Erik Haula had another good weekend -- until the end.

The junior second-line center from Finland was named the No. 1 star of the game on Saturday when the Gophers beat Air Force 4-0. He had a goal and an assists and seven shots on net.

(The No. 2 and 3 stars were two freshmen teammates Ryan Reilly, a little used forward, and Adam Wilxox, the workhorse goalie.)

In Sunday's game, the Gophers thrashed Boston College 8-1 and Haula had assists on the first two goals, his 16th and 17th of the season.

He also had six shots on net to tie for the team lead with Kyle Rau and Zach Budish.

Colleague Michael Russo talks about Haula's injury here. He believes Haula was slashed across the hands on Rau's third-period goal at 6 minutes, 22 seconds. No penalty was called on the play.

If Haula is out for a long period of time, that will be a major blow.

He is leading the team in points with 26, seven more than Nick Bjugstad and Kyle Rau, tied for second at 19.

He has nine goals, one fewer than Bjugstad. He has 17 assists, the most  on the team.

And he keeps goalie's busy. He has 78 shots on net -- 10 more than the next Gopher, which is Bjugstad.

He is a plus-7, tied for fifth on the team, but only two off the team lead.

Haula also had a 14-game streak with at least one point.

The Gophers have been relatively injury-free. The only players who have missed much time are backup goalie Mike Shibrowski, and much of that time the U was on break for finals, and forward Sam Warning. Both had undisclosed injuries.

Haula gives the Gophers a bit of an edge. I remember interviewing him last April, before the Frozen Four, and he seemed upset that nobody was giving the Gophers much of a chance against Boston College.

BC, of course, won 6-1 but Haula came out strong in the rematch on Sunday.


The USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll came out today and the Gophers are also No. 1 in it -- as they were in the poll released Monday.

The Gophers received 25 of a possible 34 first-place votes and had 501 points. They moved up from No. 4 to No. 1 after beating Air Force 4-0 and previously No. 1 Boston College 8-1 in the Mariucci Classic.

Their next opponent, Notre Dame, is No. 2. The Irish moved up from No. 3. The Irish received the other nine first-place votes and had 458 points.

The Gophers and Notre Dame play in a rare Tuesday night game next week. Their records are almost identical. The Gophers are 13-3-3, the Irish 14-4-0.

After beating BC, the Gophers are 7-0-0 against nonconference opponents and have only one nonconference game left: Notre Dame.