The No. 8/10 Gopher Hockey program makes its 36th all-time appearance in the NCAA tournament this weekend, competing at the NCAA Northeast Regional in Manchester, N.H.
The Gophers take on the winner of Thursday's Ohio State/Penn State game on Friday at 3:30 p.m. CT in semifinal action.
The Gophers are in the hunt for a fourth-straight regular-season conference championship this weekend.
The Gophers return to Big Ten action this weekend with a two-game series against the Badgers at the Kohl Center in Madison.
The Gophers bring a 15-game home unbeaten streak into the weekend - the longest active streak in the nation.
In the third episode of Gopher Hockey: Pride on Ice the Gopher men's hockey team reflects on the 2013 Hockey City Classic outdoor game vs. Wisconsin and ahead to the WCHA Final Five and NCAA Tournament.
Pride on Ice: Webisode 2 takes you on the road with the Gophers for their showdown with Wisconsin.
Go behind the scenes with the storied Minnesota Gopher men's hockey team in GopherSports.com's exclusive three-part web series, Pride On Ice!
One of Gophers' best on-ice leaders as a player, Grant Potulny begins his sixthseason as an assistant coach for the Minnesota hockey program in 2014-15.
The Grand Forks, N.D., native has taken naturally to the college coaching profession after serving as a three-year captain for the Gophers program as a player. Potulny, who works primarily with the Minnesota forwards, serves as guiding voice during practice and games but is also a relatable presence on the recruiting trail.
Under Potulny's tutelage, the Minnesota offense been one of the nation's top scoring groups over the last three seasons while the team has won three-straight regular-season conference titles and made two trips to the NCAA Frozen Four in the last three seasons.
The 2013-14 marked a new era for Potulny and the Gophers as the team competed in the inaugural season of the Big Ten Conference. The Maroon & Gold went on to win the league's first regular-season title and earned a right to play for the national championship at the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four. With Potulny's coaching, Kyle Rau earned Second Team All-America honors while Potulny also worked with First Team All-American defenseman Mike Reilly on the Gophers' power play.
In 2012-13, Minnesota ranked first in college hockey with an average of 3.48 goals per game offensively. The Gophers captured a share of their second-straight Western Collegiate Hockey Association MacNaughton Cup as regular-season co-champions in 2012-13 while the Minnesota power play also ranked first nationally. The Gophers celebrated a pair of All-WCHA forwards in 2012-13 with Bjugstad earning Second Team honors and Haula following suit on the league's Third Team.
The 2011-12 season marked a resurgence in the Gophers program. Not only did the Gophers lead the nation in scoring -- averaging 3.60 goals-per-game -- but the Gophers also finished first in the WCHA for the first time since 2006-07. More importantly, the Gophers returned to the NCAA Frozen Four with Bjugstad earning Third Team All-WCHA honors along the way.
The resurgence of the Gophers program has also seen three Potulny-coached players play in the National Hockey League -- Nick Bjugstad, Jordan Schroeder and Erik Haula.
In addition to his duties with the Gophers, Potulny has also helped develop the sport of hockey at the youth and international levels. In 2013, Potulny served as an assistant coach for the U.S. National Junior Team at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia. The U.S. team, which included Minnesota's Mike Reilly, captured gold at the tournament -- giving the U.S. its third medal in four years.
The Gophers assistant coach also runs Potulny Camps each year with a focus on skill instruction and fun for youth hockey players. During his coaching career, Potulny has worked as a clinician at coach Lucia's model camp and has coached at the Under-17 Select Festival in Rochester, N.Y.
Potulny was a three-year captain at Minnesota during his career from 2000-04. He was an assistant captain as a sophomore for Minnesota's 2002 national championship team and then captained the team the following two years, including the Gophers' 2003 national title squad. Potulny is Minnesota's only three-year captain since 1947.Potulny played in 146 games for the Gophers, totaling 68 goals and 48 assists for 116 points. He is best-known for scoring the overtime game-winning goal in Minnesota's 4-3 win against Maine in the 2002 national championship game at Xcel Energy Center.
He played three full seasons with the Ottawa Senators' AHL affiliate in Binghamton (N.Y.) from 2004-07 before spending one season each with the Washington Capitals' affiliate in Hershey (Pa.) and the Edmonton Oilers' affiliate in Springfield (Mass.).He spent the 2008-09 season with the Tampa Bay Lightning's AHL affiliate in Norfolk, Va.
Potulny attended Red River High School and led his team to three North Dakota state championships from 1996-98.
Potulny was selected in the fifth round, 157th overall, in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by Ottawa. He played two seasons in the USHL with the Lincoln Stars and helped his squad claim an Anderson Cup regular season championship as the team's MVP in 1999-2000.
Potulny and his wife, Melissa, have three children.