Category Archives: College Hockey

2017 Minnesota Wild – The 17th Wild Training Camp Begins…

The 17th Minnesota Wild Season - Another Wild Training Camp Begins...

Will this be the Minnesota Wild’s greatest season?

The Minnesota Wild took to the ice for the first time today and we’re off. The 2017-18 season is here. The players had Media Day yesterday, got to throw on the new sweaters and get all of the photographs and media stuff taken care of. Then today, they went through coach Bruce Boudreau’s dreaded skate conditioning test where they have to skate 2 ½ lengths of the ice in under 40 seconds then have 2 minutes to rest before they do it again, 2 more minutes of rest and then do it one more time. If they fail, they are penalized by doing it two more times! Hey….Welcome Back, fellas. I hope the offseason training went well.

Most of the veteran players did better than the young bucks, maybe because they’ve been through it before but it is a testament to how good of a skater you have to be to play in the best hockey league in the world. It might say something about how long your shifts should be, too. Anyways, conditioning is a must to start off training camp. They may have a great offseason workout plan and program but that doesn’t mean they are in hockey shape or, at least, NHL ready hockey shape.

2017 Minnesota Wild Preseason Schedule

Monday’s game is listed on NHL Network at 8:30 pm
(which must be joined in progress because the start time is listed as 7pm)
The full game replays at 5am Tuesday morning so set those DVRs!

They now have 20 days and 7 preseason games to look at everyone on the 58-man training camp roster, find out who plays well together and set up everything for the beginning of the regular season on Thursday, October 5th at the Detroit Red Wings at 6:30 pm on NBC Sports Network.


D  R  A  F  T
*

General Manager Chuck Fletcher had some work to do to get his team ready for the 17th Minnesota Wild season. He had to prepare for the Expansion Draft, the 2017 NHL Draft, the Frenzy of Free Agency and he also had a few restricted free agents to re-sign.
*Get it? That’s an expanded draft! What? NEVERMIND!

First on his offseason hockey-do list was to figure out who to expose in the Vegas Golden Knights Expansion Draft. Fletch was basically forced to deal F Erik Haula and one of his team’s top prospects in F Alex Tuch to guarantee Vegas wouldn’t take F Eric Staal, D Matt Dumba or D Marco Scandella. The good news is he also got back a 2018 3rd-round pick from Vegas. Erik Haula most likely was not going to be re-signed anyways and they still have a lot of good prospects even after losing the promising big power forward.

2O17 NHL Draft

During the NHL Draft, most Wild fans were probably watching anticipating (or hoping) for some kind of a trade since they didn’t pick until the 3rd round. No trade came but the Minnesota Wild picked 6 players (2 wings, 3 centers & 1 defenseman) we won’t likely see for awhile. 4 of them are in Canadian Junior Leagues, 1 is a big Russian center whose already playing in the KHL and 1 is a 20-yr-old forward Nick Swaney from Burnsville, MN, who played at Lakeville South HS, just finished his career in the USHL scoring 115 points & 66 goals in 120 games player with 51 of those points (26G) coming in 47 last season with the Waterloo Blackhawks AND who’s starting his college hockey career this season with the UMD Bulldogs.

We Have a Trade to Announce!*
Jason Pominville, Marco Scandella traded to Buffalo Sabres, Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno traded to Minnesota Wild
*BOOOO!!! GET OFF THE STAGE, BETTMAN!!!

Maybe feeling like he had to cash in on his team’s defensive depth just before free agency began, on June 30th, Fletch (the Brown Fox) made a deal with the Buffalo Sabres to acquire F Tyler Ennis, F Marcus Foligno and a 2018 3rd-round draft pick for D Marco Scandella, F Jason Pominville and a 2018 4th-round draft pick. This trade freed up some salary cap room by ridding the Wild of Jason Pominville’s contract and it increased their forward depth by getting a small, speedy forward in Tyler Ennis, who just happens to be defenseman Jared Spurgeon’s best friend (Awww…), and big power forward, Marcus Foligno, who, at 6’3, will use his body physically, having ranked 5th in the NHL last season with 279 hits.* What this trade may have also done is taken away one of the few, if not only, defenseman the Wild had that would bring some physicality to the lineup.
*Ahh…some Clutter back in the Wild’s lineup. I like it!

Not So WILD Free Agency
2017 Wild Free Agency

So…with Scandella traded and all but maybe 2 forward spots filled, the Minnesota Wild set out to sign some free agents. They weren’t going to go get any of the big boys available but they did a good thing by grabbing a lot of players who are very close to taking that last step to making it in the NHL. Players like F Kyle Rau, F Landon Ferraro, D Ryan Murphy, F Cal O’Reilly, G Niklas Svedberg and D Kyle Quincey. This means whoever gets those last few available roster spots will have had to compete their butts off and earn it, and that includes Joel Eriksson-Ek or Luke Kunin. Competition makes everyone better. Even G Alex Stalock will have to compete to hold the backup goaltender spot.

Could You Sign This Again, Please?

So, one of the last things Fletch had on his offseason hockey-do list was to get his restricted free agents re-signed and, of course, keep his team under the $75M salary cap in the process. Both F Nino Niederreiter and F Mikael Granlund filed for arbitration so they knew they’d be signed before training camp started but they did not need arbitration as Fletch and the Minnesota Wild signed both Niederreiter and Granlund to contracts during the week of July 30th. Nino Niederreiter agreed to a 5-year/$26.25M ($5.25 AAV) contract on July 30th and Mikael Granlund agreed to a 3-year/$17.25M ($5.75M) contract 2 days later on August 1st.

Anyone Else?

The Wild still had some room under the salary cap and a veteran player would fit in very well, and most likely be preferred over a young player who has yet to figure out how it works in the NHL. They were talking to a bunch of free agents, trying to gauge what the best fit could be but, all along they had a player in mind they wanted to add to this team, a certain former Wild player (also, one of us Minnesotans.) The Minnesota Wild had to wait to see if he would consider coming back for another year of pro hockey after just finishing his 19th NHL season and winning his 2nd consecutive Stanley Cup.

Then, on August 16th, F Matt Cullen made the decision to come back for another season of NHL Hockey and to put the #7 Wild jersey back on* and help his home team get over the hump and show them how to get to the promised land. How ‘bout that for a feel-good story, huh? Cully’s back, baby!!!
*Chris Stewart gave Cullen the #7 back and will wear #10 this season.

The Wild also signed a couple of other veterans to player tryout (PTO) contracts in F Ryan Malone, who hasn’t played since 2014-15 and F Daniel Winnik, a 10-year vet who played with the Washington Capitals last season. He has also played for Bruce Boudreau for 2 season in Anaheim.

Yesterday, the Minnesota Wild and GM Chuck Fletcher took care of the last thing on their list and that was to get restricted free agent F Marcus Foligno re-signed. He signed a 4-year/$11.5M ($2.875 AAV) deal and he was able to take part in today’s first skate.

StoryLines

You are all caught up and ready for Wild Training Camp. What are some of the storylines for Training Camp and this season. Zach Parise missed today’s ice time because he tweaked his back the other day but it’s apparently not serious.

There aren’t a lot of big storylines other than the usual stay healthy, who’s playing together, can they come together as a team things. There are only really 4 spots available on the roster and they aren’t really that available considering players who have 1-way contracts and already have NHL experience.

Who will grab those last 2 forward and the last 2 defenseman spots available? Can F Joel Eriksson-Ek grab one of those spots and be the 3rd line center? Will either player, Ryan Malone and/or Daniel Winnik, grab one or two forward spots? What about young Luke Kunin?

Can Gustav Olofsson grab one of the available spots on defense? Will it come down picking 2 of Gustav, Mike Reilly and Kyle Quincey? Does Kyle Quincey’s experience give him the automatic lead? Will D Ryan Murphy start to realize his potential and make this team?

Can Eric Staal improve on his huge comeback season? Will Tyler Ennis have a comeback season like Eric Staal did in 2016-17? Will playing on a winning team allow Marcus Foligno to produce more?

How will the Wild’s defense be this season? Can they bring a physical element?

Will we still see increased point production from Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle, Nino Niederreiter, Mikael Granlund? How will the lines play out? Will the Mikael Granlund, Mikko Koivu and Jason Zucker be together again? Who will be on the top line with Eric Staal? Zach? Nino? Ennis?

We’ll see over the next 20 days how this team evolves in training camp. We can only hope they stay healthy throughout the whole preseason but, Bruce Boudreau believes they have the depth to make up for anything.  

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Bring The Clutter Every Day in Every Way

Gopher Hockey – START Being More Defensive

Gopher Hockey needs more defense if they hope to start winning as of 2014-15 regular season nears the end

Gopher Hockey needs more defense if they hope to start winning as the 2014-15 regular season nears the end

Gopher Hockey had a good weekend against the Wisconsin Badgers. They won 7-5 on Friday night & tied 4-4 on Saturday night with a late goal by Seth Ambroz with 2 seconds left but ended up losing in a shootout. They gave up 9 goals to a team that has averaged 2 goals a game this season. Yes, they scored 11 goals but offense has very rarely been a problem for the Gophers.

*2 seconds left? I bet Justin Holl was wondering why they left so much time on the clock.

The biggest problem in this disappointing 2014-15 Minnesota Gopher Hockey season appears to be on the defensive end of the ice. They are allowing way too many goals and it’s killing their chances to win games. It’s team defense too, not just the defensemen and the goalie. It’s the defensive zone that has to get fixed for this team to turnaround the season and make it into the NCAA tourney.

Last season the Minnesota Gophers allowed 2.07 goals per game, took about 3.39 penalties a game, had a penalty kill percentage of 84 percent and Adam Wilcox had a save percentage of .929. This season they’re allowing 2.67 goals per game, taking 3.88 penalties per game, have a penalty kill percentage of 80 percent and Adam Wilcox has a save percentage of .901.

Adam Wilcox has been scored on 63 times this season through 24 games. He was scored on only 75 times last season in 38 games. He hasn’t been as good as he was last season for sure but he’s still the same great goalie and he’ll make the game-saving save when he needs to but he needs the team in front of him to play better in front of him.

There’s too much “puck-watching” in the D-zone while the opponents roam freely getting open for scoring chance after scoring chance. Guard a man! That means actually guarding him, not just being close to him. Know where they puck is, yes, but keep track of your man.

Is it the young guys new to the team or players moving into new roles? They lost a lot of leadership from last season’s team but the returning players should get them on the same page on what needs to be done in the defensive part of the game. You can’t win if you don’t play defense!

Defense isn’t exciting and doesn’t show up on the stat sheet or in the highlights but most players do not continue playing competitive hockey if they don’t know how to play defense or give the same effort defensively as they do offensively. Preventing a goal is just as important as scoring a goal. There’s a reason the saying goes…

DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!

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The State of Gopher Hockey – Will the Gophers Miss the NCAA Tournament?

Will Gopher Hockey miss the NCAA tournament

Two losses in the North Star College Cup has the Gophers in danger of missing the NCAA Tourney

Gopher Hockey is in serious danger of missing the NCAA tournament after losing both games in the North Star College Cup. Since sweeping Notre Dame in the beginning of November, the Gophers are 4-9-2 with 44 goals for & 44 goals against in that 15 game stretch. They are also 2-2-2 and 4th in the Big Ten conference with 23 goals for & 18 goals against. This is the team that began the season as the #1 ranked team in the nation, or is it?
 
Is this the Same Team from Last Season?
This is, for the most part, the same team that went to the National Championship game last season. They lost Nate Condon, Justin Holl, Jake Parenteau and Tom Serratore. In terms of stats, that’s 50 points (13 goals, 37 assists) and a plus/minus of +45. That doesn’t seem like much to replace among 4 players. That’s 12-13 points, 3-4 goals, 9-10 assists and a plus/minus of +11 or so.
 
New recruits come in and/or older players progress and should fill those roles, right? One top-end player to replace Condon, a depth player that will do whatever is asked of him with the versatility to play either forward and/or defense and play well, a bottom pair defenseman that will give you good minutes and make good decisions in all zones and a checking line forward with some grit that will forecheck and throw the body around. Wow, those roles don’t seem that easy to fill now, do they?
 
The big difference is the guys filling those roles last season were seniors. They knew the system and what the coaches wanted like the back of their glove. They played without thinking and didn’t worry about making mistakes. They just played the game. That only comes from playing in games, or experience. Obviously, practice helps but it’s not the same as games. That’s where you learn what to do but not necessarily how to do it. There’s never as much pressure in practice.
 
Conner Reilly has filled the role Nate Condon provided, at least on the scoring side of it. He is on pace (11G, 4A through 22GP) to score more points than Condon did last season.  Leon Bristedt has the ability to score or he wouldn’t have been put on the top line to begin the season. You can see the energy and compete level he brings.
On the back end, they’re still searching for someone to grab that 6th defense spot. Ryan Collins seemed to have a grasp on it but he didn’t play either game in the North Star College Cup last weekend with Steve Johnson playing on Friday, getting his first career point with an assist on the first goal, and Jack Glover playing Saturday. Do the coaches find these three players to be basically interchangeable at this point of the season? They are still changing up the defensive pairings which isn’t a good sign at this point of the season.
 
Last, but certainly not least, they don’t appear to have a gritty pest of a forechecking forward that will connect on a big hit every now and then. The guys I see that could fill that role are A.J. Michaelson and Christian Isackson. A dark horse to fill that role could be Robin Hoglund, the big Swede, who’s only played in 4 games this season. Could someone like Bristedt, Vinni Lettieri or Ryan Reilly fill that role? They are smaller players so they might not be able to bring that kind of physicality.
Is it “Must Win” Territory Now?
The Gophers have 14 games (8 at home, 6 on the road) left in the regular season before the Big Ten Tourney and are currently ranked 20th in the Pairwise rankings, 17th in the USCHO.com Poll and are not ranked at all in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll although they would be 16th according to the votes collected.
I’ve never been a big fan of the “Must Win” game or theory. First of all, if you’ve gotten to a point in a season where you “Must Win” one game to keep your season alive, obviously things haven’t gone well up to that point. The Gophers need to be in a Must Win/Playoff mode if they hope to make anything out of this season because their backs are against the boards.
They just look like a beaten down team right now, beaten down by losing. It’s amazing how much the mental side plays with good teams and good hockey players. The lizard brain makes teams and players doubt their skills and their ability to win battles for the puck or make simple plays and they start to feel that “here we go again” mentality and their heads hang after a goal or a missed opportunity. The sticks start being gripped tighter and they don’t shoot the puck when they should because they’ve been in a slump.
 
Is there enough Leadership?
The leaders on the team, players and coaches, need to figure out what the problem is with this team. It’s not talent. They have plenty of talent. So what does that leave? Is it hard work? Motivation? The system? Do guys know their roles and how to play them? Is each and every player bought in to what the team is trying to accomplish? Are they playing for each other? Have they become a team or are they just a group of hockey players playing at the same time with the same jerseys on?
 
We’ve seen it way too much lately in the “State of Hockey” this season. The Wild have had problems with working hard consistently and that makes you question their motivation. I put doubt in the problem being in the system put in by the coaches because we’ve seen it work before so it’s either guys knowing the system and/or knowing how to play the system on the ice. It could also be nerves and being afraid to make a mistake on the ice?
 
It’s easy to put blame on the coaching staff because they are supposed to have the team ready to play every night but as a hockey player playing at the highest level of college hockey, motivation should never be a problem. Plus, this is a team that had to work very hard to get to the National Championship game last season and then were outworked by a Union hockey team that took it to them for 60 minutes! You’d think that would be stuck in their mind how bad it hurt to lose like they did in the Championship game last season.
More Gopher Hockey articles/news:
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Gopher Hockey Notes vs Bemidji State Beavers – 10-24-2014

Gopher Hockey finally got to our televisions Friday night as they took on the Bemidji State Beavers for their home opener. Having not seen the Gophers play yet this season, because neither the exhibition game nor the two games from the Ice Breaker tourney were televised, we may have not known what to expect even if the Gophers were the top-ranked team in the nation. Rankings mean very little on the ice.

Throw in that they were playing an in-state rival in Bemidji State and you never know what can happen. Beavers’ Head Coach Tom Serratore always has his team ready to play and they’d love to topple the Gophers from that number one spot.

Here’s Friday night’s line charts:

Line Chart – Minnesota Golden Gophers
Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
Leon Bristedt-18 – Kyle Rau-7 – Hudson Fasching-24
F-Sam Warning-11 – Justin Kloos-25 – Taylor Cammarata-13
Connor Reilly-21 – Travis Boyd-22 – Seth Ambroz-17
A.J. Michaelson-15 – Christian Isackson-26 – Vinni Lettieri-19
Left Defenseman – Right Defenseman
Jake Bischoff-28 – Mike Reilly-5
Ben Marshall-10 – Michael Brodzinski-20
Brady Skjei-2 – Ryan Collins-6
Goalie
Adam Wilcox-32

Scratches: G-Nick Lehr-34 (back-up), G-Ryan Coyne-31, D-Jack Glover-3, D-Steve Johnson-4, D-Nick Seeler-12 (Transfer), F-Ryan Reilly-9, F-Mitch Rogge-27, F-Robin Hoglund-29

Line Chart – Bemidji State Beavers
Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
Markus Gerbrandt-23 – Nate Arentz-11 – Brendan Harms-18
Phillip Marinaccio-9 – Corey Ward-13 – John Parker-8
Kyle Bauman-14 – Gerry Fitzgerald-21 – Myles Fitzgerald-26
Charlie O’Connor-22 – Mitch Cain-27 – Phil Brewer-19
Left Defenseman – Right Defenseman
Brett Beauvais-28 – Sam Windle-4
Sam Rendle-20 – Matt Prapavessis-7
Ruslan Pedan-25 – Graeme McCormack-12
Goalie
Michael Bitzer-1

Scratches/Injured: G-Andrew Walsh-30, G-Reid Mimmack-33, G-Jesse Wilkins-35, D-James Hansen-3, D-Carter Struthers-6, F-Jay Dickman-6, F-Jordan Heller-15, F-Bob Kinne-16, F-Leo Fitzgerald-17

Of course, being the home opener at Mariucci Arena and having 16 players from last season’s team coming back, including Kyle Rau, Adam Wilcox and Hudson Fasching, you knew the Gophers would come out flying on Friday night. They did not disappoint!

Friday Night Rodents On Ice!!!
The Beavers had a tough spot playing the Gophers in their home opener and seeing a banner unveiled (1st ever B1G TEN CHAMPS) but they did a good job making sure to keep it a game for a while.

At 8:41 of the 1st period, Justin Kloos drove up the left side of the ice with speed. Taylor Cammarata trailed him a little bit going up the left center lane with Sam Warning trailing the play. Two Beavers went to Kloos so he curled towards the boards just before the half wall and hit a trailing Sam Warning coming up center ice.

Justin Kloos starts the play that ends in a Taylor Cammarata goal for the Gophers!

Speed kills when you’ve got Justin Kloos, Taylor Cammarata and Sam Warning on the same line.

Warning received the puck and one-timed a pass to Taylor Cammarata, who turned towards the net just after the face-off dot of the left circle and he was able to stick handle around Beavers goalie Michael Bitzer and put an easy backhand into the open net. That play was all about speed.

  • Kloos used his speed to quickly gain the zone than curled back to make a pass to Warning.
  • Warning made a quick pass to Cammarata
  • Cammarata used his speed to keep the defense honest by driving towards the net.

THAT is a BEAUTIFUL GOAL!!! 1-0 GOPHERS!

The 1st period would end with only the one goal scored. Early in the 2nd period, Kyle Rau would make a nifty little toe drag move while Leon Bristedt drove the net allowing Rau to go to his backhand for his 2nd goal of the season. Bristedt would pick up his 1st career Gopher assist and point on the play. You could argue that he should get two assists on the play because without him driving the net, that goal might not happen.

scoring a short-handed goal. Drive the net, boys. It will change the game. Boyd doesn’t score there if he doesn’t drive to the net.

3-1 GOPHERS!

The Gophers killed off the rest of the penalty and got back to work, getting a power play off a Mitch Cain boarding penalty. Kyle Rau received a pass from Taylor Cammarata in the right corner just below the circle but in front of the goal line to the right of the net, facing the corner and he made a no-look pass on his backhand that found Travis Boyd backdoor.

Adam Wilcox uses the paddle of his stick to save a goal!

Adam Wilcox reaches back to his right to make a save with the paddle of his stick.

STICK to what you know!

The Gophers would get another power play goal in the 3rd from Hudson Fasching after Mike Reilly faked a shot and faked a pass then let off a quick, low shot to the front of the net. Hudson Fasching was set up in front of the net with his stick ready to tip a shot from the point but Reilly faking a slapper AND faking the pass then quickly firing it to the front of the net probably fooled the tendy and the penalty killers.

Hudson Fasching - PPG vs Beavers - 10-24Look how Mike Reilly is looking to make the pass to the left dot. He ends up not passing the puck and #24, Hudson Fasching is set up for the tip. Reilly fakes the pass then shoots it quick and low making it easy for Fasching to get his stick on the puck.

GOAL! 5-1 GOPHERS!

Cory Ward would score on the power play with 5:40 left in the 3rd to make the score 5-2 but the Gophers took over the game in the 2nd period and never looked back.

We’ll see how different tomorrow night’s game is.

THANKS for reading!

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2014 Hockey City Classic Notes – Minnesota Gophers vs Ohio State Buckeyes – January 17th, 2014

The 2014 Hockey City Classic once again includes Minnesota Gopher Hockey but this time the outdoor college hockey event has the Minnesota Gophers on home ice or, at least, ice at their home. Of course, being outdoors, I’m not sure if there is a home ice advantage as both the Gophers and their opponent, the Ohio State Buckeyes, probably received the same amount of ice time on the outdoor ice at TCF Bank stadium. There should be more Gopher Hockey fans there though so hopefully that will give the Gophers some “home ice” advantage.

I heard earlier this week that this is the first time in 80 years (1922) that the Minnesota Gophers have had a hockey game at home in the fabulous outdoor weather of a Minnesota winter. Now, it seems there’s outdoor hockey games once a week during the season of Winter. The Winter Classic didn’t start it all but it certainly brought the idea of the outdoor hockey game back to the forefront and got people enthusiastic about outdoor hockey again. I just hope they haven’t overdone it with the Stadium Series but I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

So, heading into the Hockey City Classic, Gopher hockey is still ranked #1 with an overall record of  15-2-3 with losses at Notre Dame and vs Minnesota-Duluth. Their Big Ten record is 5-0-1 with a tie (shootout loss) to Michigan State back on December 6th.

Ohio State comes in with an overall record of 11-6-1 and a conference record of 1-2-1 but their losses have both been by one goal losing in overtime to Michigan 4-3 and losing in a shootout to Michigan State in a 1-1 game. So they look like a team that should not be overlooked.

Here’s your line charts:

Line Chart – Minnesota Golden Gophers

Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
Taylor Cammarata – 13 – Kyle Rau-7 – Hudson Fasching-24
Sam Warning-11 – Nate Condon-16 – Justin Kloos-25
Tom Serratore-14 – Travis Boyd-22 – Seth Ambroz-17
Connor Reilly-21 – Vinni Lettieri-19 – Christian Isackson-26
Left Defenseman – Right Defenseman
Brady Skjei-2 – Justin Holl-12
Mike Reilly-5 – Michael Brodzinski-20
Jake Bischoff-28 – Ben Marshall-10
Goalie
Adam Wilcox-32
Mike Shibrowski-1

Scratches: G-Ryan Coyne-31, D-Jake Parenteau-6, F-Ryan Reilly-9, F-AJ Michaelson-15, F-Christian Horn-18, F-Gabe Guertler-27
Injured:

Line Chart – Ohio State Buckeyes

Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
Anthony Greco-14 – Tanner Fritz-16 – Alex Szczechura-28
Ryan Dzingel-18 – Nick Oddo-15 – Nick Schilkey-37
Max McCormick-17 – Tyler Lundey-23 – Darik Angeli-10
Alex Lippincott-11 – Chad Niddery-19 – Matt Johnson-26
Left Defenseman – Right Defenseman
Curtis Gedig-8 – Josh Healey-47
Sam Jardine-21 – Craig Dalrymple-24
Justin Dasilva-25 – Drew Brevig-4
Goalie
Matt Tomkins-31
Christian Frey-30

Scratches/Injured: G-Logan Davis-1, G-Aaron Kahn-34, D-Clark Cristifoli-6, D-Al McLean-7, D-Blake Doerring-27, F-David Gust-9, F-Travis Statchuk-12

Alright, let’s DROP THE CLUTTERPUCK and get to the game!!!

1st Period

  • I really like those Gopher Hockey jerseys. They look “Classic!” I wonder if the Gophers will wear them again any time soon OR add them to their other options of jersey to wear at home games from now on.
  • The weather to start the game is at a temperature of 6 degrees with humidity at 60%, winds coming from the southwest at 5 miles per hour with a forecast of mostly clear and brisk wind gusts!
    • That sounds like outdoor hockey weather to me! Let’s do this, boys!
  • LET’S PLAY….HOCKEY!!!!
  • The starters are:
    • Gopher Hockey – #14 Tom Serratore at Left Wing, #22 Travis Boyd at Center, #17 Seth Ambroz at Right Wing, #2 Brady Skjei at Left Defense, #12 Justin Holl at Right Defense AND starting in goal, #32 Adam Wilcox!
    • Ohio State Buckeyes – #18 RyanDzingel at Left Wing, #15 NickOddo at Center, #37 NickSchilkey at Right Wing, #47 Josh Healey at Left Defense, #8 CurtisGedig at Right Defense and #31 Matt Tomkins starting in the cage.
      • Do you think the coaches struggle with who to start in these outdoor games or just do it like any other game?
      • It looks like both coaches went with the senior lineup to me, getting those guys something they can look back on as starters in the Hockey City Classic.
  • Travis Boyd wins the opening face-off back to Justin Holl who gets to the red line and dumps the puck in and we are underway!
  • Nice toe save by Mike Tomkins on a chance by Hudson Fasching at 10:05 of the 1st period!
  • PENALTY – Justin Kloos for Cross-Checking Max McCormick at 15:04 of the 1st period –  Justin Kloos takes a dumb penalty in the offensive zone by cross-checking Max McCormick instead of trying to get in a better position to defend and/or steal the puck.
  • PENALTY – Darek Angeli for Tripping Ben Marshall at 17:05 of the 1st period – As Ben Marshall clears the zone on the penalty kill, Darik Angeli tries to poke check the puck away from him and ends up tripping him and NOW, he’ll get some time alone in the penalty box to think about what he’s done!
  • BIG SAVE by Adam Wilcox on Ryan Dzingel at 18:40 of the 1st period – A bouncing puck gets through about 3 players as the Gophers try to enter the Buckeye zone and a clearing attempt gets through Michael Brodzinski giving RyanDzingel a breakaway on the PK. Comingin to Adam Wilcox’s right,Dzingel makes a few stick fakes and shoots low blocker but Wilcox is up to the task and keeps the game scoreless!
    • Tough to fault much on that play as a bouncing puck could go either way.
      • Should Michael Brodzinski or Ben Marshall get back a little more sinceDzingel is playing so high near the blue linein between them?
        • I would say probably and especially on a loose puck. Brodzinski was on the strong side so the weak side player should get back in my opinion.
  • The first period ends with no goals being scored but both teams getting a few solid chances.
    • Probably takes a period to get used to the ice and the elements and the opponent since they haven’t faced each other since 2007!

2nd Period

  • Sam Warning gets a scoring chance on a great pass by Mike Reilly and he does a turnaround shot to his backhand. You don’t see that very often!
    • You see the turnaround shot to the forehand all the time because players love their snap or wrist shots.
      • I really think it shows a weakness of a bad backhand shot.
      • A turnaround shot to a forehand is rarely going to fool anyone and it gives the defense and goalie time to prepare for the shot but if you learn how to shoot a quick backhand shot and get something on it, it will change your game AND help you get more space to shoot on your forehand because they opponent has to look for either shot!
  • GOAL – Taylor Cammarata from Kyle Rau and Justin Holl at 4:20 of the 2nd period – A simple little pass up the right boards by Justin Holl gets Kyle Rau the puck coming in the right side of the Buckeye zone with Taylor Cammarata coming up the middle. Hudson Fasching actually goes for a change so it’s really just a 2-on-2 with no back pressure from Ohio State. Rau has some space so brings the puck to his forehand for a shot through Ohio State d-man Josh Healey but Healey gets his stick in front of the shot deflecting the puck through his legs where Taylor Cammarata just tries to deflect it towards the net. Those quick deflections makes the puck barely get through the legs of goalie Mike Tomkins and the puck trickles towards the goal line. Rau cuts behind the net, sees the puck lying there and quickly gets around the net to poke it in so the goal will probably change to Kyle Rau from Taylor Cammarata and Justin Holl! 1-0 GOPHERS!!!
    • Defenseman CurtisGedig gave way too much space to Taylor Cammarata coming down the middle.
      • Hudson Fasching changed on the play so there’s no reason and no Gopher to cover in any other part of the zone.
      • Tanner Fritz didn’t apply any back pressure on the play either and that would’ve changed that play.
        • Playersshould be aware of what’s going on and when they can take advantage of situations offensively AND defensively.
          • Everybody on the ice and the bench can help with that by talking to each other and yelling when to go to the player with the puck and countless other things going on during the game.
    • Kyle Rau makes that play with his compete level! He sees the loose puck on the goal line and dives around the net lunging at it with his stick!

3rd Period

  • Rough start to the 3rd period as the Gophers are having some trouble getting out of their zone and making passes through the neutral zone.
  • PENALTY – Nick Schilkey for Tripping Same Warning at 2:18 of the 3rd period – Sam Warning gets to a loose puck in the Buckeye zone and Nick Schilkey tries to reach Warning’s stick with his stick coming down over the top but he misses and hit’s Warning’s feet tripping him and gets a free ticket to the penalty box!
  • PENALTIES – Coincidental Minors – Derek Angeli for Tripping Kyle Rau and Kyle Rau for Unsportsmanlike Conduct Embellishment at 6:07 of the 3rd period – Behind the Gopher net, Kyle Rau, JakeBischoff, Derek Angeli & Max McCormick battle for a loose puck. The puck comes off the wall and Kyle Rau is the first to go to it but Derek Angeli hooks Rau by his left glove. Kyle Rau falls but apparently appears to the official that he tried to embellish being tripped to get the call.
    • I disagree with the call on Kyle Rau and here’s why. He’s getting hooked on the glove and my guess is that, from the way we see Kyle Rau battle, he not assuming the official is calling the hook (or trip since that’s what the official called) so he’s trying to battle out of it and once his hand comes loose, he loses his balance.
      • I’m sure people would see that as me being a biased Gopher fan. That’s not it at all. That’s how I see that play.
    • Many people get annoyed when an official will call a trip and a dive on the same play thinking it can’t be both. Their argument is, if the playerwas tripped then how can it be a dive/embellishment? Or if the player dove/embellished then how can it be a trip?
      • Why would you try to fool the official? As if you have some idea when they are going to or not going to call a penalty!
    • I like when the official calls a penalty but calls the wrong penalty. Like this case for instance. That should a hooking penalty because Derek Angeli hooked Kyle Rau. He didn’t trip him.
      • Should we be happy the official at least knew there was a penalty and not care that he got the call right?
        • “Hey, he knew something didn’t look right there so he just figured he’d call it a trip and be done with it.”
          • “#10 for breaking the rules! I don’t know what specific rule but it was one of them. It was an illegal play! Yeah, that’s it! 2 minutes for Illegal Play!”…”What’s the signal for that?”…”Uhhh….the shame on you sign!”
    • I will say this. I respect what linesman and officials do. It’s not an easy job and not something I want to do.
    • I do love how announcers or color analysts always say how they “understand trying to draw penalties” because I don’t understand it.
      • Battle through everything because you don’t know what the official will or won’t call and it’s stupid to give up a chance to score on the off-chance that the official will call the penalty!
      • Plus…You’re a hockey player, not an actor!!!
    • Sorry! I rambled a little there!
  • The Buckeyes pulled their goalie but never really got a real good chance to tie the game as this one ends at 1-0 in favor of the home team Minnesota Golden Gopher Hockey team!
  • Adam Wilcox gets the shutout stopping all 21 Ohio State Buckeye shots for his second shutout of the season!

Final Score
Minnesota Gophers 1, Ohio State Buckeyes 0

It was an interesting game. Outdoor games often are more spectacle than excitement as it takes the teams involved a while to figure out the ice and if the weather will cause the game to change. So teams play a more defensive style until they’ve gotten used to the ice and/or the opponent. They’re definitely still fun for the players and the fans but it’ll be interesting if the outdoor hockey phenomenon stays as big as it has been.

Well, same two teams tomorrow night at Mariucci for Hockey Day Minnesota 2014!

Links to the Box Score, Recaps from both schools and a Photo Gallery of the 2014 Hockey City Classic
Gopher Hockey Box Score from GopherSports.comHockey City Classic Box Score
Gopher Hockey Recap from GopherSports.comGophers Blank OSU in Hockey City Classic
Gopher Hockey Recap from OhioStateBuckeyes.comBuckeyes Drop 1-0 Game to No. 1 Minnesota in Hockey City Classic
Photo Gallery from GopherSports.comGopher Hockey vs Ohio State – 1/17/2014

In other B1G TEN College Hockey action tonight,
Home=”vs”, Away=”@”
Michigan State won vs Penn State 3-0

In other College Hockey action,
Home=”vs”, Away=”@”
Boston College won vs Boston University 6-4 – 2012 Minnesota Wild 4th round pick Adam Gilmour had a goal and an assist for Boston College in this game.
Notre Dame won vs Lake Superior 6-3 – 2011 Minnesota Wild 2nd-round pick Mario Lucia had a goal and an assist for Notre Dame in this game.

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