NHL: Wheeler's Shootout Score

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Only three NHL games and two former Gophers were on the schedule Monday, but Paul Martin and Blake Wheeler certainly didn't disappoint hockey fans. 

Martin had an impressive 24:47 of ice time -- a game high -- in Pittsburgh's 3-1 win over Anaheim while Wheeler had two assists and this terrific shootout goal for Winnipeg in a 5-4 shootout loss to Calgary. 

Don Lucia Radio Show Airs Tonight

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

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 top-ranked Gophers' nonconference sweep over Minnesota State including Michael Shibrowski's first career shutout. The trio will also look ahead to this weekend's series with Minnesota Duluth at Mariucci Arena. 

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: Minnesota State

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

Reminder both of this weekend's games against Minnesota State are slated for 7:10 p.m. CT puck drops on FOX Sports North PLUS (Channel Guide). Both games will also be available on BTN2Go.com. Friday's opener will remain on 1500 ESPN while Saturday's radio broadcast moves to MyTalk 107.1


*Fresmen class living up to Gophers hockey hype by scoring (Star Tribune)

*Gophers Kick Off Homestand with Mavericks (Gophersports.com

*Mavericks look for better numbers this weekend (FoxSportsNorth.com)

*Pair of freshmen adjust on the ice (Minnesota Daily)

*Freshmen finding success early (Pioneer Press)

*Don Lucia coaches against son in return to alma mater (NHL.com)

*Freshmen make seamless transition on top-ranked Gophers (FoxSportsNorth.com)

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

*Fasching Earns Big Ten Honor (Gophersports.com)

Alumni News: 

*Congrats to Gophers alum Aaron Ness on his first career NHL goal last night for the New York Islanders. 


Gophers Meet the Media: Minnesota State

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The top-ranked Gophers open up a six-game home stand this weekend by welcoming Minnesota State to Minneapolis. The Mavericks were the surprise team in the WCHA last year and beat the Gophers twice, including once at Mariucci Arena. Gopher players and coach Lucia met with the media Wednesday afternoon to discuss last week at Notre Dame and what to look for this weekend.

Minnesota State was picked to win the WCHA at the start of this season and they have found recent success in Mariucci. "We are going to have our hands full. They have good team speed. Even though their record is 4-4, I think that is attributed to injuries," Lucia said. The veteran Gophers will know not to take the Mavericks lightly. The last 10 meeting between the two programs have been split evenly.

Last week, the Gophers split a pair of games at Notre Dame. After a disappointing outcome on Friday night, the Gophers responded to collect a victory on Saturday. "I thought we did not have a good push back in the second and third periods," Lucia said, reflecting on Friday night. "I give our guys a lot of credit for rebounding and finding a way to win on Saturday."

This was the first week that freshman were made available to the media. Based off their hot start, they were front and center Wednesday. "For the most part they were all gifted scorers a year ago. That is why we put them in positions to have success," Lucia said. The freshman accounted for all five goals Saturday at Notre Dame.

 The freshmen themselves were quick to say how the upperclassmen have helped them learn the finer points of the college game. Hudson Fasching has been the star of the freshman class to this point. He has 11 points on the season, which ranks second on the team. From the start of the season Hudson has been on the score sheet playing alongside Kyle Rau and Sam Warning, "I have worked hard and I am on a pretty good line right now," Fasching said. (Rau and Warning) have been tremendous, they are great leaders."

Fellow freshman Justin Kloos' strong work ethic has been acclaimed by upperclassmen this year. Justin has stepped into the second-line center role and has posted 10 points so far. "The older guys and captains have led the way and allowed us to show what we are capable of," Kloos said.

Kloos' line mate Taylor Cammarata has nine points in his last six games. He played with Kloos with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL last year, and it has helped his comfort level as a Gopher. "It took us a little time last year to get used to each other. It clicked about ten games in, and it has been clicking ever since," Cammarata said.

Both of this weekend's games at Mariucci will start at 7:00 p.m. and can be seen live on FSN Plus. Friday's game can be heard on 1500 ESPN, and Saturday you can hear Wally and Frank on MyTalk 107.1.

Story by University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock

 

Don Lucia Radio Show Airs Tonight

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Go Gophers! TopTen
Go Gophers!Don LuciaGo Gophers!

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

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 ahead to Minnesota's series against Minnesota State this weekend at Mariucci Arena. The Gophers are 33-10-6 all-time against the Mavericks, who are coached by former Gophers assistant coach Mike Hastings. While the teams have met 49 times since 1998, this weekend's series marks their first meeting as nonconference opponents. The Gophers are 16-4-6 all-time against Minnesota State at home with this weekend's series kicking off a six-game, three-week home stand for Minnesota. 

Tonight's show will also look back on last weekend's split at Notre Dame. Lucia, a 1981 graduate of Notre Dame, saw his squad fall 4-1 to his alma mater on Friday before rallying for a 5-4 win over the Irish in Saturday's series finale. Saturday's win marked Lucia's 350th win as head coach of the Gophers. 

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: Notre Dame

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

Reminder Friday's game is set for 7 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Network with radio broadcast on MyTalk 107.1. Saturday's radio broadcast returns to ESPN 1500. Both games will be available to stream online at NBCSports.com. 

*Don Lucia enjoys being Mario's dad, not his coach (Star Tribune

*Don, Mario Lucia prep for Round 2 of father-son game (Pioneer Press)

*Lucia to face off with son this weekend (Minnesota Daily)

*Gophers Meet the Media: Notre Dame (Gophersports.com)

*No. 1 Gophers Head to No. 3/4 Notre Dame (Gophersports.com

Alumni News: 

*Okposo Takes Game to Next Level (NYIslanders.com)

*Ex-Gopher Schmidt gets big shot in the NHL with Caps (Star Tribune)

*Aaron Ness Recalled by New York Islanders (EyesonIsles.com)


Islanders: Okposo Takes Game To Next Level

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     Go Gophers!Kyle Okposo
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Former Gophers forward Kyle Okposo is off to a hot start this season, leading the New York Islanders with 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) in 15 games. The forward is now skating with fellow Gophers alum Thomas Vanek on the Islanders' top line following Vanek's trade from Buffalo late last month. 

Cory Wright of NewYorkIslanders.com recently profiled Okposo's success -- read the entire article here.

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Skating on the New York Islanders top line, 25-year-old Kyle Okposo is enjoying the hottest start of his career. The Isles top right winger leads the team in scoring with 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) and is keeping pace with the NHL's scoring leaders.

Okposo is also the hottest Islander at the moment, scoring seven points (one goal, six assists) in his last three games. He scored multiple points in each of those games, including a three-assist effort in a 3-1 win against Boston last Saturday. At the 15-game mark, Okposo has had three, three-game point streaks. 

"Our line has been pretty good with Thomas (Vanek) on it so far," Okposo said. "And playing with Johnny (John Tavares), you know you're going to get opportunities. I'm just taking advantage of my opportunities."

Okposo is making the most of playing on the top line and top power play unit, but he's also contributing to the success of his teammates. Tavares and Isles goal-scoring leader, Frans Nielsen, have benefited from Okposo's playmaking.

"I love how hard he works and how strong he is on the puck," Tavares said of the Islanders assists leader. "Being with a guy that you have confidence in going to the corners and coming out with pucks, skating through the neutral zone, carrying the play and not getting knocked off the puck, it makes the game much easier."

At 6'1, 216 lbs., Okposo has the build and power to drive to the front of the net and grind defensemen down low. What his teammates and coaches are seeing now is the confidence to impose his will in the offensive end, a confidence that stemmed from last years' stretch drive and series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.


"It's no secret he had a good finish to the year last year and he really built off it," Tavares said. "It's really good to see him doing what he's doing. It makes our team so much better and more dangerous.

Head coach Jack Capuano said Okposo's offensive success is being driven by his play without the puck and hard work.

"He's always been a really good player," Capuano said. "When a player realizes how he has to play within the team concept and how he has to play as an individual, it's going to lead to success."

He added, "Kyle's puck protection and the way he's playing in the offensive zone is a function of him being in constant motion and moving his feet."

Last year's playoffs were also an eye-opener for Okposo, who got a taste of the intensity of playoff hockey that has motivated him ever since. He's been an everyday player since 2008-09, but Okposo changed his offseason routine this summer.

"I worked a lot this summer with different people," Okposo said."I did some different training and talked to different people about my game and skill work I had been doing. It's paying off."

He travelled to Toronto and spent a few days with Tavares, who noticed a new focus in Okposo's approach to his off-ice training regimen.

"He's become more of a guy that likes to learn and gets to know how things off the ice impact your game, instead of just going to the gym and doing what you're doing," Tavares said. "He's really gotten to understand that a lot more from what I've seen. He takes a lot of pride in that and he's not satisfied in what he's accomplished. He expects more of himself."

Sitting as the team's leading scorer and playing at over a point-per-game pace, Okposo has definitely delivered for himself and the Islanders so far this season.

Gophers Meet the Media: Notre Dame

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Go Gophers!Mike Reilly
Go Gophers!

No. 1 Minnesota returns to action this week with a trip to South Bend, Ind. to take on No. 3/4 Notre Dame. Minnesota staff and players met with the media Wednesday afternoon to discuss this weekend's difficult-road test after last weekend's bye. 

Minnesota head coach Don Lucia believes the bye week came at a good time for the Gophers.

"(The bye week) was good for us. We did have a few guys that would not have been able to play and they are close to 100% now." 

Senior captain Nate Condon believes the team is recharged after the week off. 

"A bye week always gives guys time to hang out and rest. It gives you time to recover and bring back that fresh lineup."

The Gophers will need a fresh lineup against a Notre Dame team that has won 11-straight games at home dating back to last year. "This is a veteran group," Lucia said. "They are very disciplined and pride themselves on defense, so it will be a really good test for us."

In the last ten years, Notre Dame has evolved into one of the nation's premier college hockey programs. Over the last few seasons, the Irish and Gophers have developed a healthy rivalry.

"They have a lot of talented players. Every time we play them it is something to look forward to and one of those games you circle on the schedule," Condon said.

Coach Lucia's son, Mario, is a forward for the Irish, but coach will try not to approach this weekend any differently. "No family reunions. It is a business trip." Father and son did face-off last year at Mariucci Arena with the Gophers coming out on top. 

Gopher defenseman Mike Reilly is also very familiar with Mario Lucia. The childhood friends roomed together two years ago as members of the Penticton Vees. 

"It is definitely going to be a fun experience," Mike Reilly said. "I am looking forward to competing against him."

Friday's game is at 7:00 p.m. CT can be seen on the NBC Sports Network. Saturday's contest will start at 6:00 p.m. CT and will be streamed online at NBCsports.com.

-Story by University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock

Don Lucia Radio Show Airs Tonight

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Go Gophers! TopTen
Go Gophers!Don Lucia
Go Gophers!


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

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 ahead to the upcoming weekend's series at No. 3/4 Notre Dame as well as looking back on the Gophers' bye weekend that included a special event with Minnesota Hockey and the Hendrickson Foundation

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

Xcel Energy Center Named Finalist for Future Frozen Fours

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Go Gophers!Xcel Energy Center
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The NCAA and the Men's Ice Hockey Committee has announced finalists to host the 2015-18 Frozen Fours with the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul among the 10 finalists. 

The potential host cities also include: Boston, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Chicago, Columbus, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa, and Washington D.C. All but Chicago and Brooklyn have hosted Frozen Fours before. Pittsburgh hosted the Frozen Four last year while Philadelphia is hosting this year.

The Committee is expected to name the four winning bids some time in late November.

Xcel Energy Center has previously hosted the NCAA Frozen Four twice, most recently in 2011. The facility first hosted the national championship in 2002 with the Gophers topping Maine to win the fourth overall NCAA title in program history and the first of back-to-back national titles.