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Around the WCHA: Lucia says his best players need to play their best

  • Blog Post by: Roman Augustoviz
  • November 6, 2012 - 12:01 AM

Gophers coach Don Lucia said a few of his veterans have been struggling to find their game this season.

He also said, on his weekly radio show, that he may go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen this weekend like the Gophers did in the game the one game they won in Michigan Tech this season.

In other games, they have played a defenseman at a wing.

"We can be better, we need to be better if we are going to be the type of team we want to be," he said.

This past weekend, the Gophers split with Minnesota State Mankato, rallying to win the first game 3-2 at Mariucci, losing the second 5-3 in Mankato.

"We lost the game [Saturday] in the first 10, 15 minutes of the game." Lucia said. "We got on [the players] pretty good after the first period."

He said the Mavericks were more hungrym better coached and more deserving to win that night.

Lucia said the Gophers best players need to start playing their best every night. He was generally pleased with freshman goalie Adam Wilcox both nights, although he said that Wilcox probably could have tracked the Mavericks' first goal on Saturday better.

The Gophers went over tapes from the MSU Mankato series on Monday and it wasn't pretty at times. "I told the guys after practice, if they don't have thick skin,they better put some extra thick skin for our video session," Lucia said.

* Defenseman Ben Marshall, who played forward against the Mavericks, will be back at the blue line against Alaska Anchorage this weekend.

* Sophomore left wing Sam Warning, who plays on the second line, is 50-50 for this weekend. He has an undisclosed injury. He skated through half of Monday's practice.

SEAWOLVES SWITCH

Lucia said he watched the Seawolves' 3-3 tie with North Dakota on Saturday two weekends ago and noticed they have changed their style. "I saw them attacking and pressuring the puck."

Their tempo was higher, they were not always in a defensive 1-1-3.

"It was a deserving tie," Lucia said. "We all know, you go in and play in Grand Forks, you can play anywhere."

* The Gophers will leave Minneapolis at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. It's a six-hour flight to Anchorage. They will arrive there at 8:30 p.m. (11:30 p.m. Minneapolis time). ... They have a 6 a.m. return flight Sunday morning to Minneapolis.

* The Seawolves have scored only one power-play goal, but have four short-handed goals.

WCHA TALK

The WCHA puts out a news release which covers all 12 teams. Here are a few highlights from around the league:

In Anchorage: The Gophers have won the last four games against the Seawolves. Before that UAA had won three in a row.

In Bemidji: The Beavers power play is 1-for-17 or 5.9 percent. It did not score on its first 11 chances. ... The penalty kill, in contrast, is good. Two weekends ago, the last time BSU played, it held Nebrasak Omaha 0-for-10 on the power play. ... Goalie Andrew Walsh has had 39- and 38-save games this season.

In Colorado Springs: The Tigers have won six consecutive games against Wisconsin after sweeping the Badgers last week. CC's record against UW in the last 21 games is 16-4-1. ... CC plays nine of its next 10 games at home. Could make a run at first place in the WCHA in that stretch.

In Denver: Pioneers are third in the nation in offense, averaging 4.33 goals per game, and fifth in defense, giving up 1.67.

In Houghton: Michigan Tech is off this weekend and plays only five games in November. ... The top line of Blake Pietila, Tanner Kero and Milos Gordic has nine of team's 24 goals and 17 of team's 41 points.

In Minneapolis: Gophers are 3-3-0 in their last six meetings with Minnesota State Mankato after split last weekend. Home team has won every time in those six games. ... U is 4-0-0 at home this season, 1-2-0 on road. ... The Gophers play at Alaska Anchorage this weekend. They were 4-0-0 against the Seawolves last seaosn, winning 5-0 and 3-1 in Anchorage in late October and 2-1, 7-3 at Mariucci in WCHA playoffs in early March.

In Duluth: Freshman goalie Matt McNeely leads all rookies with a 1.64 goals-against average. He has not given up more than two goals in three starts.

In Mankato: Denver comes to the Key City. The Pioneers are 12-0-2 in their last 14 games with the Mavericks. The last MSU win was in the 2007-08 season.

In Omaha: Mavericks were in a 0-for-18 dry spell on the power play until Ryan Walters scored their third power play goal last Saturday in a sweep at Michigan Tech. ... UMD visits this weekend. ... The UNO junior class leads all other junior  classes in goals with 16 and in points with 41. ... The Mavericks also are giving up a national-low of 21.6 shots per game.

In Grand Forks: UND's 11-game unbeaten streak (9-0-2) at the Ralph ended when Boston University won 4-2 there last Saturday with three late goals. ... Senior forward Knight has scored more points against St. Cloud State than any WCHA player against any oppoent. Knight has seven goals and nine assists for 16 points against the Huskies, the team they play on the road this weekend. Knight had one assist last Saturday to reach 100 career points.

Senior wing Danny Kristo of Eden Prairie has 115 career points, more than any other current WCHA player. He needs one more point to tie the Wild's Zach Parise for 60 on UND's scoring list. Rylan Schwartz of CC is second with 111 and Drew LeBlanc of the Huskies htig with 108.

In St. Cloud: Junior forward Nic Dowd has six goals, including three game-winners which leads the nation. UND visits the Granite City this weekend. North Dakota beat the Huskies 4-1 in the Final Five last season.

In Madison: The Badgers have their second bye week of the season before playing the Gophers at Mariucci. They have six players from Minnesota on their roster and assistant coach Bill Butters is an ex-Gopher and a former assistant Gophers coach.

Last word, a tweet from Gophers winger Nate Condon:

 

 

 

 

 

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