Saturday, October 21, 2017

Pregame Blog: Minnesota-North Dakota Line Combinations, Game Time, TV Schedule & More

Ralph Engelstad Arena (Photo: Nathan Wells)

#8 Minnesota (3-2-0, 1-1-0-0 Big Ten) at #4 North Dakota (3-1-1, 0-0-0-0 NCHC)

Date: October 21, 2017
Time: 7:00 pm CT
Place: Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, ND
TV: Midco SN where available (not available in Twin Cities)
Stream: NCHC.TV ($$$)
Radio: 1130 KTLK-AM (Wally Shaver and Frank Mazzocco)
Nate is covering for tonight: Zone Coverage and The Athletic Minnesota

Pregame reading: "On the long road to the NHL, Casey Mittelstadt stands out" by Eric Vegoe and "Chilling tales from old rink lore add color to Minnesota-North Dakota" by Jess Myers, both over at The Athletic (subscription required) 

Friday's game story: Schierhorn stops 34 in 2-1 Gophers win

The decision Friday to play Tyler Sheehy came from Tyler Sheehy.

Minnesota's captain returned to the Gopher lineup after missing both games against Penn State. The Gophers had an extra skater in Sam Rossini skate warmups, but Sheehy felt he could play and did.

"(Sheehy) skated Wednesday and felt good. Then he skated Thursday and still felt really good after practice," said head coach Don Lucia after Friday's 2-1 win. "At that point we felt - he made the call - but he said he felt really good."

Sheehy played on a line with Rem Pitlick and Casey Mittelstadt, helping start Minnesota's opening goal. He also took 10 faceoffs Friday night in an attempt to give the Gophers a righthanded draw. (All four of Minnesota centers shoot left.) Lucia thought he did a good job.

In other injury news, Scott Reedy missed his second consecutive game Friday. He did make the trip to Grand Forks after practicing Wednesday, however, Reedy will not play Saturday either.

Facebook Live: 10/20/17 from Ralph Engelstad Arena

I quickly jumped on Facebook Friday night following Minnesota's 2-1 win over North Dakota to discuss the victory and three reasons behind it. Unfortunately due to the late nature of the game (it was nearly midnight), I didn't answer any questions.

You can like/follow my work on Facebook here at the link. I'm also on Twitter @gopherstate.

Game Story: Schierhorn saves 34 in 2-1 Gophers win over North Dakota (Zone Coverage)

GRAND FORKS, ND– It was a win nearly six years in the making. For junior goaltender Eric Schierhorn, it was more specific. Friday’s performance came from the culmination of a whole summer’s work.

Playing at Ralph Engelstad Arena for the first time since January 2012, visiting Minnesota skated off the ice with a 2-1 victory over North Dakota in the 294th game played between the two teams throughout their long history.

Schierhorn, who shut out the Fighting Hawks the last time the two teams in Minneapolis, finished with 34 saves on 35 shots. His teammates helped, blocking 29 UND shots, taking bumps and bruises, and keeping an explosive offense off the scoresheet until the third period.

Minnesota’s penalty kill finished the night 5 for 6 a week after giving up four goals in two games against Penn State.

“It’s unbelievable. It energizes me, energizes the team, brings us closer,” said Schierhorn. “The sellout you saw from all of our guys tonight was unbelievable and that’s the reason we won.”

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

That Gopher Hockey Puckast: Episodes 2 & 3

Because there was so much to discuss this week we did something different: We split everything into two podcasts.

Twice as much content. Twice as much college hockey in your ears!

As a reminder, if you subscribed to our old podcast, that feed will no longer work. You need to subscribe to the 'Cast In Gold feed wherever you listen to podcasts. Here it is on iTunes.

And leave us a review and five stars while you're at it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

BLOG: Tyler Sheehy, Scott Reedy both "doubtful" for North Dakota

Minnesota likely will be without junior captain Tyler Sheehy and freshman forward Scott Reedy this weekend against North Dakota.

Both players were question marks at the beginning of the week. While they each skated in practice Wednesday, head coach Don Lucia was cautious about their chances to make the road trip.

"I doubt that they'll be playing this weekend. We're going to take a long-term approach," he said Wednesday. "Unless we feel really comfortable, we're preparing like they won't play."

Sheehy missed both games against Penn State and was listed as "week to week." Reedy left the end of Friday's game before not playing in Sunday's 6-3 win.

The injuries, mixed with Leon Bristedt being suspended - he'll be back for the series against the Fighting Hawks - allowed Minnesota to juggle lines. Lucia singled out his normal fourth line of Jack Ramsey, Ryan Norman and Darian Romanko as guys he believed stepped up and can play in elevated roles.

"The other guys did a good job. Our lineup on Sunday without three important players, and the other guys stepped up like you hope. That's what the team game is all about, that you're going to have a mix," he said. "You can't use it as an excuse. I don't know who they are yet, but we'll have 18 guys who are ready to go.

"In the long run it'll make us a better team."

Nick Williams commits to Minnesota

The Gophers picked up its second verbal commitment in a week Tuesday (October 17, 2017) when Edina, MN native Nick Williams announced his intentions to play at Minnesota via Twitter.

Williams is a 2002-born defenseman who most recently played for the Edina 14U AA Bantams. He continues an Edina D pipeline to the Gophers. Other players to come from the program or slated to down the line include Ryan Zuhlsdorf, Tyler Nanne, Clayton Phillips, Jake Boltmann and Ben Brinkman.

He joins Rosemount's Jake Ratzlaff as 2002-born verbal commitments the Gophers have received.

Recent Gopher hockey verbal commitments:
-Rhett Pitlick - Chaska (men's)
-Jake Braccini - Buffalo (men's)
-Chaz and Cruz Lucius (men's)
-Aaron Huglen - Roseau (men's)
-Audrey Wethington - Blake (women's)
-Tella Jungels - Edina (women's)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Gopher hockey has another rollercoaster weekend against Penn State (The Athletic)

MINNEAPOLIS — Don Lucia walked into his postgame press conference Friday night and opened by saying his Minnesota team is not yet a finished product. The same holds true after Sunday’s game against Penn State, although the Gophers could take solace in their best 60-minute performance of the young season coming two days after their worst.

Two weekends into 2017-18 has seen Minnesota twice struggle Friday night before bouncing back in the weekend’s second game to earn a victory.

This has created plenty of teaching moments for Lucia in the early going. Repeatedly in practices Monday through Thursday, players have been told to focus on staying disciplined and starting off the first 10 minutes strongly.

Neither happened Friday night.

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