Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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Budish on the state of Gophers hockey: "Still not clicking" totally

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers, Men's hockey Updated: December 18, 2012 - 1:54 AM

Gophers captain Zach Budish subbed for his coach on the Don Lucia weekly radio show on Monday.

He had his last final on Saturday, so he wasn't busy studying like some of his teammates were. Finals at the U run until Wednesday for some students.

Budish said he was planning on going home to Edina for the rest of the week. The team has been off since last Thursday and won't be back to practice until Christmas night.

Budish is a redshirt junior, in his fourth year of classes at the U. He only has one class in the spring to complete before completing his undergraduate degree in business and marketing education.

"A lot of guys take summer classes," he said. "I took a couple of extra classes when I was hurt."

That was two years ago, when he took a nasty spill on his moped and needed knee surgery.

His plans after college? "I hope to play hockey for few more years," said Budish, who was drafted by Nashville in the second round in 2009. My guess is the 6-3, 214-pound Budish will sign with the Predators after this season and not come back for a fifth year as a redshirt senior. He turns 21 in May.

Budish has five goals and eight assists for 13 points, which ties him for fourth on the team. He has two power-play goals and one game-winner. But he is only a plus-2 after being a plus-20 last season.

He is on about the same scoring pace as he was last season when he had 12 goals and 23 assists for 35 points in 43 games.


Budish said the Gophers held a team meeting on Monday of last week to discuss how the season is going. "We've played good, but we are still not clicking on all cylinders," he said.

The most recent example of that was the U's last game, a 4-4 overtime tie with Colorado College. The Gophers had a 4-1 lead going into the third period.

The Gophers are 11-3-3 after 17 games. Budish called that record pretty good, but "as a group of forwards, we need to find a way to get one more goal a night."

He said the team needs to score more goals 5-on-5, and it can do that if the forwards get to the net more. He tries to that, especially on power plays, to set screens from the Haulas and Bjugstads and Raus.

The Gophers have scored 57 goals, but almost a third (17) have been on the power play. They have only 40 goals at even-strength,  which is sixth in the WCHA. They are averaging 2.35 goals per game at even-strength and exactly 1.00 power-play goals per game.

Colorado College (53), Nebraska Omaha (49) are 1-2 in even-strength goals in the league. Then come North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Denver, bunched at 46, 45 and 44. The Gophers. And then there is a big dropoff to seventh, UMD (31). At the bottom is Alaska Anchorage with 23.


Assistant coach Grant Potulny works with the forwards every week on blocking shots, which they have to do more than in the past.

Budish said when there are ice bags all around the locker room after a game, that's a good sign that the team has played well.

The Gophers are 5-0 in nonconference games, but two, maybe three of their biggest tests are coming up.

In succession, the Gophers play Air Force and Boston College in the Mariucci Classic and Notre Dame on a rare Tuesday game early next month, Jan. 8.

"Air Force and Boston College were both in the NCAA tournament last year," Budish said, "and Notre Dame was a Frozen Four team two years ago."

The Gophers are 6-1-3 in their last 10 games.

A look at the teams with the best nonconference marks. There are three undefeateds left and seven unbeatens:

Gophers 5-0-0

Yale  4-0-1

Cornell 3-0-0

New Hampshire   3-0-1

Miami   3-0-1

Boston College  2-0-0

Minnesota State Mankato  2-0-2


Colgate            6-3-1

St. Lawrence  6-4-0

Union               5-1-1

Northern Michigan   4-1-0

Nebraska Omaha    4-2-0

UMass-Lowell           3-1-0

Holy Cross                 3-1-0

Western Michigan     3-1-0


Zach Budish was the youngest of four boys in family. All the others are a lot older, seven, nine and 11 years.

"All [my brothers] are working in the real world," he said.

But as a youngster, he was their goalie oftentimes. "I grew up wanting to be a goalie," Zach said. "I basically lived at the rink. They have been good for my career."

And they are usually at every Gophers home game.


Asked about the league, Budish said one thing noticeable is how tight it is, a couple of points separate first through sixth.

He called Minnesota State Mankato, the league's surprise team. "They have won seven of their last eight games," Budish said. "They have good coach there who is turning the team around."

On first line right wing Kyle Rau, known for being an instigator. "A couple of times I have asked him to tone it done, and he said, 'I play better when i do that.' ... He is a tough little guy, he gets under other guy's skin."

Budish played right wing on the top line all of last season, but this season he has also played on the second line at times, which is centered by Erik Haula.

"I am a guy who prefers to play with the same guys," Budish said. "[But] I've been playing with Erik Haula a lot, and that's been good for me."

He also has a new role this season, team captain. What does he have to do as a leader? "At the beginning of the year, I had to make sure the freshmen get adjusted well," he said, "as far as school goes, on the ice, and in the community. You have to realize you are being watched wherever you go."


* The Gophers are No. 12 in this week's PairWise ratings, which mimic how the NCAA fills out its tournament field once conference tournaments are done. ... Based on strength of schedule, the U rates only 39th, although that should rise the next couple of weeks.




Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 37 FINAL
St. Louis 27
Buffalo 24 FINAL
Oakland 26
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Dallas 42
Seattle 35 FINAL
Arizona 6
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
New York 108 FINAL
Toronto 118
Memphis 91 FINAL
Cleveland 105
Boston 84 FINAL
Miami 100
Detroit 105 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
LA Lakers 101 FINAL
Sacramento 108
Philadelphia 96 FINAL
Orlando 88
Phoenix 104 FINAL
Washington 92
Indiana 100 FINAL
Minnesota 96
New Orleans 101 FINAL
Oklahoma City 99
Colorado 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Dallas 6 FINAL(SO)
Edmonton 5
Buffalo 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 4
Carolina 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 1
Toronto 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Philadelphia 4 FINAL(OT)
Winnipeg 3
Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 69 FINAL
Army 72
Ferris State 82 FINAL
Bowling Green 68
San Francisco 65 FINAL
Cleveland State 69
Oregon State 52 FINAL
Quinnipiac 60
Coastal Carolina 72 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Holy Cross 48 FINAL
Canisius 67
Southern Miss 55 FINAL
Georgia State 68
Western Carolina 66 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 62
Creighton 58 FINAL
North Texas 62
Maryland 73 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
Cornell 61 FINAL
Radford 74
Vermont 55 FINAL
Saint Louis 58
Loyola-Maryland 52 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Reinhardt 72 FINAL
Winthrop 100
Ark-Little Rock 46 FINAL
Green Bay 66
TX-Pan American 72 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 77
Alabama State 63 FINAL
Evansville 81
Hartford 82
Goshen 55 FINAL
Valparaiso 82
Bryant 48 FINAL
Denver 46
Austin Peay 63 FINAL
Lipscomb 69
Tennessee St 47 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 65
South Dakota 67 FINAL
Montana 62
Samford 64
Coker 52 FINAL
South Carolina 78
Boston College 71
Northern Ariz 66 FINAL
Hampton 75
SD Christian 61 FINAL
San Diego 71
UC Irvine 55 FINAL
Bradley 47
Troy 65 FINAL
Nicholls 64
Seton Hall 47 FINAL
Georgia 65
Appalachian St 59 FINAL
Alabama 60
North Dakota St 52 FINAL
Kent State 53
San Jose St 53 FINAL
Washington St 82
Alcorn State 45 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 78
Sacramento St 47 FINAL
Seattle 66
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 55 FINAL
Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 84
Fairleigh Dickinson 74 FINAL
Brown 79
Buffalo 73 FINAL
Long Island 79
Bucknell 74 FINAL
Mount St Marys 49
Stony Brook 70 FINAL
Wagner 76
Wofford 75
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Providence 67
Maine 54 FINAL
William & Mary 51
Alabama State 43 FINAL
Samford 56
TX-Pan American 43 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 64
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
Marist 82
Saint Josephs 50 FINAL
(5) Notre Dame 64
Radford 60 FINAL
Virginia Tech 73
(3) Texas 67 FINAL
(4) Texas A&M 65
Rhode Island 60 FINAL
Bryant 56
South Florida 90 FINAL
Penn State 87
Sam Houston St 55 FINAL
TCU 79
Evansville 50 FINAL
(14) Maryland 110 FINAL
Coppin State 51
Mercer 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 72
Chattanooga 58
Princeton 84 FINAL
Monmouth 53
Eastern Illinois 69 FINAL
Lehigh 72
Rider 67 FINAL
Binghamton 72
SC State 57 FINAL
Clemson 66
Fairfield 63 FINAL
Iowa State 76
Richmond 70 FINAL
Eastern Kentucky 56
Cleveland State 80 FINAL
Morehead St 72
Kent State 62 FINAL
Colgate 61
South Alabama 43 FINAL
UAB 73
Saint Peters 35 FINAL
Navy 71
Youngstown St 52 FINAL
Pittsburgh 78
Lafayette 66
Davidson 51 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Indiana State 73 FINAL
St Johns 67
Southern U 49 FINAL
Florida 78
Wright State 46 FINAL
Purdue 70
(19) Oklahoma St 66 FINAL
USC 62
Houston 54 FINAL
Texas Tech 60
Ark-Little Rock 66 FINAL
Tulsa 59
Dayton 71 FINAL
Vanderbilt 67
Northern Ariz 37 FINAL
New Mexico 56
UNC-Asheville 60 FINAL
USC Upstate 67
North Dakota 81 FINAL
South Dakota 86
Western Ill 57 FINAL
Marquette 65
Elon 67 FINAL
(6) North Carolina 85
Ball State 59 FINAL
Western Ky 84
(8) Kentucky 68 FINAL
(13) Duke 89
New Orleans 58 FINAL
Alabama 87
Chicago State 47 FINAL
Milwaukee 69
Bowling Green 61 FINAL
Bradley 47
Ill-Springfield 56 FINAL
SE Missouri St 73
Northern Ill 42 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
(23) Iowa 100 FINAL
Drake 98
Central Michigan 64 FINAL
Minnesota 67
Western Carolina 45 FINAL
North Florida 62
Wyoming 71 FINAL
Colorado 76
Portland 58 FINAL
Boise State 94
Cal Poly 63 FINAL
Colorado State 65
No Dakota State 54 FINAL
Grand Canyon 69
Albany 71 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 49
Oklahoma 64 FINAL
Arkansas 71
Idaho State 63 FINAL
Seattle 55
(18) Michigan State 89 FINAL
(19) Syracuse 76
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Arizona State 88
TX-Arlington 46 FINAL
North Texas 38
Fresno State 68 FINAL
Oregon 59
St Francis-PA 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 72
CS-Bakersfield 74
(2) Connecticut 86
(10) Louisville 70 FINAL
(24) California 57
Howard 53 FINAL
Virginia 74
Miami-Ohio 42 FINAL
(21) Miss State 68
Illinois-Chicago 55 FINAL
Old Dominion 61


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