Tag Archives: Mike Reilly

The 2017-18 Minnesota Wild – Expansion Clutter

Who will the Minnesota Wild protect in the 2017 Expansion Drafat?

To protect or not to protect? That is the question.

For the Minnesota Wild, the expansion draft offers a bit of a dilemma as they have to leave some good players available when the expansion draft begins for the NHL’s newest franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights, on Sunday morning.

Every NHL team has to submit a protected list of either 7 forwards, 3 defensemen, and 1 goalie or any 8 players regardless of position & 1 goaltender.* The Minnesota Wild are likely choosing the former of protecting 7 Fs, 3 D-men and 1 G. This allows them to protect more forwards but only 3 defensemen. This is where the dilemma begins.
*To see all the expansion key times, dates and rules, click 
HERE

Any player with no-movement clauses must be protected unless they agreed to waive that right by Friday at 4:00 pm CST. That means the Wild have to protect Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Jason Pominville, and Ryan Suter taking up 3 forward spots and 1 defenseman spot. Jason Pominville would be an obvious choice to leave unprotected so they could protect another forward but, as of Friday night, we had not heard yet if Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher had asked Mr. Pominville if he would waive his no-move clause. We may not find out until the lists are released to the teams on Sunday morning at 9:00 am CST.

Minnesota Wild Forwards from CapFriendly.com

Minnesota Wild Forwards from CapFriendly.com

They can only protect 4 more forwards from the above list excluding Martin Hanzal and Ryan White as they are going to be Unrestricted Free Agents as of July 1st.* There are no-brainers like Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, and Nino Niederreiter who are all just 24-25 years old. Of the rest, the players you’d think the Wild would want to protect are Erik Staal and Jason Zucker. *Players with 2 or fewer years of NHL/AHL experience are exempt so they don’t have to protect Joel Eriksson-Ek.

So they either have to expose rising star Jason Zucker or their #1 center Eric Staal. Jason Zucker had a career year last season scoring 22 goals while dishing 25 assists in 79 games. He also took a big step defensively, leading the league in plus/minus (in a tie with teammate Ryan Suter) with a +34. So, he’s now a responsible player who Bruce Boudreau can count on in all situations.

Eric Staal could easily be the comeback player of the year as he helped the Minnesota Wild solidify the center position while scoring 65 points (28 goals, 37 assists.) He regained his love for the game in the State of Hockey after winning the Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in his 2nd NHL season in 2006 then making the playoffs in only 1 of the next 10 seasons before being traded to the New York Rangers near the trade deadline in 2016.

So, do the Wild protect the up-and-coming sniper who is a threat with his speed any time he’s on the ice in Jason Zucker or the steely veteran who was a big reason why they were the 2nd-best team in the Western Conference last season? It’s a tough decision. It sounds like they are leaning toward protecting Jason Zucker.

It all may be a moot point since the Wild can only protect 3 of their defenseman and, one would think, the Vegas Golden Knights would want to build from the net out and be able to defend well right out of the gate.

Minnesota Wild Defensemen and Goalies from CapFriendly.com

Minnesota Wild Defensemen and Goalies from CapFriendly.com

They have to protect Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon is a no-brainer so they’re left with the impossible decision of which one defenseman to protect from Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella, and Matt Dumba. That’s 2 up-and-coming young defensemen in Brodin & Dumba and Marco Scandella, who was their best defenseman in the playoffs and plays with some physicality, has great skating ability to be a shutdown defenseman and has a rocket for a shot. He is 27 but that’s not old for a defenseman by any means.

Jonas Brodin is the hot name in trade rumors but the Wild have had teams call about the availability of Matt Dumba & Marco Scandella as well. If the Wild were only choosing for right now, Marco Scandella might very well be the guy but they have to look at the future and they have two players that could fit very well together as a 2nd defensive pair. Jonas Brodin is better defensively and Matt Dumba is better offensively. They are opposite-handed shots with Brodin shooting left & Dumba shooting right.

A lot of fans are frustrated with Dumba as he makes some bad decisions defensively. That being said, he’s just 22 and can certainly get better in that area and he put up 34 points (11 goals & 23 assists) with 6 goals (and 6 assists) coming on the power play. Jonas Brodin probably should have more points over the last 3 seasons, especially since he jumped from 2 goals in his rookie season to 8 in his 2nd season. Some of that can be from the Wild struggling to score goals for most of their existence and from the coaches taking him off the power play in favor of Jared Spurgeon, Scandella, and even Dumba.

The good news is no matter who they lose from their defense, they should be able to fill that spot with a current player and/or a prospect who looks ready to take the next step to a full-time role on the big club. If they lose Jonas Brodin, they have Gustav Olofsson, who patterns his game after his fellow Swede and got a chance to show what he can do for the Wild last season, impressing his coach along the way. If they lose Matt Dumba, Mike Reilly might very well be able to step in as an offensive defenseman who’s finding his defensive game after 2 seasons going back and forth between the AHL to the NHL. If they lose Marco Scandella, Christian Folin could step in as he plays physical and is a good defensive defenseman. They also have Nick Seeler, who Chuck Fletcher said was the “most improved player” in the organization last year. They still have Carson Soucy, who just turned pro after 4 years playing college hockey at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, too.

Chuck Fletcher is listening to any and all offers he’s getting for his players and had a lot of interest in recently traded F Jonathan Drouin. He was supposedly their #1 target:

Unfortunately, Fletch was handcuffed since he really couldn’t deal one of his 3 defensemen to get Drouin and then still risk losing another one of those 3 defensemen and also find a way to protect Jonathan Drouin.* Now, we wait to see if the Wild make a move to try to solve their Expansion Clutter.
*Remember when Tampa Bay was supposedly asking for Matt Dumba to get Jonathan Drouin when he wanted to be traded last season? They might have the same problem trying to figure out who to protect right now, though, not to mention how to fit Drouin in with their other current restricted free agents.

All teams have to submit their protected lists by 4:00 pm CST on Saturday afternoon. There will be a trade, waiver and signing freeze beginning at 2:00 pm CST on Saturday as well. This will leave Vegas as the only team allowed to make trades, place players on waivers, or sign players to contracts.

Starting on Sunday at 9:00 am CST, every team’s protected list will be approved and distributed to teams and the NHL Players’ Association (& supposedly made public, too.) At the same time of 9:00 am CST, an exclusive window for free agent negotiation will begin for the Knights.

As always, THANKS for reading. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ if you want to chirp us about this or anything else. We welcome it and want to hear your thoughts so….

Bring The Clutter Every Day in Every Way

Minnesota Wild Game Recap – at Blues – October 13th, 2016

Minnesota Wild Game Recap - St. Louis Blues - October 13th, 2016

Game 1 on the road vs the St. Louis Blues

As the 2016-17 season opens, the Minnesota Wild are all about the excitement of new coach Bruce Boudreau. For the most part though, this is the same team save for the additions of Erik Staal, Chris Stewart and the most recent addition of Teemu Pulkkinen off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings.

The biggest change on the ice is the first line. The only holdover from last year’s 1st line is Zach Parise. Newly acquired center Erik Staal and former linemate Charlie Coyle now join him on the top line for the Wild. They started Game 1 and in the first 30 seconds, Erik Staal made a physical play to force a turnover in the neutral zone. The puck ended up getting wrapped around to Charlie Coyle who made a nice move to get a pass to an open Marco Scandella at the middle of the blue line for a quick little slapshot producing the first “almost” of the night when he hit the crossbar with a loud PING. So close…but still just “almost.”

That would end up being the theme of the night for the Minnesota Wild, almost. They also had 3 breakaways (Zucker, Staal & Parise) and were stopped every time. Staal’s breakaway maybe should’ve given him a penalty shot, to which the official told coach Bruce Boudreau, “He had a chance.” as the reason a penalty shot wasn’t called. That “chance” wasn’t complete because of the penalty thus it should’ve been called a penalty shot.

The Goals Against

The St. Louis Blues scored the first goal and, unfortunately, the “almost” theme could be used here as well. Jason Zucker almost got the puck out of the zone but it was kept in at the blue line, creating a chance to catch the Wild scrambling to get back into a good defensive formation.

Alex Steen puts the Blues up 1-0 in the 1st period

Zac Dalpe made a good physical play to get the puck loose from Alex Steen at the right half boards but Rob Fabbri picked up that loose puck and, with speed going into the corner, he made Wild defenseman Mike Reilly go too far towards him allowing him to make a move back to front of the net. Reilly got enough of him to force the puck loose but, Dalpe failed to stay with Alex Steen and he would get to the puck for a quick shot to the upper right corner for his 1st goal of the season and a Blues 1-0 lead.

I’m not sure Devan Dubnyk should be faulted very much for this goal. Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin does a good job of taking away the pass behind the net to Paul Stastny but Stastny makes a good play to go around the net to be a threat on the backdoor. When he did that, Brodin has no choice but to cut in front of his goaltender, taking Dubnyk’s view of the puck away for a split second and not allowing him to come out towards the shooter to cut down the angle leaving more net to shoot at for Alex Steen.

Nail Yakupov gave the Blues the lead back when his slapper from just inside the blue line to Devan Dubnyk’s left went in off Duubs’ glove. Dubnyk said postgame that he didn’t see the puck come off Yakupov’s stick. Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon had the blade of his stick there to deflect the shot but that either blocked Dubnyk’s view of the puck and/or deflected off Spurgeon’s stick. Dubnyk needs to stop shots from that far out a large majority of the time.

On the Blues 3rd goal, a 3-on-2 results when the third Wild forward in on the forecheck gets too low trying to get to a loose puck and the loose puck is won by the Blues. That started the odd man rush. They may have been fine but the newest Wild player, Teemu Pulkkinen backchecked down the middle but started coasting and then reached to try to break up the cross-ice pass to Magnus Paajarvi. If he keeps skating and takes that pass away, it changes the whole play.

You should never feel comfortable with your backcheck. Don’t just get within reach of the play or the player, get to the play and/or player so you can disrupt it and help your team.

The Blues executed that 3-on-2 to perfection. Patrick Berglund drove to the net forcing Matt Dumba to try to cover him and Magnus Paajarvi. He can’t leave Berglund in front of the net all alone yet he can’t cover both of them so he’s stuck between a puck and a hard place. See what I did there?

The Goals For

Even though the Wild did not play well in the 1st period, Ryan Suter erased all of that by tying the game all by himself.
Ryan Suter ties the game at one with an unassisted goal.

Ryan Suter was tasked with defending Vladimir Tarasenko all night. On this play, Kevin Shattenkirk is behind his own net and passes to Tarasenko in the neutral zone. Tarasenko comes back into his own zone expecting to be able to pass it back to Shattenkirk but Ryan Suter disrupts the play by being on Tarasenko as soon as he gets the puck. Forcing a turnover, Ryan Suter gets a mini-breakaway and makes a great play by shooting a quick backhand shot knowing Shattenkirk is right behind him so he there wasn’t time or space to move to his forehand for the shot. The quick backhand shot was saved by Blues goalie Jake Allen but the rebound came right back to Suter for his 1st goal of the season and a tie hockey game.

Awareness is a great skill. Suter’s awareness of where Shattenkirk was on the play and a quick shot helped him score. On the other side of the play, though, Tarasenko turns to go out of his own zone heading up the ice after losing the puck, instead of stopping or turning back towards his own net. That left Ryan Suter all alone against his goaltender. He gets a minus one and some film study time for his work there.

Charlie Coyle gets the Wild within one on a great play and pass from buddy, Jason Zucker.

Charlie Coyle one-times home a sweet pass from Jason Zucker

Boudreau switches up the lines in the 3rd to try to get something going for his team. He put Zac Dalpe out centering Jason Zucker and Charlie Coyle and it paid off in getting the Wild within one with just over 7 minutes left in the game. Zucker won a battle in the neutral zone to try to get the puck deep and get in on the forecheck. His dump attempt hits Colton Parayko but Zucker keeps battling to get the puck loose then battles through a Nail Yakupov hit to keep the puck going into the left corner of the Blues zone. He takes a look as soon as he’s free from Yakupov and sees Charlie Coyle breaking to the net and hits him on the tape for Charlie Coyle’s 1st goal of the season.

You usually see it on every goal, the defending player is almost always late reacting to the offensive play. That’s because the offensive player is just trying to get open and knows where the puck is while the defending player is trying to cover the player or an area and they may not know exactly where the puck is at all times. That’s a big reason why defense is so hard. You can’t just watch the puck. If you do, you’ll watch the puck go into your net. On the other hand, you can’t just watch the player, either. You have to know where the puck is while also keeping a stick on the offensive player’s stick. Don’t just be within reach of the player because you won’t have enough time to react to get to their stick.

The Wild played their best hockey in the 3rd period and had chances to tie the game but couldn’t get it done. So, they lost their first game of the season. They need to learn from it and move on to the next game quickly.

“…we couldn’t get up to speed.”

Ryan Suter postgame interview - Minnesota Wild at St. Louis Blues - October 13th, 2016

Ryan Suter Postgame

Minus/Plus

The first loss of the season in the first game is not what the fans or the team was looking for last night. The main reason is they just seemed a step behind for most of the game. Like Ryan Suter said, they “couldn’t get up to speed” against the Blues. They looked like a team that was learning a new system and reacting to what they were seeing instead of reading the play, anticipating and reacting to their reads.

Mikael Granlund was relatively invisible out there. We didn’t really hear his name called other than when he got drilled into the stanchion by Colton Parayko.

Their power play had 5 chances and got very little out of those 10 minutes on the man advantage but…

Believe it or not, there are some positive things to take away from this game. It’s never a good thing to lose or fail but you can learn from it and get better because of it.

The Wild penalty kill did not allow a goal even if they allowed some great chances. The team got better as the game went on and played their best hockey in the 3rd period and gave themselves a chance to tie the game late. That’s all you want is a chance to get points every night. They know they will need to play better and they will play better.

They shut down Vladimir Tarasenko. Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon appeared to be the defensive pair tasked with the job of shutting down one of the premier forwards in the National Hockey League and they did it. Suter made him look silly on his goal and took him out of the play a few times.

They had a physicality to their game, too. Erik Haula getting a roughing penalty protecting his goalie in front of the net. Marco Scandella reacting to a big hit on Mikael Granlund.

They have the first game out of the way and know a little bit more of how Bruce Boudreau and the entire coaching staff goes about their business.

I expect a completely different team come tomorrow night when the Minnesota Wild hold their Home Opener at the Xcel Energy Center at 6pm on Fox Sports North.

Thanks for reading! Let us know your thoughts in the comments, on Twitter or on our Facebook Page and always….

Bring The Clutter Every Day in Every Way

Minnesota Wild Roster at the Beginning of Free Agent Frenzy

 

Cap Space for the Minnesota Wild from GeneralFanager.com

Cap Space for the Minnesota Wild from GeneralFanager.com

The Minnesota Wild’s 2014-15 season ended with a sweep from the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. A lot of people reacted saying the Wild had a long way to go to become contenders in the NHL and need to make big changes to get there.

The 2014-15 Minnesota Wild was the best in the NHL in the 2nd half of the season, a team that was 18-19-5, written off by fans, critics and all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Then on January 14th, 2014, the Wild was reborn when GM Chuck Fletcher made a little trade for a goalie named Devan Dubnyk from the Arizona Coyotes for a 2015 3rd-round draft pick.

Of course, pretty much nobody thought this would change much for the Wild. Devan Dubnyk wasn’t a big name goalie by any stretch of the imagination. He had never been a part of a winning team in his 6 seasons in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers (5 seasons, 171 games played(GP)), the Nashville Predators* (1 season, 2 GP) and the Arizona Coyotes (1 season, 19 GP).

*The 2013-14 Nashville Predators did end the seasons with a winning record but Dubnyk was only there for 50 days before being traded to the Montreal Canadiens. The day he was traded to NSH, they were 20-21-7 and they were 26-26-10 when he was traded away.

Interesting that the day Devan Dubnyk arrived with the Wild, they were not a winning team either at 1 game under .500. Then the Minnesota Wild A.D. (After Dubnyk) began. Devan Dubnyk would start 38 consecutive games, not getting a day off until after the Wild had clinched a playoff spot. The Wild would go 28-9-3 AD and make the playoffs, upset the St. Louis Blues in the 1st round but be eliminated by Chicago in the 2nd round.

So, do they really need to make big changes to their roster or should they keep the core group and tweak the roster and give this team a chance to see what they can do in a full season with Devan Dubnyk in the cage?

Could they even make big changes to the roster? They don’t have a lot of room under the salary cap so the only way they could make changes is via trade. That would be difficult as well with a lot of players having No Move or No Trade clauses and a lot of money left on their contracts.

Yes, there’s some young guys that could be traded like a Jared Spurgeon and maybe some prospects but that probably wouldn’t be enough to make “big” changes. I’m sure Chuck Fletcher isn’t interested in going that route anyways. He’s been pretty adamant about keeping his young prospects in the fold.

The Minnesota Wild have just under $8 million to spend on free agents according to GeneralFanager.com and that’s without the eventual signings of Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula and Christian Folin. The Brown Fox always leaves some under the cap for injuries and trades too so don’t get too excited about the 1st day of the Frenzy.

Here’s a look at the Minnesota Wild’s Depth Chart, who might battle for spots and who might be options in free agency.

Depth Chart for 2015-16
Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
Zach Parise – Mikael Granlund – Jason Pominville
Jason Zucker – Mikko Koivu – Thomas Vanek
Nino Niederreiter – Charlie Coyle – Justin Fontaine
Jordan Schroeder? – Erik Haula – Brent Sutter?

In the battle: Tyler Graovac, Michael Keranen, Brett Bulmer, Raphael Bussieres, Grayson Downing, Jared Knight, Kurtis Gabriel, Zack Mitchell, Brady Brassart, Pavel Jenys, Christoph Bertschy

Free Agency Options: Ryan Carter, Kyle Brodziak, Chris Stewart, Curtis Glencross, Devin Setoguchi, Blair Jones, Eric Fehr

Defense
Ryan Suter – Jonas Brodin
Marco Scandella – Jared Spurgeon
Christian Folin? – Matt Dumba

In the battle: Mike Reilly, Jon Blum, Gustav Olofsson, Guillaume Gelinas, Dylan Labbe, Zach Palmquist, Alex Gudbranson, Hunter Warner

Free Agent Options: Jordan Leopold, Nate Prosser, Tim Gleason, Matt Irwin…

Goalie
Dubnyk
Kuemper
Backstrom

In the battle: Brady Hoffman, Stephen Michalek

THANKS for reading some Clutter today! Let us know your thoughts on the Minnesota Wild, the current roster, what they can or will do in free agency and anything else going on in hockey!

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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!

Let us know what you think by commenting below or on Facebook, twitter and/or google+ and remember…

Bring The Clutter EVERY DAY In EVERY WAY!

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
Goalie
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
Goalie
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 MSUMavericks.com 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,
and
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
and
St. Cloud State won vs Alabama-Huntsville 10-0

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