Gophers' Condon expects high-scoring series at St. Cloud State
- Blog Post by: Roman Augustoviz
- February 5, 2013 - 10:50 AM
The Gophers, who were idle last weekend, had a team bowling event on Friday.
"We found out that [junior forward Nick] Bjugstad is good at bowling and I am still terrible," Gophers junior forward Nate Condon said on Monday on the weekly Don Lucia Show. He was filling in for the head coach.
The team had practice on Friday, but not on Saturday when the "Skate with the Gophers" event was held at Mariucci. The players signed autographs and skated with fans at the annual get-together.
Asked about the Gophers series at St. Cloud State this weekend, Condon said, "They have two freshmen with over 10 goals, which is amazing. And then they have [senior cocaptain Drew] LeBlanc back, who didn't play last year. He was hurt. So there are a lot of new faces for us to play against."
LeBlanc leads the nation with 30 assists. And he will be one player the Gophers have to watch closely.
Condon said you can't give a player like LeBlanc time and space. "If you give him any time, he is going to find the open guy," Condon said. "Probably one of those freshmen that have 13 goals, or whatever it is. So just get on him and make sure he can't make those finesse plays he wants to."
The Huskies and Gophers are second and third in goals per game in WCHA games at 3.40 and 3.39, respectively.
Condon said that the Gophers can match the Huskies' scoring. "There are a lot of guys are on our team that can score any night and that is something we share with St. Cloud," said Condon, who has at least one point in 10 of the Gophers' past 12 games.
He said it could be a high-scoring series.
And after the WCHA season, Condon said he thinks the Gophers can make it back to the Frozen Four by winning a regional. "Tampa was a great time last year," he said. "I am not complaining about that."
The Gophers lost in the Frozen Four semifinals to eventual NCAA champion Boston College in Florida last March.
The Frozen Four is in Pittsburgh this April.
Because of injuries and line shakeups, Condon has played on each of the top three lines and at every forward position. Lately, Condon has been the right wing on Bjugstad's line. Kyle Rau is the left wing.
"It's really a fast line ... and pretty creative, too," he said.
He is also one of the team's top penalty killers. "The main role there is to make sure defenseman don't get any open shots." Condon said. "They want us out there 20-30 seconds [a shift], so we know we can go hard."
Condon, of Wausau, Wis., also goes hard in the classroom. He is studying finance and accounting in the Carlson School of Management at the U.
The Gophers are rated No. 1 again in the national polls this week. One reason is their good record on the road so far, 6-2-2. "We play a lot tougher on the road," Condon said. "When you get behind an opponent in that team's building, it's hard to come back."
So the Gophers try not to get behind, of course. And, for the most part, that strategy seems to be working.
© 2013 Star Tribune