Gophers coach Don Lucia said junior center Erik Haula probably would have been one of the team's captains sooner than this past weekend if he had not made a mistake this summer.
Lucia did not elaborate, but Haula's mistake was very public. He was cited for disorderly conduct after Stillwater police saw him urinating outside a bar at 2:30 a.m. on July 22. The police report said he was "extremely intoxicated."
At the time, a U spokesperson said Gophers coach Don Lucia was aware of the incident and would handle it as an internal matter.
On Monday, Lucia said that Haula has done an A-plus job in everything he has done this season on and off the ice, including schoolwork.
And so, in Vermont, Haula got an 'A' for his jersey, meaning he is one of the assistant captains.
"He was pretty excited about it," Lucia said.
Haula leads the Gophers in assists with 10 and points with 11. His six goals are one fewer than Nick Bjugstad has.
He also is second in shots on goal with 49 -- three fewer than Bjugey -- and tied for the lead in plus/minus at plus-8. He has taken only two minor penalties.
Lucia expects a great series with Omaha this weekend. The two teams have met four times as WCHA members. Two seasons ago, in the opening WCHA series of the season, the Mavericks swept the Gophers at Mariucci. Embarrassed them, really.
Last season in late February, the Gophers won two 3-2 games in Omaha. The first one went into overtime. "That was the weekend that probably put the MacNaughton Cup in our hands," Lucia said.
So the visiting team has won four in a row in conference play.
"They will want to play up-tempo," Lucia said, adding he is anxious to see how freshman goalie Adam Wilcox will do facing more shots that he has so far.
"They will probably get 30 shots on us," Lucia said.
Mavericks defensemen had 10 of the team's 45 goals. "We will have to defend five players," Lucia said.
"Our defensive corps has done a nice job in front of [Wilcox]," Lucia said. "And I am impressed with the way he has stayed in the game mentally. Then when he is called upon, he is able to make the save."
But he said the Mavericks and Colorado College, the team the Gophers play in two weeks on the road, both can score a lot of goals. "The quality of the opposition steps up," he said. "At times we will get exposed."
But after Colorado College, the Gophers will take a break for finals and the holidays.
"We have not proven to me that we are a great offensive team," Lucia said. "We have a few guys who can play better. I think there is another step for our group to take."