Gopher Hockey starts a brand new season in a brand new league with a lot of brand new players and a lot of familiar expectations. Though losing 41% of their scoring with Nick Bjugstad, Erik Haula, Zach Budish, and Nate Schmidt, the Minnesota Gophers always recruit well. They should be able to replace a lot of that scoring with the likes of incoming recruits Taylor Cammarata, Justin Kloos and Hudson Fasching. Redshirt freshman Connor Reilly and 2nd year progress from Brady Skjei, Mike Reilly, AJ Michaelson and Ryan Reilly should improve. They still have some good leadership in new captains Kyle Rau and Nate Condon and expect a big year from Sam Warning especially if he’s on the top line!
On the back end, along with losing Nate Schmidt, they lost Seth Helgeson and it was a bit of a shock when Mark Alt went pro but there’s still a lot of experience on the blue line for the Gophs. Jake Parenteau will be able to fill a physicality role and bring solid defense with a touch of offense. Ben Marshall is steady and should get more opportunities on the power play and Justin Holl brings a solid game back to the blue line after playing forward all season last year. What will the Gophers get from incoming freshman Michael Brodzinski and Jake Bischoff who both have good size at around 6 feet and 195 pounds?
Brodzinski did score the most goals (16) and was top 5 in scoring (33 points in 61 games) among all defenseman while playing for the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the USHL in 2012-13. Jake Bischoff only played 22 games in two seasons with the Omaha Lancers so there’s not enough to know how he will produce for the Gophers. He did produce quite well in high school for Grand Rapids with 23 points (5G, 18A) in 24 games in 2010-11 and 38 points (11G, 27A) in 24 games in 2011-12 so the talent is there for both d-men. The question is how soon will we see that for the Gopher hockey team and will they be able to keep up on the defensive end to get time to show up on the offensive end?
The Gophers shouldn’t have a problem manning the crease with the return of the same goalies from last season in Adam Wilcox and Mike “The Big” Shibrowski. Adam Wilcox had a legendary freshman season so we know he can handle to workload but it’ll be hard to repeat that kind of season.
Line Chart – Minnesota Golden GophersLeft Wing – Center – Right Wing
F-Sam Warning-11 – Kyle Rau-7 – Hudson Fasching-24
Nate Condon-16 – Justin Kloos-25 – Taylor Cammarata – 13
Christian Isackson-26 – Travis Boyd-22 – Vinni Lettieri-19
Tom Serratore-14 – AJ Michaelson-15 – Seth Ambroz-17
Left Defenseman – Right Defenseman
Brady Skjei-2 – Justin Holl-12
Mike Reilly-5 – Jake Parenteau-6
Ben Marshall-10 – Michael Brodzinski-20
Scratches: G-Ryan Coyne-31, D-Jake Bischoff-28, F-Ryan Reilly-9, F-Christian Horn-18, F-Connor Reilly-21, F-Gabe Guertler-27
Line Chart – Mercyhurst Lakers
Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
Daniel O’Donoghue-18 – Daniel Bahntge-27 – Kyle Just-15
Zach Frischmon-12 – Kyle Cook-6 – Trent Frey-11
Ryan Misiak-26 – Matthew Zay-19 Chris Bodo-22
Jack Riley-3 – Stephen Hrehoriak-20 – Kyle Dutra-23
Left Defenseman – Right Defenseman
Grant Gettinger-21 – Nick Jones-2
Randy Cure-7 – Mychal Montieth-5
Tyler Shiplo-4 – Anthony Mastrodicasa-14
Scratches/Injured: G-Spencer Bacon-29, G-Jimmy Sarjeant-35, D-Justin Stevens-24, D-Philippe Drouin-25, F-John Mousso-8, F-Alec Shields-9, F-Nardo Nagtzaam-10, Edward DeWald-16, F-Kyle Johnson-28
It’s almost time to “Break The Ice” on another Gopher Hockey season with the IceBreaker Tourney so are you ready for another exciting season of Gopher Hockey?
Let’s DROP THE CLUTTERPUCK!!!
- PENALTY – #20 Michael Brodzinski for Hooking #11 Trent Frey at 2:19 of the 1st period - Off a face-off in the Gopher zone, Michael Brodzinski, playing the wing on the face-off, gets his stick in the midsection of Mercyhurst’s Trent Frey, holding him up and getting 2 minutes for his handiwork.
- I’m not sure why Brodzinski felt the need to hold him up as he was turning towards the wall and back to the right point.
- FSN is already in mid-season form, not showing who received the penalty or showing a replay of why he’s getting the penalty! Good start!!!
- I’m sorry. They finally announced it after the ensuing face-off!
- PENALTY – #22 Chris Bodo for Interference of #5 Mike Reilly at 2:47 of the 1st period - Chris Bodo basically set a pick of Mike Reilly and Reilly pushed him knocking him down but the official had the Interference call and Bodo sits for 2!
- PENALTY – #7 Randy Cure for Tripping #14 Tom Serratore at 6:03 of the 1st period - Seth Ambroz had the puck behind the net and was pinned to the boards by Randy Cure* but was able to get the puck loose as Tom Serratore was coming around the net. Cure tried to make a poke check and missed the puck but got the feet of Serratore for an easy tripping call for the official.
- *Randy Cure? Sounds like something you’d get for being a little too excited all the time. “Are you excited a lot? Does it get out of control sometimes? Maybe you need Randy Cure? for those times when you feel out of control!” Haha
- GOAL (POWER PLAY) – Kyle Rau from Ben Marshall & Sam Warning at 6:25 of the 1st period - Kyle Rau plants himself at the right side of the net and waits for a rebound and gets one when Sam Warning feeds Ben Marshall at the middle of the blue line for a one-time blast that gets deflected on the way to the net then hits Jordan Tibbett and lands at Kyle Rau’s stick for an easy shot into the empty net! GOPHERS LEAD 1-0!!!
- That goal took nothing but knowing where to be on the ice to score a goal. It had nothing to do with how good a shot he has, how physical he is or how well he can handle the puck. It was plain knowledge of the game of hockey and playing without the puck.
- He just plants himself near the goal and waits but he knows to move around when the defense is watching the puck instead of him.
- Knowing how to play without the puck and get open will get you the puck more and give you more chances to score because your teammates will look for you more.
- PENALTY – Tom Serratore for High-Sticking Tyler Shiplo at 8:17 of the 1st period - Tom Serratore went in on the forecheck and got his stick up high on Tyler Shiplo and actually getting his stick underneath the cage a little.
- The interesting thing about this penalty call is the official 8 feet from the play didn’t make the call, it was the ref in the neutral zone that made the call. I’m not sure how the official right there didn’t see that better but he did have kind of a bad angle on it so…
- At the 14:05 mark of the 1st period - A rebound in the Mercyhurst zone goes to the right half-wall and Seth Ambroz gets to the puck first and carries it back towards the right point and tries to make a backhand pass to Brady Skjei at the other point but it hits Mercyhurst’s Stephen Hrehoriak, giving him a breakaway that is broken up by Skjei.
- Tom Chorske tells it like it is saying, “Ambroz just makes a poor decision trying to backhand that through the zone.”
- As a Junior, he should know that! Heck, as a hockey player who’s probably played hockey for a really long time, he should know that!
- Backhand cross-ice pass = Bad things!
- Turn and dump the puck back in and get back to work on the forecheck!
- Give it to the right D who’s right next to you.
- He can see the zone and make a play!
- Fake that pass to get the defender to move, opening up other options:
- Shoot the puck!
- Take the puck to the net!
- Now the pass to the left point should be open! Pass it and get in front of the net for a rebound opportunity!
- Skate it out of the zone and dump it back in and start over.
- PENALTY – Brady Skjei for holding Matthew Zay at 17:33 of the 1st period - Brady Skjei tries to make a pass up the middle from the left boards of the Gopher zone that’s deflected/intercepted by Chris Bodo. Matthew Zay ends up with the puck at the half-wall and heads to the net. Skjei is behind him and puts his stick in front of him and then tries to grab him and ends up pushing him down getting a holding penalty.
- I don’t like how a holding call is up to the official’s discretion. They might be told to call them this way but, if a player puts his hand/glove on a player, that shouldn’t be holding. I feel like it penalizes players who are stronger than another player.
- The rule reads:
- 54.1 Holding – Any action by a player that retards the progress of an opposing player whether or not he is in possession of the puck.
- Definition of retards:
- delay or hold back in terms of progress, development, or accomplishment. – “his progress was retarded by his limp”
- In this case, the live view of the play looks like Skjei just pushes him down but he actually does grab him and then pushes him down for the holding call.
- GOAL – Seth Ambroz Unassisted at 3:37 of the 2nd period - Off a face-off in the Gopher zone, it appears Mercyhurst wins the draw but its pulled back towards defenseman Nick Jones but as he skates in to get the puck, the center, who won the face-off, was falling and lunged to poke the puck back to his d-man quicker and ended up poking it out of his reach, creating a 2-on-1 with Seth Ambroz and Tom Serratore with Ambroz coming up the right side and Serratore on the left. Ambroz picks up the puck and heads in on defenseman Grant Gettinger. Gettinger takes away the pass leaving the goalie to stop the shot by Ambroz. Seth fires a snapper that beats the goalie but hits the left post and bounces right back to Ambroz, who gloves it, throws it down and backhands it through his legs sending the puck back in front of the goal. The puck ends up hitting Nick Jones in the right skate and deflects into the net for a 2-0 GOPHER LEAD!!!
- Grant Gettinger played the 2-on-1 OK for the most part taking away the pass but, at some point, you need to get to the shooter and attempt to get your stick in front of the puck or, at the very least, make the shooter hesitate or you’re basically allowing a breakaway on your goalie while having the best view of it. Might as well just buy a ticket then!
- So, instead of taking away the pass the whole way and falling down, you can go to the shooter while trying to stay in the passing lane and make the offensive player move, think about his options longer or rush his shot.
- Gap up! Close the gap between you and the man with the puck. Seth Ambroz was never worried about what he was going to do with the puck. He knew he was going to shoot right away.
- Obviously this was a strange play with the shot hitting the post and rebounding back to Ambroz but it does show that if you don’t know where the puck is, you need to find someone to cover and not just look around for the puck.
- Your teammates should be telling you where the puck is to help you out.
- The rule is if you don’t know where you’re supposed to be or who you’re supposed to cover, you retreat back to the front of the net but if there’s nobody there, find someone to cover.
- Yes this is a freak/fluke-ish play but you can still learn from it and play it better the next time it happens and have a plan the next time a shot hits the post.
- A scrum in front of the Gopher net results in some coincidental penalties and we get some 4-on-4 hockey! More space for more speed and more chances to score!
- GOAL – Sam Warning from Kyle Rau at 11:48 of the 2nd period - All it takes is 18 seconds of 4-on-4 for the Gophers to take advantage and go up 3-0 on the Lakers.
- Off a face-off in the Gopher zone, I assume the Gophers won the face-off. I assume because FSN is great at NOT showing the face-offs. Anyways, the puck is cleared and loose in the neutral zone. Nick Jones picks it up for the Lakers at the red line and, for reason, tries to get around Kyle Rau instead of just dumping it into the Gopher zone. Rau causes him to mishandle the puck and Sam Warning swoops in to take it from him and head up the left side but Warning can’t control the puck either so it gets to Matthew Zay covering for the D-man. Zay tries to chip it back up the boards to Jones and he tries to play it up the boards too but Rau is there to take the puck from him and head to the net creating a short 2-on-1 with Warning. After Warning had the puck shot past him on the left boards, he curled to the right, in towards the goal to come back, then curled back to the left to get open for a pass once he saw Rau win the battle for the puck on the boards. Grant Gettinger was the only Laker defenseman back now and he moved towards Rau and went down to try to take away the pass but Warning was further back so the passing lane was open. Rau passed it to Warning, who looked like he was setting up for a one-timer, but the pass was too far forward so he deflected it forward with his right skate then took the puck to his backhand, forcing the goalie Jordan Tibbettt to keep moving, and then Sam Warning snuck it past Tibbett’s outstretched glove into an empty net. Gettinger was there to knock it out of the net but replay clearly shows the puck crossed the goal line! GOPHERS lead 3-0!!!
- It’s amazing what you can see when you slow down the video.
- First you see Nick Jones fail to get the puck deep, then he loses not one, but two puck battles.
- He doesn’t try to protect the puck with his body either.
- If you can’t corral the puck, get your body in front of it to keep the opposing player from getting to it or at least to slow them down.
- Then you see Grant Gettinger make a poor decision to go towards the shooter Rau on the 2-on-1, then compound that bad decision by going down taking himself out of the play completely.
- Last, you see the Laker forwards coasting and reaching as they try to back check to catch Sam Warning who’s alone in front of their net.
- There’s usually a reason for every goal, a bad decision, bad read, bad position and/or losing a puck battle. It could be one of those or all of those on the same play. This one appears to have every one of those reasons. Learn from it and don’t let it happen again.
- Talent doesn’t win puck battles! Compete level and determination do! You can have all the talent in the world but if you aren’t willing to get in there and battle for the puck, it doesn’t matter how much talent you have!
- “Gentleman! You don’t have enough talent to win on talent alone!”
- “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard!”
- So, on the ice the official waved the goal off but after a stoppage of play, they looked at the replay and called it a good goal BUT they never put the time back on the clock. It was only 4 seconds and it doesn’t look like it’s going to matter in this game but I’m curious as to if the official forgot about that or what happened there?
- Penalty – Mercyhurst – Tyler Shiplo for Delay of Game at 13:41 of the 2nd period - Mercyhurst is just trying to hang on during a scramble in front of their net and Tyler Shiplo covers it up and gets to sit for a couple minutes while his team is shorthanded.
- GOAL (POWER PLAY) – Justin Kloos from Nate Condon & Mike Reilly at 15:20 of the 2nd period - Off an attempted cross-ice pass, the puck goes into the right corner (to Jordan Tibbett’s left) and eventually Taylor Cammarata comes out with it just in front of the right half wall and sends a pass back to Mike Reilly at the right point. Reilly skates in, fakes a shot, moves to the middle and takes a shot aiming for the upper right corner and misses the net. The puck bounces off the back boards back to Nate Condon, who’s at the right of the net. Condon curls around the bottom of the circle looking for a pass and sees Justin Kloos on the back door and sauces him a pass. Justin Kloos catches the pass and has time to control the puck and rip a wrist shot to the upper left corner for a 4-0 GOPHER Lead!!!
- The Gophers are usually good on the power play and that’s the case here.
- Can you complain about letting a cross-ice pass through to a guy sitting on the backdoor? Maybe, but it was right after a shot went wide so were they able to regroup into good position. Condon fired the pass pretty quick after getting the rebound off the wall.
- The rebound happens to bounce right to Condon instead of staying behind the net or bouncing to one of the Laker players.
- PENALTY – Mercyhurst – Kyle Dutra for Hooking at 17:52 of the 2nd period - Reaching instead of moving your feet will get you time in the box and a minus on the ice.
- GOAL – Mike Reilly from Hudson Fasching & Sam Warning at 11:10 of the 3rd period - Mike Reilly starts this play by getting the puck at his own blue line, skating it back behind his own net and coming around the left side. As he gets to his own blue line again, he passes it across to the right boards to Sam Warning. The puck was a little hard to control as Warning crosses the Lakers blue line and Grant Gettinger hesitated going over to defend him so Warning had time to get control of the puck, pull a stop move bringing the puck back towards him and away from the defender letting Gettinger and his poke check go by him and giving him time to survey his options. He finally sees Hudson Fasching coming up the left side. Fasching gets the puck on his backhand, moves it away from the defender and as he gets to the bottom of the circle, he’s falling down but still gets the puck to the front of the net. Mike Reilly kept skating and actually went all the way into the right corner of the Laker zone, curling back to be a backdoor option. That didn’t work out so he was just skating back up the middle to retake his position on the defense and the puck comes to him for a one-timer that goes in off Jordan Tibbett and in the right of the net.
- Man, it’s fun watching Mike Reilly skate and make plays. He makes it look effortless. He has speed, can handle the puck and has great vision and puck-moving ability. He may need to improve some on the defensive side and keep getting stronger but the kid’s going to be a stud!
- Gettinger is not having the best game tonight. He’s a junior so he I can’t really give him any slack for adjusting to the Division I game.
- On this goal, as soon as he sees the puck bouncing and Sam Warning having a problem controlling it, he needs to jump on that chance to go get him and do it fast.
- I also think, as a defenseman, you need to make any player go wide and not give up the middle or let him do what he did by pulling the pull-back stop move so he has time to survey the ice.
- At the end when Mike Reilly gets the puck for the one-timer, you can clearly see every Laker player watching the puck and not covering a man.
- You don’t have time to get to a man after you realize the puck was just passed to him. By that time, the player may have already moved while you were watching the puck.
- GOAL – Michael Brodzinski from Sam Warning & Kyle Rau at 18:21 of the 3rd period - A face-off at the right dot (to Jordan Tibbett’s left) is won by Kyle Rau back to Brady Skjei at the middle of the blue line. It looks like the Gophers ran a play off the face-off because they were all moving to spots after the face-off was won. Fasching (RW) and Rau (C) go to the front of the net and camp themselves in front of the goalie. Sam Warning, from the LW spot on the inner hash mark, skates back around the top of the circle towards the right boards, curling around to the front of the net. Brady Skjei moves to the right point while Michael Brodzinski goes behind him moving to the top of the left circle. Skjei gets to the right point, waiting for Rau & Fasching to ge to the front of the net and shoots the puck. He shoots it kind of high and it hits Rau up high and drops to the ice in front of him. Sam Warning had curled around and was there to pick up the rebound and pass it to Brodzinski at the top of the left circle. Brodzinski catches the pass and, still moving to the left, snaps off a shot that goes through the oncoming forward’s legs and just above Tibbett’s right pad and just below his catching glove and the GOPHERS Lead 6-0!!!
- That is the definition of a snipe right there and exactly where you want a shot from the point to go, low and just above an outstretched leg pad!
- That makes it a hard shot to stop because the goalie has to go down and stretch out to get to it.
- The defending forward coming out to block the shot has to get down to block the shot but Brodzinski moving to his left causes him to open up so the shot can get between his legs.
- This makes it difficult for the goalie to pick up the puck coming because he’s being screened by his own player trying to block the shot.
Minnesota Gophers 6, Mercyhurst Lakers 0
This game looked like it was never in doubt as Gopher hockey moves on to the Championship Game tomorrow night. We saw the talent of some of the new recruits and just how good Sam Warning will be this season as a Junior. Adam Wilcox was never really tested in this game. Maybe tomorrow night will be a more competitive game.
Gopher Hockey Recap from GopherSports.com – Gopher
Gopher Hockey Box Score from GopherSports.com – Minnes
Gopher Hockey Recap from HurstAthletics.com – Men’s Hockey Blanked by #5 Minnesota at Ice Breaker Tourney
In other B1G Ten College Hockey action tonight,
Wisconsin won vs Northern Michigan 5-2
Penn State won vs Army 4-1
Ohio State lost vs Miami 6-2
In other College Hockey action,
Denver won vs Merrimack 1-0
Notre Dame won vs Western Michigan 4-0
St. Cloud State won vs Bemidji State 3-2
UMD won vs Michigan Tech 2-1
North Dakota won vs Vermont 5-3
You’ve Been ClutterPUCKED!!!