Showing posts with label Minnesota Gophers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Minnesota Gophers. Show all posts

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Is the Gophers Mike Reilly Headed to Free Agency?



It’s what I call the silly season. The season is over for most NCAA teams and some college hockey players are making decisions regarding their future. Do they stay or go? Here's an interesting story that I stumbled across today. It appears that the Columbus Blue Jackets beat writer is concerned that Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly might not be headed to the Columbus Blue Jackets.  
Michael Arace, Blue Jackets Xtra -- Former Blue Jackets scout Brian Bates bird-dogged Reilly since the kid was a scrawny ninth grader. When the Jackets’ turn came up in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL draft, Bates and others clamored, and the pick was made. Then-general manager Scott Howson selected Reilly 98th overall.

Four years later, Reilly’s considerable skills are better-honed — and he is 3 inches taller (6-1) and almost 30 pounds heavier (182). Although he remains slightly undersized by NHL standards, he is acclaimed to be NHL-ready after three years, two of them dominant, at the University of Minnesota.

Jackets fans have been eyeing Reilly lustfully during this crazily frustrating season. Management has been laying a red carpet. He is another piece for a young team that projects to be highly competitive in years to come. He is the rare defenseman who can skate or pass the puck out of trouble. Think, Paul Martin.

Alas, Columbus is not his destination.

All signs point in another direction.

The Jackets own Reilly’s rights for 30 days after he leaves Minnesota. The Gophers’ season ended last week with a 4-1 loss to Minnesota-Duluth in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but Reilly did not leave. Instead, he elected to concentrate on his studies and listen to the advice of “family consultant” Pat Brisson — who happens to be one of the most prominent hockey agents in the world.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Big 10 Follow-Up

Frustrations have mounted since the Gophers loss to Union (7-4)
in the National Championship game
Before the holiday break, I took a look at the Big 10 conference after reading an article on USCHO that made me laugh on how stricken from reality they were. Now with more games under the conference's belt and only one month left in the season, well before playoffs, let us take another look at the conference and why it could possibly be just as terrible as the Atlantic Hockey Conference.

Let's start with the obvious, the should be conference power houses(Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan) are sitting at the bottom of the league, with the exception of Michigan who is the conference leader. Between Wisconsin and Minnesota (last and 4th respectively) their combined inter conference record is 3-8-5, with all the victories belonging to Minnesota, and two of which came against Wisconsin.

Their conference non-conference record is nothing to write home about either. In fact, it is one of the worst in all of NCAA hockey. The overall record is 38-43-7, very detrimental to their conference hopes in the Pairwise rankings when it comes time to make the NCAA tournament brackets. So basically if you want to make the NCAA tournament out of the Big 10, you have to win the Big 10 tournament. The only team within the top 16 in Pairwise right now is Michigan, but at 14 they are on the bubble, especially with the 16 seed probably going to the Atlantic Hockey auto bid.

Looking at the overall records, you have one team below 500 tied for second in the conference, Michigan State (10-11-2), at 16 points with Penn State. Yes that's right Penn State. Between them and Michigan, they are really the only good things the conference has going for them right now.

The Big 10 should have kept their noses out of college hockey, yes I know it will lead to more expansion in the coming years, but right now the lack of competition is frustrating fans to the point where it is getting tough for conference teams to get people to their arenas to watch them play. If things do not change soon, they will be the cellar conference behind Atlantic Hockey.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Women's NCAA Frozen Four is Set

Well the field is now set for the 2014 NCAA division 1 women's ice hockey Frozen Four, and there are no surprises except for the upset of Mercyhurst over Cornell yesterday.

Perhaps what everyone involved with NCAA women's hockey will call the true NCAA title game, Minnesota vs. Wisconsin, will be the most anticipated match-up in this tournament. Minnesota, who has been the outright number 1 for most of the last three seasons now, will look to punch their ticket to a third straight national title, but Wisconsin looks to say otherwise.

Wisconsin, who has four national championships and most recent in 2011, was runner-up to Minnesota in the 2012 title game and looks for a little revenge against the Golden Gophers. They are the four seed, in what many called a flawed pairwise ranking system, placing them on the same side of the bracket, avoiding a possible national title game rematch.

The winner of this years national championship will most likely come from this highly anticipated match-up next weekend and a big thing that will help in favor of the Wisconsin Badgers is that the game is being played at a neutral site in Hamden, Conn. Both Minnesota and Wisconsin were nearly unbeatable at home this season, with Minnesota just losing once at home to North Dakota, and Wisconsin with only four home losses, two to Minnesota, and one each to North Dakota and Minnesota State.

This match-up will be a hard fought game and I don't see it being decided by more then one goal, unless an empty netter is scored by either team. I am going to have to pick Minnesota to come out on top of this one, winning 2-1 and advancing them to their third straight national championship game.

On the other side of the bracket we have number 3 Clarkson vs. Mercyhurst, who upset Cornell to advance to the Frozen Four this season. Clarkson is looking to advance to their very first women's National Championship game in team history as Mercyhurst is looking to return for only the second time in school history.

The two schools would have an early season non conference series all the way back in October and Mercyhurst would allow just one goal against a very tough Clarkson squad. Getting shutout in game one, and skating to a tie in game two, Clarkson is looking for some revenge against a Mercyhurst team who is riding a lot of momentum coming into this weekend's Frozen Four.

Since the holiday break was over, Clarkson went a very impressive 15-1-3, showing what you have to do to get things done down the stretch run. Some victories one should note during this time is a 3-1 victory at home against Cornell, and a 2-1 road victory against Harvard.

I am still pondering on how Mercyhurst would make the NCAA tournament this season if they didn't win their regular season conference title, and even be seeded higher then a very good Boston University squad. Mercyhurst comes from a very weak CHA conference and would lose the conference tournament championship to RIT in double overtime. Mercyhurst's only win of note would be their 2-0 road victory against Clarkson and are looking to keep this Cinderella story alive for just two more games.

With Mercyhurst riding a lot of momentum after their huge upset of Cornell, there is always that chance that they could do the same against Clarkson, but this would be very highly unlikely. Clarkson wins this one 4-1 and advances to the title game to meet up with a very tough Minnesota who is looking to win their third straight title.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Badger goal by that was waved off



It looks like the on ice Officials made the right call on the play, we have to give them credit when they make the right call on the ice. I do find it funny and puzzling, that Brad Shepherd is reffing such a high profile game for the WCHA. From looking at the video, it's pretty obvious that the stick of Badger forward Joseph LaBate is above the cross bar when he touches the puck.



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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Minnesota Unveils their jerseys for the Hockey City Classic



Tonight, the Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey team unveiled their jersey's for the Hockey City Classic that will take place at Soldier Field on Sunday February 17, 2013 at 3:30 p.m. CT. If you're able to get the Big Ten Network on your television set you will be able to watch that game.
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Sunday, January 13, 2013

WHKY: The only way to a National Championship is through Minnesota


This past weekend North Dakota’s women’s hockey team traveled to Ridder Arena to faceoff against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The weekend would be a test to see how close North Dakota is to challenging the Gophers in the potential post-season run.

It might be a little early to talk about the post-season, but after the weekend the Gophers remain an unbelievable 22-0-0. To add to that impressive stat, the last time Minnesota lost a game was February 17, 2012 (in overtime, against UND) – you read that correctly, nearly a year ago. If you were going to bet on who will win the NCAA Division I women’s hockey national championship, the easy bet would be the Gophers.

But enough about a team that doesn’t need anyone else tooting their own horn. Despite the 6-3 loss and being swept, the women in Green and White played one of their strongest games on Saturday afternoon.

North Dakota was able to hold a one-goal lead against the top-ranked team in the country for the first frame and lead or tied during the first 42 minutes of the game. The Gophers have held the lead against every team they’ve played this season except UND. Minnesota, in the same fashion they’ve shown all season, turned on the heat in the third period scoring three goals (one empty net).

If North Dakota (8-8-0) is going to play into the post-season they’re going to need to start winning games and the schedule isn’t going to lighten up playing in the WCHA. The Green and White will need their world-class offensive players to score and they will need secondary scoring with strong defense. The team has these components; Brian Idalski, head coach, just needs to figure out how to get the stars to align.

Although some North Dakota players might have walked away from Ridder Arena this weekend feeling the burn, they should take pride in the fact that they have what it takes to compete. If they play the way they did against Minnesota on Saturday afternoon, they should finish off the season strong.

North Dakota goes head-to-head with Wisconsin at home (7:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday) this weekend. If you’re not headed to Mariucci for the men’s series and you don’t plan to be glued to your television, I suggest you head to The Ralph. What I’m certain you’ll see is a finesse game with world-class athletes. I would also guess that during intermission The Ralph might show the men’s game as they have in the past. 

Monday, December 31, 2012

Clarification on the Nick Bjugstad goal



I just got off the phone with the head of officials… According to Greg Shepherd Head of Officials for the WCHA, the Boston goalie Parker Milner’s momentum carried him into the net; he wasn’t touched by the Minnesota players so that’s why it was called a goal. If Milner had been touched, it would have been ruled no goal. Now you know the rest of the story
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Edit: A look at the numbers.

Western Collegiate Hockey Association logo
Western Collegiate Hockey Association logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was digging through the numbers today; it appears that a few of the teams with impressive win totals have racked up their wins playing opponents that don’t have a very good overall records. Some might call them cupcakes.

To date, the Gophers have played one team with a record “at” .500, the Minnesota State Mavericks which they split with and have played against no one that is currently ranked in the top 20 national rankings.

To date, the UNO Mavericks have played a grand total of “one” game against a team with a winning record.

The Saint Cloud State Huskies have two wins against teams with winning records above .500.
Denver University has a 3-3 record against teams with winning records.

UND has a record of 3-4-0 against teams with winning records. UND also has a 3-3 record against teams that are ranked in the top 20.

Michigan Tech – (4-6-0, WCHA 3-5-0) –The Huskies opponents have a combined record of 36-20-5 (.631) winning percentage.

Denver University – (9-3-0, WCHA 7-1-0) –The Pioneers opponents have a combined record of 44-36-10 (.544) winning percentage.

Minnesota Duluth – (3-7-1, WCHA 1-5-2) – The Bulldogs opponents have a combined record of 36-27-8 (.563) winning percentage.

University of North Dakota – (6-4-2, WCHA 3-1-2) – UND’s opponents have a combined record of 34-29-9 (.534) winning percentage.

Wisconsin – (1-7-2, WCHA 1-5-2) – The Badgers opponents have a combined record of 29-26-10 (.523) winning percentage.
Colorado College – (7-6-1, WCHA 4-2-0) –The Tigers opponents have a combined record of 40-37-15 (.516) winning percentage.

Saint Cloud State – (7-5-0, WCHA 5-3-0) – The Huskies opponents have a combined record of 33-32-9 (.506) winning percentage.

Alaska Anchorage – (2-4-4, WCHA 0-3-3) –The Seawolves opponents have a 27-27-15 record (.500) winning percentage.

Bemidji State
 – (3-5-2, WCHA 2-4-2) – The Beavers opponents have a combined record of 26-26-4 (.500) winning percentage. 

Minnesota State Mankato – (3-5-2, WCHA 1-5-0) –The Mavericks opponents have a combined record of 30-39-7 (.440) winning percentage.

Some parts of this article are post over at the Hockey Writers - Combine.  
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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday Morning Links

Here are some of the stories from last night’s game between UND and UAA as well as other stories from around the college hockey world.

This is what the Alaska Anchorage beat writer Doyle Woody had to say about this team’s effort last night. I am not sure he is going to win a lot of support from the UAA faithful with that kind of reporting. [Click to view]

Here is what Timothy Boger from US College Hockey on line had to say about the game last night. Balanced offensive attack guides North Dakota over Alaska-Anchorage [click to view]

Here is my break down of the game last night. [Click to link]

UND’s Virg Foss, UND Dominates in 4-1 win over Alaska Anchorage. [undsports.com]

USA Under-18 Team goalie Thatcher Demko was a beast in the net last night against the Minnesota Gophers as he stopped 39/41 shots and led the USA to a 2-2 tie against the Minnesota Gophers.

I remember not too long ago, Minnesota fans were talking about how UND was out shot by the U-18 team, in a 6-4 UND win and now their own team ties the U-18 team. Actually, the U-18 team had a 2-0 lead over the Gophers before they fought back to tie the game. [Box Score]

Michael Russo the beat writer for the Locked out Minnesota Wild, is filling in for Roman as he’s covering the WNBA Finals. It’s a shame that Russo is covering the Gophers right now, he should be covering the NHL.

Thinking of Former College Hockey players, former SCSU forward Matt Cullen and current locked Minnesota Wild forward is less than pleased about the current state of the CBA negotiations. Also, Former Wisconsin Badger Ryan Suter is less than impressed with the NHL owners and here is what he had to say about the matter.
"It's disappointing. If you can't afford to (sign contracts) then you shouldn't do it," Suter said. "(Leipold) signed us to contracts. At the time he said everything was fine. Yeah, it's disappointing. A couple months before, everything is fine, and now they want to take money out of our contracts that we already signed." [Craig Custance; ESPN.COM]
Kudos to Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski for coming to the Frozen Tundra that is Grand Forks, ND. Here is the link to a interview he did with the Monique and Locelyne Lamoureux. There is some good stuff here.
You can tell when you watch girls play, which ones grew up playing boys hockey. In practice, if someone gets knocked over, you have girls that will ask 'oh, are you OK?' The ones that played against boys don't say anything. It doesn't faze them. It's part of the game.
From the same article I really like this one and thought it was funny.
So when you win, what comes out first: the Magnums of Molson or the cigars?

Monique: [Laughs] I hate beer, so probably something else. But probably a cigar for me. I love cigars.

Jocelyne: [The Canadian players] got a lot of flack for that. We would have done the same thing. And if it was guys, they would have been laughing about it.
Brad Schlossman, UND MEN'S HOCKEY: Kristo returns in win over Alaska Anchorage

Thursday, August 30, 2012

WCHA well represent in the Top-60 Fantasy Hockey Defensemen Rankings

The WCHA is highly represented in this season’s Top-60 Fantasy Hockey Defensemen Rankings – as was expected the University of Wisconsin aka Defenseman U placed four defenders on the list and the University of Minnesota placed second with three defenders…

1. Erik Karlsson
2. Zdeno Chara
3. Shea Weber
4. Kris Letang
5. Dustin Byfuglien - Roseau Minnesota
6. Alex Pietrangelo
7. Dan Boyle - Miami
8. Alexander Edler
9. Ryan Suter - Wisconsin
10. Brian Campbell
19. Jack Johnson - Michigan
27. Alex Goligoski - Minnesota
39. Matt Carle - Denver
48. Brendan Smith - Wisconsin
49. John-Michael Liles - Michigan State
51. Ryan McDonagh - Wisconsin
52. Nick Leddy - Minnesota
53. Erik Johnson - Minnesota
54. Justin Schultz - Wisconsin
57. Justin Faulk - Duluth
60. Jared Spurgeon

Thursday at the Links - Trupp, Parise and Chicago Hockey City Classic and more

Good Thursday morning and we are another day closer to hockey season – if my math is correct we are approximately 37 days away from the first exhibition game between the Fighting Sioux UND Hockey and the Manitoba Bison.

Andy Johnson aka Chuck Schwartz from Bucky’s Fifth Quarter has an interesting article on how they were surprised when they got the ticket prices for the Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field – I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that the tickets are expensive between $65.00 and $75.00.

Joe from Paisley’s Hockey has his Thursday links up and Former C.C. Tiger Jaden Schwartz was recently at an NHL rookie symposium - it will be interesting to see where Schwartz starts the season for the St. Louis Blues.

Sabrina Diaz of the Daily Nebraskan suggested that the University of Nebraska Lincoln add hockey – Big Ten hockey could be worthy addition for UNL

Former Fighting Sioux forward Evan Trupp has re-signed with the ECHL's Bakersfield Condors.
[Doyle Woody], [A Tradition of Excellence], [Bakersfield Condors]
CONDORSTOWN, Calif. --- Trupp, 24, was acquired via trade with Cincinnati in January andplayed 45 games in 2011-12 with 12 goals and 22 assists for 34 points. He broke out with the Condors though, amassing 22 points (10g-12a) in 25 games, missing some time due to injury. The Anchorage, Alaska native earned ECHL Player of the Week honors for the week of Feb. 6-12 as he became an internet and viral sensation for his lacrosse-style, behind-the-net goal against Las Vegas on Feb. 11.

Prior to turning pro, the 5’10″, 180 lbs. forward played four seasons at the University of North Dakota where he registered 108 points (40g-68a) in 157 games including 78 points over his junior and senior campaigns.

“What I enjoy most about the team is that we get along well on and off the ice,” said Trupp. “I would get texts and calls throughout the summer from guys letting me know they were coming back and I want to be a part of that. There are great fans in Bakersfield, a great facility, a great rink and I enjoyed last season. I think with a little more experience under our belt now, we’ll be pretty good this season.”
Evgeni Malkin and a few others plan to make plans to play elsewhere when if there is a work stoppage in the NHL this season..

This was from Puck Daddy - From Cap Geek, the 16 teams that are over a $58 million salary cap threshold noticed the two teams at the top:

Boston Bruins ($68,867,976)
Minnesota Wild ($68,848,867)
Vancouver Canucks ($67,768,333)
Calgary Flames ($66,668,332)
Philadelphia Flyers ($66,643,373)
San Jose Sharks ($65,241,667)
Montreal Canadiens ($63,897,976)
Tampa Bay Lightning ($63,246,916)
Edmonton Oilers ($62,933,333)
Toronto Maple Leafs ($62,873,333)
Chicago Blackhawks ($62,445,128)
Los Angeles Kings ($62,320,227)
Buffalo Sabres ($61,542,023)
Pittsburgh Penguins ($60,263,333)
Washington Capitals ($59,627,905)
New York Rangers ($58,508,334)

Here is an interesting read on everyone's favorite Commish - Grange on NHL: Big man in the boardroom...

Tony Gallagher, The Province - NHL players brought some of this on themselves...

Yesterday Michael Russo Star Tribune beat writer for the Minnesota Wild was at the Octagon Pro Hockey Camp in St. Louis Park Minnesota and got former Fighting Sioux All-American Zach Parise take on the CBA negotiations.
Here is Parise:

I’m still optimistic that we’ll all be able to figure it out with the amount of time that we have left. I’m just trying to be hopeful and optimistic about it, so we’ll find out some reaction about what [union chief] Don [Fehr] thinks about the NHL’s proposal in the next couple days.

For whatever reason, [lockouts] seem to be what Gary likes to do. Whether this time around it’s a negotiating tactic or what, you’d hope that he’s smart enough to realize that as a league, the fanbases, with the momentum that the league has gotten, that it wouldn’t be a good idea to have a lockout.

I thought the first proposal was embarrassing. Embarrassing. If you look at it in the long run, in my opinion, it was a quick fix for them, but I feel seven years down the road, it’s not addressing the problem and we’re going to be in the exact same spot where we are now. I could go on for a long time, but I thought it was a joke.
Zach Parise told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that the players are ready to play.
"I think the '04-'05 season is still pretty fresh in everyone's minds, and now we find ourselves in the same position," Parise said after a workout in St. Louis Park on Tuesday, Aug. 26. "It's not good for the game. It's not good for anyone. We're ready to play. We want to play. But (NHL commissioner) Gary (Bettman)'s pretty adamant about his third lockout of his tenure."

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hockey Day 2013 picture

s/t to @pucknut9 who texted me this picture today, thanks Shacker... This picture was too good to not share with you. While it's meant to be humours it's still true of the Minnesota Gophers and the UND Fighting Sioux hockey teams, penalty boxes filled to the max.
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Gophers To Host North Dakota On Hockey Day Minnesota

This is really good news for UND Hockey fans. The Sioux and the Gophers will face off on Hockey Day Minnesota. I can’t think of a better way to send the Gophers off to the Big Ten by beating them at Mariucci Arena on Hockey Day Minnesota. Here is the release from the Minnesota Gophers official webpage.
Paul Rovnak, Gopher Sports --- The University of Minnesota men's hockey team will once again partake in Hockey Day Minnesota in 2013. Minnesota's participation in the seventh-annual statewide celebration of hockey was announced earlier today by FOX Sports North and the Minnesota Wild.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, and will showcase the Golden Gophers against WCHA rival North Dakota at Mariucci Arena. It will be the last WCHA regular-season meeting between the longtime rivals. A start time for the game will be announced in the future.

Minnesota's game will be one of five hockey games shown on FOX Sports North on that day.

The Gophers are 4-2 in Hockey Day Minnesota games and beat Colorado College 2-1 last season at Mariucci Arena. This will be the first time that Minnesota will play North Dakota on Hockey Day Minnesota.
Just for the record, the game can be seen on DirecTV 668.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lucia, "referees made the right call"

Western Collegiate Hockey Association logoImage via WikipediaThis was on Roman Augustoviz blog today.
Lucia said he felt the referees made the right call when they gave Kyle Rau a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct for his hit on Denver forward Jason Zucker in Friday's game.

WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod called Lucia that night, the Gophers coach said, to tell him the league was going to review the play. He watched it on video that night after not seeing it live.

The next morning Lucia said he talked to McLeod again and was told Rau would probably be suspended.

"At that time, we had the right to appeal the suspension, which would have allowed Kyle the right to play Saturday night," Lucia said. "But 99.9 [percent of the time] we probably would have lost the appeal and he would not have been allowed to play the next Friday night against Bemidji."

Lucia decided the best option was not to appeal, so he could prepare his lines better for the Beavers.

He said the difficult part of the situation was the supplemental discipline. "There were a couple of other major penalties on the weekend," Lucia said. "You can go back to incidents -- what deserves extra and what doesn't?"
After seeing the video of the Kyle Rau hit on Jason Zucker, it's good to see coach Lucia support the league decision on that Rau hit. Lucia does also make a good point, "You can go back to incidents -- what deserves extra and what doesn't?” I think that’s the question a lot of the fans are wondering as well.
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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Kyle Rau hit on Jason Zucker...


Minnesota's Kyle Rau was given a five minute major and a game misconduct for his hit on Denver Pioneers forward  Jason Zucker, it's a high hit and the kind we are trying to elliminate from all levels of hockey. Is this hit worthy of a suspension? I don't think so. The video replay isn't that good, so it's hard to tell if Rau hit Zucker with an elbow...
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Saturday, December 03, 2011

Classic Zach Parise, "No Gophers"

s/t to Tedder11 for posting this one over on Siouxsports.com, yeah the one that used to play for the Fighting Sioux as well.  Good to know that Zach is still not a fan of the Gophers after all of these years. Thank God Lou Nannie and Glen Sonmor weren’t able to get Zach to change his mind.

NJ.COM --- Asked about playing in the Xcel Energy Center, Parise said: "I love coming here and playing. Unfortunately we do it every other year. It's a great arena. Growing up around here I'd go and watch state tournaments. Everybody loves hockey. The fans are real knowledgeable about the game. When you can call this a home and come back and play it's a lot of fun."

He was asked by a local TV questioner if he had a favorite local hockey player, perhaps a University of Minnesota Gophers player? Not a good question for a University of North Dakota player.

"No Gophers. Come on," Parise said with a laugh. "I was always a big (Neal) Broten fan and (Mike) Modano fan. I was more watching the North Stars growing up than the Gophers. I kind of got more attached to that than college. But definitely no Gophers."

When asked about the Gophers being ranked No. 1, Parise said: "That's when I stopped paying attention. UND always has a strong second half. They always seem to heat up at the right time heading into the playoffs."

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Friday, December 02, 2011

Putting on the foil – Friday links.

In the predictions department, Roman Augustoviz from the Red Star and Sickle and Shane Frederick of the Mankato Free Press made their predictions for this weekend’s games.
North Dakota at Alaska Anchorage
Shane: Anybody out there write off North Dakota after its slow start? Me neither. The Sioux face a Seawolves team that left Mankato with three points this week but also one that blew a 5-1 lead over the second half of Saturday’s game. Of course, those five goals came on just seven shots. That’s not going to happen again. North Dakota will build off last week’s impressive sweep of Colorado College and get an early jump on it annual second-half surge. ... NORTH DAKOTA SWEEP

Roman: The Seawolves scored seven goals in their first eight WCHA games before getting 10 in a three-point weekend at Mankato. Scoring on NoDak will be tougher. UAA is a respectable 14-15-1 against the Fighting Sioux in Alaska.... UND's top line had a huge weekend against CC. Brock Nelson had three goals and three assists, Corban Knight one goal and four assists and Danny Kristo three goals and two assists. That's 16 points combined. ... SPLIT
Delusions of Grandeur, aka the UAA Fan Blog, breaks down the series between the Sioux and the Seawolves, err, goes on a rant about his love for the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux Hockey program. [Click to be entertained]

The race in the WCHA is far from over, yet some seem to be penciling in the Gophers and the Bulldogs for the WCHA title game already. Seems a bit premature if you ask me; there is a lot of hockey left and the Gophers probably have one of the toughest schedules during the second half of the season.
We're not even halfway through the WCHA season. Some teams have played a disproportionate number of road games so far, while others just wrapped up a home stretch and won't play at home again for two months.

Hey, I don't make the schedules, okay?

As we get close to the Christmas break that marks what is basically the halfway point of the year, Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth -- longtime rivals -- appear to be on a collision course in the WCHA title race.
[Hockey Wilderness]
Just for the record the next six games for the Gophers “on paper” are games against the weak sisters of the poor. The Gophers will be heavily favored in all six games. The Gophers should go 6-0-0 and hardly breaking a sweat to roll their less than stellar opponents.

If you don’t believe me take a look, the Gophers play MSU-M (X2), Michigan Tech (X2), Niagara in the opening game of the Mariucci Cupcake Classic and then the winner of the Providence and Northeastern game. We all know that neither of those teams will have a chance against the mighty Gophers. Heck, neither of those teams should even bother showing up for the games right.

UAA appears to have a few players banged up this weekend.
UAA senior wing Jade Portwood (knee), junior center Alex Gellert (shoulder) and junior center Daniel Naslund (concussion) will all miss the series with injuries. Nine different Seawolves have already missed a total of 39 games this season because of injuries. [Anchorage Daily News]
The Fighting Sioux are ranked 6th in the College Hockey News power rankings.
6 — North Dakota (Last week: 7)
Back into the top-half of the rankings comes North Dakota, fresh off a weekend sweep of Colorado College. All that talk about the Sioux’s inability to score goals? Um, nevermind. And that first line of Brock Nelson, Danny Kristo and Corban Knight? Yeah, they’re pretty good. UND is still lacking a reliable second line, although head coach Dave Hakstol told me this week he was pleased with how the entire group played last weekend. Aaron Dell was not good last Friday, allowing six goals before getting the hook halfway through, but recovered nicely to post the win Saturday. UND is still very much lacking consistency in that area, however.
[College Hockey News]

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ness signs contract with N.Y. Islanders

This is one of those moves I would classify as being a head scratcher of the silly season, the underperforming Aaron Ness has decided to fore go his final year of eligibility to sign with the hapless New York Islanders.
Roman Augustoviz, Goal Gophers - Junior defenseman Aaron Ness on Wednesday signed a three-year entry level NHL contract with the New York Islanders.

The Islanders took him in the second round of the 2008 NHL draft. The 5-10, 177-pound Ness scored two goals and had 12 assists for 14 points this past season with the Gophers.

Ness, 20, will join the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders' AHL affiliate for the rest of their hockey season.

In his three-year career, Ness played in 111 games and had six goals and 37 assists for 43 points.

Ness said he was ready to take the next step in his hockey career. "I've still got to make improvements in a lot of areas," Ness said, "But my dream it to play in the NHL and this is best opportunity to keep progressing."

He was it was his decision to leave the university, not the Islanders' pressing him. "After three years, I had a lot of fun and got a lot better," Ness said. "But I asked around to see what I had to do.

"I had a great three years," Ness said. "And realistically, if I had to do it all over again," Ness said, "I would do the same thing. I had great coaches, great fans. Everything is put on a platter for you to succeed. I would have wanted to do better in the playoffs, to go further, but it happens."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ex-Gopher Cepis signs with Lake Erie Monsters

According to Roman Augustoviz of Goal Gophers, former Minnesota Golden Gophers punk Jacob Cepis will start his professional career with the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League this weekend, it will be interesting to see if he continues his antics from college or if he will now just play hockey instead of diving and flailing all over the ice. Goon’s World would like to wish him well in the next level of his hockey career and good riddance we won’t have to watch his antics anymore.
Goal Gophers --- Jacob Cepis, who finished as the Gophers' leading scorer, has signed with the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League.

"They called me right away," said Cepis, who practiced with the Monsters on Tuesday. "They are 10 minutes away from my home. I am super excited to play some games this weekend."

Cepis is from Parma, Ohio. The Monsters' arena is in Cleveland.

Lake Erie has three games this weekend and 13 left total in the regular season.

"Their head coach [Dave Quinn] recruited me when I went to Minnesota," Cepis said. "He was an assistant at BU."

That's Boston University. This is Quinn's second season at Lake Erie coach.

Cepis finished with 12 goals and 17 assists for 29 points for the Gophers. He wore No. 17 as a Gophers, but that number was taken on the Monsters so he is No. 38.