Gophers Host 2013 Ice Breaker Tournament
The No. 5 University of Minnesota Golden Gopher men's hockey program officially opens the 2013-14 season this weekend as the host institution of the 2013 Ice Breaker Tournament. Mercyhurst, Clarkson and New Hampshire join the Gophers for the two-day, four-game tournament at Mariucci Arena. Clarkson and New Hampshire kick off the event at 4 p.m. CT on Friday while Minnesota hosts Mercyhurst at 7 p.m. The Ice Breaker Tournament uses a true championship format, meaning the losers of Friday's games will play on Saturday at 4 p.m. while the winners will face off in a championship game at 7 p.m.
Minnesota topped Lethbridge 5-1 in exhibition action last Saturday at Mariucci Arena behind two-point nights from Hudson Fasching (1g, 1a), Travis Boyd (1g, 1a) and Ben Marshall (2a). Taylor Cammarata and Michael Brodzinski also tallied goals for Minnesota. The Gophers outshot the Pronghorns 46-12 over 60 minutes and went 3-for-6 on the power play. In net, Adam Wilcox stopped all four shots he saw in the first 20 minutes of action while Michael Shibrowski picked up the win, making six saves in just under 35 minutes of work. Ryan Coyne played the final 5:47 of action, making one save.
In the Ice Breaker Tournament
Minnesota is hosting and appearing in the Ice Breaker Tournament for the third time. In 1998, the second year of the tournament, Boston College won the title at Mariucci Arena. In 2007, the event took place at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, with the host Golden Gophers winning the tournament. Clarkson and New Hampshire are each making their third Ice Breaker appearances, with UNH capturing championships in both previous appearances (2000 at Michigan, 2004 at UNH). Clarkson was part of the first Ice Breaker Tournament, in 1997, and in 2001 at Maine. Mercyhurst will be making its first Ice Breaker appearance. Minnesota will also compete in the 2014 Ice Breaker Tournament at Notre Dame along with Minnesota-Duluth and RPI.
Against the Field
Minnesota has only faced off against Mercyhurst one time in program history, dropping the Lakers 9-2 in the opening round of the NCAA West Regional at Mariucci Arena. Two weeks later the Gophers captured their second-straight national championship in a 5-1 win over New Hampshire. Minnesota is 13-2-2 all time against UNH with the last meeting coming in 2008. Finally, the Gophers boast a 3-0-0 record against Clarkson in a series history that began in 1990 with the last meeting coming the 1993 NCAA East Regional in Worscester, Mass.
Big Ten Bound
The 93rd season of Gopher Hockey brings a new era to the program as Minnesota will compete in the new Big Ten Conference for the 2013-14 season. Six conference teams are set for the first campaign in the Big Ten with Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State joining the Gophers. Prior to the 2013-14 season, the Gophers were members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and helped found the conference in 1951.
Condon, Rau Named Captains
Senior forward Nate Condon and junior forward Kyle Rau will lead the 2013-14 Gophers as team captains. Minnesota's top two returning scorers from a year ago, Rau finished second overall on the team with 40 points (15 goals, 25 assists) while Condon posted 31 points (12 goals, 19 assists). A native of Wausau, Wis., Condon is just the third-ever native of Wisconsin to play for Minnesota and the first non-Minnesotan to be named captain since current Gophers assistant coach Grant Potulny (2002-04). 2014
Hockey City Classic
TCF Bank Stadium and the University of Minnesota will host the state's first outdoor college hockey games of the modern era on Jan. 17, 2014. The Gopher men's program will host Ohio State at 8 p.m. with the Minnesota women's program taking on Minnesota State earlier in the day. Minnesota has partnered with Intersport, who also hosted the 2013 Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field in Chicago, to put on the event. Tickets for the general public go on sale Tuesday, Oct. 22 and can be purchased at MyGophersports.com or by calling 612-624-8080.
No Place Like Home
The 2013-14 season marks the 20th campaign in which the Gophers have called Mariucci Arena home. The facility was officially opened on Aug. 21, 1993 with an alumni game. Since opening Mariucci Arena, the Gophers are 275-112-42 at their home rink -- that's a .690 winning percentage. Recently, Minnesota went 14-3-3 at Mariucci Arena in 2012-13 while the team is 31-9-3 on home ice since the start of the 2011-12 season.
2012-13 Season Review
Minnesota's final campaign in the WCHA was a bittersweet one for the Gophers. The team won a share of its second-straight MacNaughton Cup (and fourth in eight years) as regular-season conference co-champions and led the league in scoring offense (first nationally), scoring defense, power play (first nationally) and penalty kill. Minnesota boasted a 26-9-5 overall record including an NCAA-best 8-0-0 mark in regular-season nonconference play. Minnesota's season came to an end in a 3-2 overtime loss to eventual national champion Yale in the NCAA tournament -- marking the second-straight year the Gophers fell to the eventual national champion in tournament action.
Gophers in the Draft
Minnesota lists 14 student-athletes on this year's roster that have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft including four incoming freshmen. Taylor Cammarata was selected in the third round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders (76th overall), Hudson Fasching was selected in the fourth round of this year's draft by the Los Angeles Kings (118th overall and Michael Brodzinski was selected in the fifth round (141st overall) by the San Jose Sharks. Additionally, freshman Jake Bischoff was selected 185th overall in the seventh round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders. Brady Skjei is the highest drafted Gopher on this year's team with the defenseman being taken 28th overall by the New York Rangers in 2012.
Lucia to Coach U.S. Junior Team
Gophers coach Don Lucia will serve in the same capacity for the 2014 U.S. National Junior Team as it competes in the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Malmo, Sweden. The Gophers have a long-standing history of representing the U.S. in international competitions. Last year, Mike Reilly and assistant coach Grant Potulny helped the U.S. team earn gold at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships in Russia -- giving the U.S. its third medal in four years. This year, Brady Skjei, Hudson Fasching, Taylor Cammarata and Michael Brodzinski will compete for roster spots.
New to Mariucci Arena
With the Gophers joining the Big Ten Conference in 2013-14, game operations at Mariucci Arena will have a bit of a new look this season. Shootouts will now be used to decide games following the traditional five-minute overtime period. Big Ten Conference shootout procedures call for a three-player shootout for each team. If the game remains tied following the first series of players, each coach will select a different player until all dressed players have attempted a shot.
Big Ten Preseason Coaches Poll
The first-ever Big Ten Conference season will kick off with the Gophers ranked second in the league's inaugural preseason poll. Only Wisconsin was selected ahead of Minnesota in this year's coaches poll with Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State rounding out the poll, respectively. Big Ten Preseason Watch List Three Gophers were named to the first-everBig Ten Preseason Watch List with Kyle Rau, Mike Reilly and Adam Wilcox earning preseason distinction from the conference. Rau was pegged as the only unanimous choice for the list and with good reason -- during his tenure with the Gophers, Minnesota is 44-7-1 when Rau scores a point.
Wilcox Back for More
Rookie netminder Adam Wilcox started the last 37 games of the 2012-13 season for Minnesota and picked up his 25th win of the season in the WCHA First Round to tie Kellen Briggs for the Minnesota rookie wins record. Wilcox (25-8-5) also set a new school record with a 1.88 GAA (first in the WCHA this season and sixth in the nation). The freshman also ranked second in the nation with 25 wins and third in the nation with 2,331 minutes played.
North Star College Cup
Minnesota will participate in the inaugural North Star College Cup this January in a tournament featuring all of Minnesota's Division I men's college hockey programs. Xcel Energy Center hosts the event with the Gophers serving as permanent host institution. The remaining four programs will rotate through the tournament with Bemidji State sitting out the first year of competition. The inaugural North Star College Cup is set for Jan. 24-25 with Minnesota taking on St. Cloud State to open the weekend.