Nick Bjugstad is a 6-5, 211-pound sophomore center for the Gophers. He accelerated his high school education at Blaine to graduate in three years and join the Gophers early.
His freshman season he started slow, but finished with eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points in 29 games. This season, in just 10 games, he already has eight goals and seven assists for 15 points.
Just as hot is his left wing, Kyle Rau. The 5-8, 172-pound freshman from Eden Prairie has the identical numbers -- eight goals, including four game-winners, and seven assists for 15 points.
Both are on a pace to score 29 goals, assuming they play in all of the Gophers' 34 regular-season games and then play the minimum number of playoffs games, two. Of course, they should go much deeper.
So when was the last time the Gophers had two 30-goal scorers?
That would be 1986-87 when the Gophers actually had three: Corey Millen had 36 goals, Steve McSwain 31 and Dave Snuggerud 30. Coach Doug Woog's team lost to Michigan State 5-3 in the Frozen Four semifinals.It had a 34-12-1 record.
Here is the short list of 30-goal scorers since then:
Ken Gernander, 1989-90, 32
Trent Klatt, 1991-92, 30
Brian Bonin, 1994-95, 32
Bonin, 1995-96, 34
Jeff Taffe, 2001-02, 34
Thomas Vanek, 2002-03, 31
Ryan Potulny, 2005-06, 38
In the past two seasons, the highest Gophers goal-scorer was Mike Hoeffel with 13 both seasons. The last 20-goal scorer was Ryan Stoa with 24 in 2008-09. The last season the Gopher had two 20-goal scorers was 2004-05 when Danny Irmen and Ryan Potulny each had 24.
The curious twist about Bjugstad and Rau is both came to the 'U" more or less directly out of high school. Rau played a few games at Sioux Falls before his senior season at Eden Prairie and then rejoined that USHL team for the playoffs after the Eagles won the Class 2A state title.
Remember the controversy over whether Rau was being pressured to pass up his senior year at EP to play juniors? At one time, he said he was going to do that, but quickly changed his mind.
The Gophers also have a third player scoring a lot. Sophomore Erik Haula has seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points, still tops in the nation despite a three-game pointless streak.