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: Gophers let penalties in last game affect their play

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under College hockey, Gophers, Men's hockey Updated: January 3, 2012 - 8:53 PM

Gophers coach Don Lucia said a lot of unusual things happened on Saturday in his team's 3-2 loss to Northeastern in the Mariucci Classic title game.

There were 18 penalties called, all at different times. The Gophers had 13 penalties and three times Northeastern had a five-on-three power play.

Nine different Gophers got called for minor penalties. Sophomore center Eric Haula took three penalties in all, for hooking and interference in the second period and for hooking again in the third. Both his hooking penalties gave Northeastern five-on-threes and the Huskies scored on each.

He was the only Gopher called for hooking, but Jake Hansen and Nate Schmidt had interference penalties.

The other Gopher whose penalty gave the Huskies a  five-on-three  was defenseman Ben Marshall. He got called for holding in  the middle of the third period, but his teammates killed that 34-second, two-man advantage.

The only other hold was by defenseman Seth Helgeson who also got a cross-checking penalty.

That covers eight penalties. The other five:

* elbowing: Mark Alt, Nate Condon

* tripping: Taylor Matson, Nick Larson

* unsportsmanlike conduct: On team at end of third period

A few of these penalties stopped Huskies going to the net and possibly prevented a goal. Most seemed unnecessary.

The crowd sure didn't like some of the calls. When the officials skated off the ice they were booed loudly. The referees were both WCHA officials: Todd Anderson adn Brad Shepherd.

"Some of our top guys played better [Friday], a little more energy," Lucia said. "Condon and Matson were great short-handed.

"No matter what, you have to keep your discipline. You can't allow things to affect you. ... We want to play hard and we want to be aggressive but you can't -- I said, 'It's my job to lose my marbles, not anybody else's.'

"I am disappointed. I don't feel we gave ourselves a chance to win the game, You can't play a third of the game short-handed and have three five-on-threes and expect to win games very often."

CONDON: FOCUS ON IRISH

Condon said the Gophers really wanted to win their own tournament. "It would have been big for us to beat Northeastern," the sophomore winger said. "It was a big nonconference game for us. They have been on a roll lately.

"We just have to put that behind us now and come ready for Notre Dame [on Saturday]," Condon said. "We had a lot of success the first [half of this] year. We really wanted to come back and have a strong second-half year. This is just a setback for us.

"We are really going to get after it this week [of practice] and be ready for the new year."

Condon said the team has to avoid getting into five-on-three holes. "Just because we are down shorthanded, doesn't mean we can take another penalty and get away with it," he said. "We have to [pay] more attention to detail on those."

MARIUCCI CLASSIC WRAP-UP

Last week the 21st Mariucci Classic was held (sometimes it went by other names, though). The Gophers have won 12 of them, including the first one in the 1991-92 season.

Eight of those championships came in a row between 1999-2000 -- coach Don Lucia's first season as Gophers coach -- and 2006-07.

Since then, the Gophers have won the tournament only once in five seasons. The three most recent winners have been Northern Michigan, Bemidji State and Northeastern.

The Huskies began this season with a 1-7-1 record under new coach Jim Madigan, but have gone 7-0-1 in their last eight games. The tie was with Princeton (3-3) in their first classic game on Friday

This loss was the Gophers' first on Saturdays; their record on that day of the week fell to  8-1-1.

* In the most recent game program, Gophers practice goalie Jake Kremer said defenseman Seth Helgeson has the hardest shot on the team and Nick Bjugstad has the quickest snapshot.

* Jim Scherr, former head of the U.S. Olympic Hockey Committee, will be named the commissioner of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference on Wednesday, according to a story in the Colorado Springs Gazette.

The NCHC, which will be made up of six teams in the WCHA and two in the CCHA,  will start playing games in the 2013-14 season.

* The U.S. team edged Sweden 2-1 by winning a shootout in the semifinals of World U17 Hockey Challenge in Windsor, Ontario. The U.S., which is 4-1 in the tournament, will play either Canada-Ontario or Russia for the championship at 6 p.m. Wednesday. ... Gophers recruit Hudson Fasching is one of the five Minnesotans on the U.S. team.

 

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