be at the Beacon from 5:30-6:30 p.m. CT tonight as part of this week's Don Lucia Radio Show on 1500 ESPN. Fans attending tonight's show are invited to have their picture taken with Minnesota's newest trophy following a thrilling shootout win over UMD in the event's championship game on Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center.

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 a hectic month of January that saw Minnesota play Penn State for the first time ever, win the Hockey City Classic against Ohio State at TCF Bank Stadium and capture the inaugural North Star College Cup last weekend at Xcel Energy Center to extend the nation's longest unbeaten streak to 12 games. Lucia and Shaver will also preview this weekend's Big Ten Conference series against Michigan State. The Spartans come to Mariucci Arena this weekend for a two-game series -- Friday's 8 p.m. tilt is on the Big Ten Network while Saturday's 7 p.m. finale is on FOX Sports North PLUS (Channel Guide). Both games can also be heard live on the 1500 ESPN airwaves. 

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. 

HDM Video: Reilly Family Feature

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In case you missed it, FOX Sports North told the unique story of the Reilly family as part of Hockey Day Minnesota 2014 last Saturday. Not only does the family have three brothers (Mike, Ryan and Connor) on the top-ranked Gopher men's hockey team, but all five Reilly children are slated to have played or to play Division I hockey with older sister, Shannon, at Ohio State and younger sister, Caitlin, signed to play for Penn State starting next season. Furthermore, the family patriarch, also Mike Reilly, is a Gopher Hockey alum. 

Check it out: 

Warning's Hat Trick Featured in NCAA Top Plays

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Big Ten Second Star of the Week Sam Warning tallied the first natural hat trick in Big Ten Conference history on Saturday in a 4-2 win over Ohio State, and the performance landed him on the NCAA's Top Plays of the Week. 

Check it out. 

Don Lucia Radio Show Airs Tonight

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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 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 a historic weekend in Gopher Hockey history -- Minnesota beat Ohio State 1-0 on Friday night as part of the Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium. The game was Minnesota's first outdoor hockey game in the state in over 80 years while 45,021 fans packed TCF Bank Stadium for the largest hockey crowd in the state's history. The Gophers closed out the weekend with a sweep over the Buckeyes in a 4-2 win on Saturday as part of Hockey Day Minnesota including Sam Warning's natural hat trick -- the first in Big Ten Conference history and Minnesota's first since 2010. 

The Gophers return to action this weekend with the inaugural North Star College Cup at Xcel Energy Center, putting the program's 10-game unbeaten streak (longest active in the nation) on the line. 

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

NHL: Haula Nets First NHL Goal

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A belated congrats to Gophers alum Erik Haula, who scored his first NHL goal on Saturday night in a 3-2 overtime win for the Minnesota Wild over Alex Goligoski and the Dallas Stars. 


The native of Pori, Finland has taken a liking to Hockey Day Minnesota -- the forward has five points (two goals, three assists) in four career appearances in the event. Haula tallied the game-winning goal and two assists in his first appearance as a freshman for the Gophers (a 7-3 Minnesota win over Denver) before picking up an assist in last year's 4-4 overtime tie with North Dakota as a junior in his final collegiate appearance for HDM. 

In 17 games with the Wild this season, Haula has three points and two assists to go along with his first NHL goal -- he's also played 24 games with the organization's AHL affiliate in Iowa with 17 points (nine goals, eight games). 

Haula is one of 15 former Gophers to play in the NHL this season including four program alums (Thomas Vanek, Paul Martin, Blake Wheeler, Phil Kessel) who will compete in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games next month in Sochi, Russia. 




Fan Vote Open for Hobey Baker Award

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St. Paul, Minn. - As college hockey enters the second half of the season, fans of the collegiate game can now help determine the winner of the 2014 Hobey Baker Award.

Awarded annually to college hockey's top player, the Hobey Baker's highly popular fan-voting phase opens at noon CT on Tuesday, January 14. Visit the Hobey Baker website: www.hobeybakeraward.com. Click on the Vote for Hobey icon and follow the prompts to make your selection from this year's outstanding crop of college hockey players.  Please spend some additional time to check out our redesigned website.

This first phase of fan balloting will run now through March 9, 2014. Phase two of fan balloting will begin on March 20 from the list of Top Ten Hobey Baker finalists. The fans' vote accounts for a full 1 percent of the total ballot in each phase in selecting this year's award recipient.

Award criteria include candidates emulating the exceptional character traits exhibited by the award's namesake, Hobey Baker. A legendary American hero, Baker was a World War I fighter pilot and was known as America's greatest amateur athlete in his day, excelling at hockey and football at Princeton University. Award candidates must demonstrate strength of character both on and off the ice, contribute to the integrity of his team and display outstanding skills in all phases of the game. Consideration should be given to scholastic achievement and sportsmanship. 

Key Hobey Baker announcement dates for 2014 include:

*Top Ten list of candidates:  March 20

*Hobey Hat Trick of three finalists:  April 2

*Hobey Baker Award announcement:  April 11

The 2014 Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced from a field of three Hobey Hat Trick finalists on Friday, April 11, 2014 during the NCAA Frozen Four Championships in Philadelphia, PA. The 34th annual award announcement honoring college hockey's top player will be televised live. For more info on the Hobey Baker Award or to access the Hobey logo, please visit www.hobeybakeraward.com.

Olympics: Vanek to Skate for Austria at Sochi

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Austria announced its Olympic team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Tuesday with former Gopher and current New York Islander Thomas Vanek headlining the squad. 

Vanek will make his Olympic debut this year with Austria, which has qualified for the Winter Olympics for the first time since 2002. The forward has previously represented his home country on the 2004, 2005 and 2009 Austrian National Teams as well as the Austrian National Junior Team at the 2004 IIHF World Junior Championships.

With Vanek's roster spot locked up, the Gophers now have four former players skating at the 2014 Winter Olympics -- Paul Martin, Phil Kessel and Blake Wheeler will skate for the U.S. National Team. Additionally, former Gopher All-American and current Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards will serve as an assistant coach for the U.S. men's program while Hobey Baker Award winner Robb Stauber will serve as the goaltenders coach for the U.S. women's team. 

Gopher Hockey has sent a representative to every Winter Olympics since 1936 with six representatives in 2014 serving as the most since the 'U' sent six players to Sarajevo in 1984. 

The men's ice hockey competition at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi runs from Feb. 13-13. 

Don Lucia Radio Show Airs Tonight

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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 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 23rd annual Mariucci Classic last weekend that saw the Gophers tie Colgate 2-2 in overtime (Colgate advanced to the championship game via a shootout and then beat No. 2 Ferris State 3-0) and top RPI 6-2. We'll also look ahead to this weekend's Sunday-Monday series at Penn State -- the first-ever series with the Nittany Lions. 

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 Represent on U.S. Olympic Roster

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Four former Gophers will be headed to Sochi next month as part of the  2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team. USA Hockey announced the squad on Wednesday as part of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic festivities in Ann Arbor, Mich. 

Former Gophers Phil Kessel, Blake Wheeler and Paul Martin were named to the U.S. roster while current Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards will serve as an assistant coach with the U.S. team. 

"We went through a very thorough process to get to today and could not be happier with the team we've selected," said David Poile, general manager of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team and also the GM and president of hockey operations for the NHL's Nashville Predators. "We're fortunate to have probably the deepest talent pool we've ever had in our country and that made for some very difficult decisions. In the end, however, we're confident we've selected a group of players that puts us in the best position to have success in Sochi."

The Gophers have had at least one representative in the last 18 Winter Olympic Games, dating back to 1936. While all three Gophers have skated for USA Hockey in the past only Kessel hasskated for the U.S. Olympic team previously, earning a silver medal at the 2010 Games in Vancouver. Richards, meanwhile, competed as a defenseman for the U.S. at the 1994 Games in Lillehammer. 

"We appreciate the work done by David (Poile) and all those involved in putting this roster together," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "We look forward to what will be a great Olympics in Sochi, where hockey will be at the center of attention."

The men's ice hockey competition at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi runs from Feb. 13-23. For more information on the games as well as the U.S. squad, visit USAHockey.com. 

Related Links: 
Martin Pumped for Opportunity to Play for USA (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Stauber Named to U.S. Women's Olympic Team Staff (Gophersports.com)