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U men’s puck: Good-bye, moving to another blog site

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

This posting is the last one on this site. Goal Gophers will be at a new site:  http://www.startribune.com/blogs/

I will keep writing about Gophers men’s hockey primarily and the WCHA. Hope you follow me there and also on twitter where I can be found at twitter.com/eyeonupuk

U men’s puck: Huskies’ coach gets six-year contract

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Bob Motzko, the former Gophers hockey assistant, has signed a six-year contract to keep coaching St. Cloud State through the 2014-15 season.

He just finished his fourth season as the Huskies head coach. He had a record of 81-58-19. He was the WCHA Coach of the Year iun 2006 and 2007 and his teams have advanced to three WCHA Final Fives and two NCAA tournaments in 2007 and ’08.

I like Motzko for two reasons: he provides good quotes and he does not mind when a repoter calls him on his cell phone.

LUCIA CONTRACT UPDATE

So how many years does Don Lucia have on his contract at the U? He signed a three-year contract extension in late November of 2005, running through 2011-12.

“I’d like to sign one more contract after this one runs out,” Lucia said at the time. It will top out at just over $250,000 per year.

WCHA hockey blogs:

Colorado College: Eye of the TigerMinnesota State Mankato: Puckato

North Dakota: News, notes and comments

St. Cloud State: Pucks and bats

Wisconsin: Badger Beat 

MILESTONE

This is my 500th post on Gophers hockey. 

WCHA: Denver loaded for 2009-10

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

Denver will probably be the preseason favorite in the WCHA next season. Mike Chambers, who covers the Pioneers for the Denver Post, said that the 2009-10 team might be coach George Gwozdecky’s best ever. Which is saying a lot since GG won two NCAA titles this decade.

Here is the WCHA’s season-ending report on DU:

Denver concluded its 2008-09 season with a 4-2 loss against Miami University at the NCAA West Regional in Minneapolis, Minn. … DU’s season was highlighted by clinching home ice for the WCHA playoffs and advancing to the WCHA Final Five and NCAA Tournament.

(DU finished second to North Dakota in the regular-season standings and lost to Minnnesota Duluth in the championship game of the Final Five.)

The Pioneers landed a WCHA-record 18 members on the All-WCHA academic team and senior captain J.P. Testwuide (Vail, Colo.) was named WCHA Student-Athlete of the Year.

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College puck: BSU finishes No. 9

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Bemidji State (20-16-1) finished No. 9 in the final USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine men’s college poll. That’s the Beavers’ highest finish ever in the 14-year history of the poll.

 BSU lost to Miami (Ohio) 4-1 in the Frozen Four semifinals.

NCAA champion Boston University was the unanimous No. 1 pick. BU scored two goals in the last minute and then beat Ohio 4-3 in overtime.

Miami was No. 2 in the final rankings, Vermont, the other team in the Frozen Four was No. 3.

Minnesota Duluth was No. 8, North Dakota No. 13 in the final ratings.

MAVS SIGN TWO

Minnesota State Mankato signed two more players with good size. One of them is forward Eriah Hayes, a 6-3, 210-pound frorward for Waterloo of the USHL. He is from LaCrescent, Minn. He had 27 goals and 18 assists for 45 pionts in 59 game for Waterloo.

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Beaver Fever: 22 voices from Bemidji on Cinderella team

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

What do you know about Bemidji? It’s the first city on the Mississippi. … It’s the U.S. capital of curling.

But this weekend, Bemidji is the home of the Bemidji State Beavers, one of the teams in the Frozen Four. And everybody in town is talking hockey, discussing the team’s chances for an NCAA title, reflecting on the new arena, etc. Want to listen in?

Here are 22 assorted quotes from fans, players, the head coach, and other interested parties collected recently in Bemidji-land:   

FANS SPEAK

Austin Wallestad: talking to a group of BSU players sitting at a table at Slim’s Bar and Grill: “We are proud of you guys whatever happens.” 

Wallestad lives in Madera, CA, but he is a member of the BSU alumni board and frequently travels to Bemidji. Both his wife and a daughter are students at BSU. He played in the first hockey game in the Glas — the Beavers’ home for the past 42 years — in 1967.

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WCHA: DU’s Bozak seventh to leave early

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Last Thursday and Friday I was out of the cities — in Bemidji — so I missed the latest early departure from the WCHA. It was sophomore forward Tyler Bozak of Denver. He signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He would have been one of the conference’s best players next season.

He missed about half this season with a knee injury. But he was a point/game player who was especially tough on the Gophers.

Even without Bozak, Denver should be tough next season. Mike Chambers, who covers the Pioneers for the Denver Post, predicts DU will be the WCHA favorite and be rated among the top five in the nation. If nobody else leaves, the Pioneers will have a strong senior class of six players.

Here is the list of early WCHA departures so far:

Player                 College              Pos.   Yr    NHL team

Richard Bachman  Colorado Col.    G       so.   Dallas Stars 

Tyler Bozak            Denver              F       so.   Tor. M’ Leafs  

Paul Crowder  Alaska Anchorage   F        jr.   NY  Rangers

Trevor Bruess Minn. State              F       jr.   Wash. Caps

Brian Connelly, CC                            D      jr.    Chi. B’hawks

Jamie McBain, Wis.                          D      jr.     Carolina

Ryan Stoa, Gophers                          F     jr.     Colorado Avs

USA Hockey: Six Minnesotans invited to goalie camp

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Four boys and two women from Minnesota have been invited to the Warren Strehlow national team goaltending camp from May 28-31 in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The invitations went out to the top goalies eligibile for international competition in select age groups.

The boys invited were Anders Franke of Elk River High School, Brock Kautz of Rochester Bantam A, Jim Kruger of Minnetonka High School, and Matt McNeely of St. Thomas Academy.

Women receiving invites were Megan Van Beusekom of the U.S. select team based in Blaine, and freshman Alyssa Grogan of the Gophers. 

U-18 world hockey: At an arena near you

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

The International Ice Hockey Federation’s under-18 men’s world championships will be held in Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn., from April 9-19, but Twin Citians can get a glimpse at the top young players from 10 countries this week.

Ten teams will be practicing and scrimmaging at the Super Rink in Blaine and Ridder Arena at the U of M. For scrimmages, tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for youth.

Team USA is made almost exclusively of players from the under-18 national development team in Ann Arbor, Mich. (One defenseman was added.)

The only Minnesotan on the roster is forward Nick Mattson of Chanhassan. He has committed to North Dakota.  

The schedule: 

2009 IIHF World Under-18 Championship Pre-Tournament Camp Practice Schedule

Date

Team

Location

Time

Thu., April 2 Norway Ridder Arena

8:30 a.m.

  Czech Republic Ridder Arena

10:15 a.m.

  Sweden Ridder Arena

12:15 p.m.

  Switzerland Schwan Super Rink 5

1:00 p.m.

  Slovakia Schwan Super Rink 7

1:30 p.m.

  Finland Ridder Arena

2:00 p.m.

  Czech Republic Ridder Arena

5:15 p.m.

  Canada Ridder Arena

7:30 p.m.

Fri., April 3 Norway Ridder Arena

8:30 a.m.

  Switzerland Schwan Super Rink 5

9:30 a.m.

  Slovakia Schwan Super Rink 7

9:45 a.m.

  Czech Republic Ridder Arena

10:15 a.m.

  Sweden Ridder Arena

12:15 p.m.

  Finland Ridder Arena

2:15 p.m.

  USA Ridder Arena

4:00 p.m.

  Canada Ridder Arena

5:45 p.m.

  Switzerland Schwan Super Rink 7

5:45 p.m.

  Germany Schwan Super Rink 5

6:30 p.m.

  Russia Schwan Super Rink 7

7:00 p.m.

  Czech Republic Ridder Arena

7:30 p.m.

Sat., April 4 Norway Ridder Arena

9:00 a.m.

  Germany Schwan Super Rink 5

9:30 a.m.

  Sweden Ridder Arena

10:00 a.m.

  Switzerland Schwan Super Rink 7

10:00 a.m.

  Slovakia Schwan Super Rink 5

10:30 a.m.

  USA Ridder Arena

11:00 a.m.

  Finland Ridder Arena

12:00 p.m.

  Russia Schwan Super Rink 7

12:00 p.m.

  Canada Ridder Arena

1:45 p.m.

  Czech Republic Ridder Arena

3:30 p.m.

Sun., April 5 Finland Ridder Arena

8:00 a.m.

  Canada Ridder Arena

8:45 a.m.

  Switzerland Schwan Super Rink 5

9:00 a.m.

  Czech Republic Ridder Arena

9:30 a.m.

  Slovakia Schwan Super Rink 5

10:00 a.m.

  Norway Ridder Arena

10:15 a.m.

  USA Ridder Arena

11:00 a.m.

  Russia Schwan Super Rink 7

11:00 a.m.

  Germany Schwan Super Rink 8

11:30 a.m.

  Sweden Ridder Arena

12:30 p.m.

Mon., April 6 Sweden Ridder Arena

8:00 a.m.

  USA Ridder Arena

8:45 a.m.

  Russia Schwan Super Rink 5

9:00 a.m.

  Canada Ridder Arena

9:30 a.m.

  Switzerland Schwan Super Rink 5

10:00 a.m.

  Germany Schwan Super Rink 7

10:00 a.m.

  Finland Ridder Arena

10:45 a.m.

  Slovakia Schwan Super Rink 7

11:30 a.m.

  Czech Republic Ridder Arena

12:15 p.m.

  Norway Ridder Arena

2:00 p.m.

  Germany Schwan Super Rink 7

4:00 p.m.

Tue., April 7 Finland Ridder Arena

8:30 a.m.

  Czech Republic Ridder Arena

9:15 a.m.

  Slovakia Schwan Super Rink 7

9:15 a.m.

  Germany Schwan Super Rink 5

9:30 a.m.

  Canada Ridder Arena

10:00 a.m.

  Russia Schwan Super Rink 7

10:00 a.m.

  Switzerland Schwan Super Rink 5

11:00 a.m.

2009 IIHF World Under-18 Championship Pre-Tournament Camp Game Schedule
Blaine & Minneapolis, Minn. – Schwan Super Rink & Ridder Arena

Date

Match-up

Location

Time

Sat., April 4 Sweden vs. Norway Ridder Arena

7:00 p.m.

  Germany vs. USA Schwan Super Rink 5

8:00 p.m.

Sun., April 5 Canada vs. Finland Ridder Arena

3:30 p.m.

  Norway vs. Czech Republic Ridder Arena

7:00 p.m.

  Slovakia vs. Switzerland Schwan Super Rink 5

7:00 p.m.

Mon., April 6 Switzerland vs. Russia Schwan Super Rink 5

7:00 p.m.

  USA vs. Sweden Ridder Arena

7:30 p.m.

Tue., April 7 Czech Republic vs. Finland Ridder Arena

3:30 p.m.

  Slovakia vs. Canada Ridder Arena

7:00 p.m.

NCAA tourney: Beavers talk of college hockey

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

ESPN, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post were among the big-time media outlets which made calls to Bemidji State early this week, trying to learn more about the Beavers.

The Wall Street Journal ran a story rating the major upsets in college sports. Right now WSJ has Bemidji State’s regional triumph at No. 3. Of course, it can climb if the Beavers do well at the Frozen Four.

Ahead of the Beavers is the Fresno State baseball team at No. 1. The Bulldogs were not among the top 48 teams when in June 2008 it won the College World Series.

No. 2 is Appalachian State, which beat Michigan 34-32 in football in 2007. 

Brad Folkestad, the BSU director of athletic communications, has been busy.

“It was great,” Folkestad said when asked about the Midwest Regional in Grand Rapids, Mich. “The fun part was, people latched on to Bemidji State. Once they saw the way the Beavers played, the fan base grew.

“By the end of the first day, the apparel store was all out of Bemidji State stuff. The next day there was a lot of green and white.”

The airport scene when the team returned home was also memorable. The Beavers landed early in the morning.

“When we got here, we pulled up and there was a bunch of people,” Folkestad said. “All we saw were silouettes. And then when we got off, there were flash bulbs. When we opened the door, people were screaming and whistling. Once we got in, people were banging on the glass, holding up signs. The players were mobbed, there was a couple hundred people there.”

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U women’s hockey: Ridders deserve award

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

I was at the first game the Gophers played in Ridder Arena on Oct. 19, 2002. I remember there was a big crowd — 3,239 — and everybody got a maroon cushion to sit on.

My wife, daughter and I took five cushions home. Not sure how we got the extra two and I kept them until a garage sale last summer. But I still have the program from that historic game.

That’s why it was nice to learn that the Ridders received a major award recently. They helped bring women’s hockey to the U and build the women’s rink.

It’s an ideal size for women’s hockey, but still is pretty empty a lot of games.

Maybe this young women’s hockey team can get more fans interested if it makes a deep run in the playoffs. The freshman class has some emerging stars such as Monique and Jocelyn Lamoureux at forward and Alyssa Grogan in the nets.

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