Category Archives: Gopher Hockey

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…


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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 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.
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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
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
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.


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.

Kyle Rau Toe Drags to a Goal

Kyle Rau toe drags to get to the front of the net.


Breaking out of their own zone, a Gopher player tried to put a pass through a player, it hits a stick and because they were breaking out, Beavers forward Mitch Cain is behind the defense, receives a pass in the slot and fires one upper right over Adam Wilcox to cut the lead in half.

BEAVERS SCORE! 2-1 Gophers!

The Beavers had the momentum and Mike Reilly received an interference penalty to put them on the power play. The Beavers had a chance to tie the game but 15 seconds into the penalty kill, Brady Skjei ended up with a 2-on-1 with Travis Boyd on his left. Skjei opted to shoot the puck with Boyd going hard to the net.

Travis Boyd scores a short-handed goal vs Bemidji State on 10-24-2014

Travis Boyd drives the net on a shorthanded 2-on-1.

As you can see, Boyd had a step on getting to the loose puck first and he ended up burying it, 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.


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.

Kyle Rau has eyes in the back of his head.

Kyle Rau makes a no-look pass behind his back to Travis Boyd for a power play goal.

Boyd had to reach for it but still got enough on the shot to hit the upper right corner and make it…


We can’t forget about Adam Wilcox now, can we? He has a way of making us not forget about him. Adam made a ridiculous stick save having to twist back to his right and reach to make a save with the paddle of his goalie stick.

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.


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.

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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
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

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
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!
  • 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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Gopher Hockey Notes vs Minnesota State Mavericks – 11-15-2013

Gopher Hockey is still ranked #1 after splitting a road series against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame AND the Son of Don! Notre Dame came out on Friday and took it to the Gophers physically, winning 4-1, but the Minnesota Gophers rebounded well on Saturday night getting a 5-4 win where all the goals were scored by freshmen, two for Hudson Fasching and one each for Justin Kloos, Taylor Cammarata and Jake Bischoff with the game winner! Mario “Son of Don” Lucia had two goals for the Irish.

Now the Minnesota Gopher hockey team gets back to a more familiar opponent as they take on former WCHA foe, the Minnesota State Mavericks. The Mavericks are still a part of the WCHA but they are probably anxious to play a #1 ranked team especially if it’s the Minnesota Gophers they’ve built a little rivalry against. The Gophers can’t look past or underestimate the Mavericks so hopefully they will come out with the same energy and aggressiveness that got them that #1 ranking.

Here’s your line charts for tonight’s game:

Line Chart – Minnesota Golden Gophers
Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
F-Sam Warning-11 – Kyle Rau-7 – Hudson Fasching-24
Nate Condon-16 – Justin Kloos-25 – Taylor Cammarata – 13
Connor Reilly-21 – Travis Boyd-22 – Vinni Lettieri-19
Tom Serratore-14 – Gabe Guertler-27 – Seth Ambroz-17
Left Defenseman – Right Defenseman
Brady Skjei-2 – Jake Bischoff-28
Mike Reilly-5 – Jake Parenteau-6
Ben Marshall-10 – Michael Brodzinski-20
Adam Wilcox-32
Mike Shibrowski-1

Scratches: G-Ryan Coyne-31, D-Justin Holl-12, F-Ryan Reilly-9, FAJ Michaelson-15, F-Christian Horn-18, F-Christian Isackson-26

Line Chart – Minnesota State Mavericks

Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
Dylan Margonari-26 – Matt Leitner-18 – Bryce Gervais-9
Chase Grant-21 – Teddy Blueger-23 – Johnny McInnis-22
Brett Knowles-24 – Jean-Paul Lafontaine-12 – Max Gaede-8
Taylor Herndon-14 – Jordan Nelson-16 – Mat Knoll-10
Left Defenseman – Right Defenseman
Brett Stern-27 – Zach Palmquist-7
Jon Jutzi-28 – Casey Nelson-6
Nick Buchanon-4 – Sean Flanagan-11
Cole Huggins-34

Alright, it’s time to DROP THE CLUTTERPUCK!!!

1st Period

  • About 3 and a half minutes in, Hudson Fasching throws a big hit at the right half wall of the Mavericks zone followed by a big hit by Michael Brodzinski in the left corner of the Gopher zone!
    • That got the Gophers going and a line rush gets the puck into the blue paint with Hudson Fasching and Kyle Rau battling for the loose puck and Fasching gets tripped up giving the Gophers their first power play of the game.
  • GOAL – Justin Kloos from Nate Condon & Brady Skjei at 10:31 of the 1st period – A face-off at the left face-off dot (or to Adam Wilcox’s right) is won by Travis Boyd back to the left corner. Jake Bischoff wins a battle for the puck, with a little help from Boyd, and passes it to Brady Skjei behind the net. Skjei comes around the net and quickly passes it to Nate Condon giving him the whole left side to skate up the boards. Condon brings the puck into the zone with speed and stops/slows down at the left half-wall. He was just trying to buy some time as the rest of his line came on the ice from the bench so he slowed down and then turned towards the boards and goes back towards the blue line and sees Justin Kloos coming up the middle of the zone. Condon puts a little backhand into the middle of the zone so Kloos can skate into it and take a quick shot that beats Cole Huggins to the right side for a 1-0 GOPHER LEAD!!!
    • The shot mayhave been tipped by Brett Knowles as he swiped at it with his stick to attempt to block the shot.
      • You don’t have to take a big swing to get your stick in the way of the shot. Just put your stick in front of the puck!
    • MaxGaede while on theforecheck goes in for the hit on Brady Skjei and doesn’t even try to get his stick on the puck.
      • He didn’t give up an odd man rush by doing that but he may have disrupted the play by getting his stick on the puck.
        • He then doesn’t pick up his man on the back check in Justin Kloos, who scored the goal.
          • He does that familiar reaching motion once he sees the puck going to Kloos. That’s usually followed by a head hanging in disappointment.
        • Pick up the man before he gets the puck! Read the play and react to what you read because if you react to what you see, it’s too late!
    • Minnesota Statedefensemen Brett Stern & NickBuchanon gave Nate Condon way too much space, especially since he was all alone with no help from any Gopher players in the offensive zone.
      • Someone has to go to the puck when you outnumber the offense!
      • They gave too much of a gap too. Part of that is because of Nate Condon’s speed but it’s 1 against 3! You should be able to get the puck from him!
      • Brett Stern also bites on Condon’s move to buy time!
        • This is why you take the body instead of the puck! You should be able to get a piece of a player that’s carrying the puck! It’s also a lot easier than trying to get a piece of the puck.
        • Separate the man for the puck or the puck from the man…OR BOTH!!! Make a Choice!!!
      • Nate Condon did a good job buying time and showed good vision to find Kloos for a shot on net!
      • Justin Kloos does a good job driving to the net to get a chance to score.
        • AND a good job to shoot the puck knowing that was his only play there.
      • Now half of the Gophers goals have been scored by freshmen! That’s 18 of 36 if you’re keeping track at home (or on your computer where you are reading this!)

“We were merely freshmen!”

I loved this song when it came out in 1996! I may have just aged myself but so what!

  • GOAL – Mike Reilly from Nate Condon and Justin Kloos at 18:33 of the 1st period – Justin Kloos wins a puck battle along the right wall in the Gopher zone, breaks out of the zone and flips the puck into space over the head of Nate Condon. Condon dives for it, trying to get a pass over to Taylor Cammarata, but he didn’t get enough of it and it’s played into the right corner by Sean Flanagan. Max Gaede, just off the bench from a line change, gets to the puck in the corner after Condon but wins the puck and heads up the boards. He loses control of the puck and then panics and tries to just get the puck out of the zone but fails, turning the puck over on the blue line for Justin Kloos to keep the puck in the zone. Kloos just turns and throws it at the net but it hits the Maverick defenseman so Nate Condon can reach the puck as he goes for a line change. Condon sees Mike Reilly coming and just let’s him have it for a quick shot that beats Cole Huggins to his left. Taylor Cammarata went to the net and screened the goaltender on the goal. GOPHERS LEAD 2-0!!!
    • MaxGaede isn’t having a great night so far! He’s a minus 2 so far and he probably could’ve prevented both goals from happening had he finished on the play!
      • He needs to get the puck out of the zone on that play and he had time to just skate it out as Kloos was giving him space to do just that.
        • But he panicked and didn’t execute the chip off the boards well!
      • The Mavericks have to get in front of those shots too!

2nd Period

  • Mike Guentzel told Marney Gellner that he wanted the Gophers to get the puck to the paint and get more shots and the Gophers have been doing just that in the first 5 minutes of the 2nd period.
  • Taylor Cammarata just got a semi-breakaway and did something I’ve been curious to see would work or not. He stopped to get himself some time and space and then passed it off to a teammate for a shot on goal.
    • It worked beautifully because the defender was chasing him and the last thing they think you’re going to do is stop so I wonder when I’ll see that again.
  • PENALTY – Teddy Blueger for Tripping Justin Kloos at 8:01 of the 2nd period – The above play continued and as Justin Kloos tried to go to the front of the net from behind the net, hewas tripped by TeddyBlueger!
    • That means we get a Gopher Power Play!!!
  • GOAL (POWER PLAY) – Connor Reilly from Sam Warning & Mike Reilly at 8:40 of the 2nd period – A Connor Reilly one-timer misses the net and wraps around the left boards back to Mike Reilly. Bryce Gervais over pursues Mike Reilly and lets the pass get through him to Sam Warning coming off the left half-wall creating a 4-on-3. Matt Leitner is too much in the middle of the ice to cover Connor Reilly at the right face-off circle and Casey Nelson may have screened his goaltender as Reilly’s one-timer goes in the right part of the net for a 3-0 GOPHER LEAD!!!
    • Bryce Gervais saw an opportunity to be aggressive and maybe get to Mike Reilly as he tries to handle a bouncing puck but he needs to go in with more of a defensive play in mind and just get in front of Mike Reilly and the puck.
    • MattLeitner was too busy watching the puck than keeping track of where Connor Reilly was on the ice.
      • Casey Nelson was doing the same thing as he tried to move over to block the one-timer but screens his goaltender instead.
        • Would Cole Huggins have been able to make the save if he wasn’t screened? We’ll never know but as a defenseman, you have to be aware of when you’re taking away the eyes of your goaltender!
  • TeddyBlueger is hurt when SethAmbroz hits him with a body check after he clears the zone.
    • The hit was maybe a tad late and maybe a little from behind but Blueger wasn’t prepared to take a hit. He was watching the puck clear the zone on the penalty kill.
    • You have to be aware of who’s on the ice and who’s coming whenever you’re on the ice. You should just assume someone’s coming to hit you at all times and have the proverbial “head on a swivel!”
  • Jordan Nelson throws an elbow into the head of Ben Marshall in the offensive zone.
    • He may not have meant to throw the elbow but players love throwing the chicken wing by following through high with the elbow.
    • Keep your arms down when you make a hit or push through the chest of the player and not up into the head area!

3rd Period

  • A puck just hit the official and gave Minnesota State a scoring chance.
    • I wonder if any league has ever thought a good way to get rid of that kind of thing changing a game might be to just blow the whistle when it happens?
    • Would both teams be OK with that? I would think they would.
    • Or maybe it could be left up tothe discretion of the official to blow the whistle or not?
      • Although I’m not really a fan of making the official wonder if he should blow the whistle or not. Officials trying to think is usually a bad thing if you ask me.
  • Jordan Nelson just got another elbowing penalty. This time it’s on Kyle Rau! I’d keep my head up if I was him. Gophers may be coming or at least they all know what number he is.
  • GOAL – Zach Palmquist from Jean-Paul LaFontaine & Max Gaede at 12:48 of the 3rd period – A turnover in the left corner gets Jean-Paul LaFontaine the puck behind the goal line to Adam Wilcox’ right and he centers the puck out to Zach Palmquist for a one-timer that goes over a sprawling Adam Wilcox and the Mavericks make it 3-1!!!
    • The Gophers had too many players below the goal line on that play.
    • Mike Reilly goes below the goal line when Ben Marshall gets the puck but Marshall lost control of it and that’s when LaFontaine created a chance by going to the net.
    • Jean-Paul LaFontaine made a great play as he was being tripped by diving and getting his stick on the puck to push it out to Zach Palmquist for the one-time shot.
    • That’s one of those transition mistakes as Mike Reilly thought Marshall had the puck so he’s going on offense and is in goodposition for offense but then,all of a sudden, it’s turned over and he’s out ofposition from a defensive standpoint.
      • Not as big a problem with a  3-0 lead but you still don’t want to give up point blank shots in front of your own net.
  • GOAL (EMPTY NET) – Seth Ambroz – Unassisted at 19:33 of the 3rd period – Seth Ambroz picked off a breakout pass in the Maverick zone, corralled the puck and shot it into the empty net making it 4-1!

Final Score
Minnesota Golden Gophers 4, Minnesota State Mavericks 1

The Gophers got out to a 3-goal lead and then kind of took their foot off the gas pedal and almost let the Mavericks back into the game. Adam Wilcox had to make some great saves late in the third period to keep this game from becoming a big learning lesson for the Gophers. Now it’s just some film study for the boys to clean up some of the little stuff at the end of games.

Gopher Hockey Recap from GopherSports.comGophers Take Down Mavericks, 4-1
Gopher Hockey Box Score from GopherSports.comMinnesota-Minnesota State Box Score
Gopher Hockey Recap from Minnesota State Falls at #1 Minnesota Friday, 4-1

In other B1G TEN College Hockey action tonight,
Home=”vs”, Away=”@”
Wisconsin lost @ Miami 2-0,
Ohio State won vs Canisius 3-0,
Penn State lost vs UMass-Lowell 3-2,
Michigan lost @ Nebraska-Omaha 3-2

In other College Hockey action,
Home=”vs”, Away=”@”
Notre Dame won vs Merrimack 4-0 – Mario Lucia scored the 3rd goal of the game and now has 5 goals and 2 assists in 11 games this season.
North Dakota won vs Minnesota-Duluth 4-2,
Maine won vs Boston University 7-0,
Denver won vs Western Michigan 5-3
St. Cloud State won vs Alabama-Huntsville 10-0

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You’ve Been ClutterPUCKED!!!