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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Lucia: Injuries took a toll on Gophers' readiness for UAA

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers postgame Updated: March 13, 2011 - 9:25 PM

Injuries hurt the Gophers last weekend against the University of Alaska Anchorage.

"We has some guys playing hurt," coach Don Lucia said on Saturday after his team's 2-0 loss to the Seawolves. "We had some guys who didn't practice [last] week. That hurt a little bit for continuity.

"So they were a little rusty in the Friday game [a 4-3 loss] and they played a little better [Saturday]."

Lucia did not go into detail on who missed practices with what injuries, except for Erik Haula.

Haula, he said, suffered a broken foot in the Bemidji State series on March 4-5.

Presumably, Haula missed some practice time. And probably senior captain Jay Barriball and maybe junior defenseman Aaron Ness.

Barriball suffered a knee injury on Feb. 5 at Minnesota Duluth. He missed the next five games before returning for the Bemidji State series. After one game there, he was walking around with a bad of ice strapped to his right knee. 

So was he 100 percent against UAA? "He gave us what he had," Lucia said.

Ness and junior forward Taylor Matson were injured in the first game at Bemidji State. Each missed the second game, but Ness came back to play against Alaska Anchorage, Matson didn't.

Ness maybe missed some practice time last week, too. The nature of his injury has not been disclosed. Matson, it appears, sustained a lower-body injury. He was limping after one of the Bemidji State games.

"We missed Taylor Matson [last weekend] for how he was playing -- his speed and tenacity," Lucia said. "But injuries are a part of [college hockey], too."

 SENIORS HURTING INSIDE, TOO

"For all the seniors, they care," Lucia said. "That is the hard part" of a season coming to an end.

"Guys put in so much and not just us, every team," Lucia said. "UAA puts i the same. They get in the weightroom and do everything we do. It's year-round training. You want to have success.

"We had some guys grow this year and I thought at the end we made a lot of progress. ... As players you are constantly learning and evolving and as a coach you have to learn and evolve, too.

 

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