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 hopes Gophers can do their share in border battles this weekend

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers, Men's hockey Updated: November 10, 2011 - 1:11 PM

Gophers coach Don Lucia said he has talked to his team about the border battle this weekend between Minnesota and Wisconsin teams.

"[It's] the Packers and the Vikings and certainly [there's college] football," he said, referring to the Badgers game against the Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium. "And we have to two games [with the Badgers in hockey]. We want to make sure we do our part this weekend."

Lucia tried to downplay his team's No. 1 national rating. "We have played six [WCHA] games and they have essentially been one-goal games other than one," he said. "It is not like there is a big, huge separation. There is not. We have won some close games and I am sure, as we move along, we are going to lose some of those games.

"Our group hasn't invented the game, I can assure you of that. We have a long ways to go as a team and we are going to go through our ups and downs.We are just fortunate we are off to a 9-1 start."

On playing against all-american defenseman Justin Schultz of the Badgers: "You have to be aware, when you step out on the ice as a forward, who you are out against. And I am sure every other shift he is going to be out there or more. ... He is as good a player as there is in the country. It is like anything, when you play somebody, you have to try to keep their best players off the scoreboard as much as you possibly can and force somebody else to try to beat you."

On Gophers goalie Kent Patterson: "he is quiet. He doesn't get very high or very low. It is just his nature.

"Some of our young defensemen who did not play a lot last year, like Nate Schmidt and Jake Parenteau have done a nice job so far. They make some mistakes, they are going to, they don't have a lot of experience. They dig in pretty good, they are pretty strong physically. That element of our games has helped us."

RAU TRIES TO RELAX 

Freshman Kyle Rau on his approach to games: "You just try to do what you can to stay calm because once you get all shakey and nervous, you start playing bad."

Asked how many goals of his eighth goals he has scored from the same spot on the ice -- a few feet from the crease, by the right post: "I think seven of them. Being a left winger I am on the right side of the ice in the offensive zone. It's somewhere I go on the and on the power play that is my spot. I just stand there and wait for the puck."

So where did he get the other one from? That was an empty-netter in the last minute of the Gophers' 3-1 victory at Alaska Anchorage. He blocked a shot and scored from the red line.

On killing penalties: "Me and Nick [Bjugstad] like the pk more than the power play. It is just more fun, hunting the pucks down, skating around. You are only out there for about 25 seconds or so."

Does he expect to play in the NHL? "I hope so. You never know what happens. If they like you, they like you. If they don't, you just have to keep working harder so they do like you." The Florida Panthers picked him in the third round of the 2011 NHL draft in St. Paul.

 

 

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