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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Haula puts on show for Gophers' 2002 national championship team

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers, Men's hockey, Gophers postgame Updated: February 19, 2012 - 1:51 PM

Ten years ago, Erik Haula knew nothing about Minnesota --"definitely not" -- let alone the Golden Gophers hockey team which won the NCAA title in 2002.

"I was all focused on Finland, not knowing anything that was going on here," said Haula, a sophomore center from Pori, Finland. "It is weird how things happen."

But 13 members of that championship team a decade ago were at Mariucci Arena on Saturday, including two U of M coach Grant Potulny and Justin Johnson. They signed autographs before the game, and were introduced to do the sellout crowd of 10,000-plus between the first and second period of the Gophers game with Bemidji State.

The Gophers won 4-1, with Haula scoring twice and assisting on one goal.

Now, Haula knows about the Gophers' rich hockey tradition. "As I was making my decision coming here, I probably watched that video of the '02 championship 10 times because my buddy from Shattuck who is from Eden Prairie had it."

He said it was nice to see the 2002 players in person this weekend. "And obviously, we wanted to play great in front of them," Haula said.

The Gophers swept the Beavers after winning the first game 3-0 on Friday.

"[The sweep] was huge," Haula said. "It is all about us. Everything is in our hands. We just keep winning, we just keep playing great and we can accomplishment everything we want to here."

To keep winning, the Gophers will need the scoring balance they showed this weekend.

On Friday, everyone on the first line had two points. On Saturday, Haula and linemate Jack Hansen had the big games. Haula had three points, Hansen two.

"Good teams have guys stepping up,: said Haula, a seventh-round draft pick of the Wild in 2009. "[Friday] night, they had a big night and [Saturday] we were able to put some in. You know we have a good team and we have a lot of guys who can put the puck in the net. We don;t have to rely on just one line."

* Haula, bothered by an upper body injury played left wing on the second or third line last weekend at Denver. But he was back at his usual position, center, for the Beavers series. "Everything is taken care of now," he said, everything is good. I am back at it."

 GOPHERS' TOP SCORERS

30-point club

Nick Bjugstad     22   14 -- 36

Erik Haula           14   21 -- 35

Kyle Rau            14    17 -- 31

20-point club

Nate Schmidt     2     27 -- 29

Jake Hansen     11    18 -- 29

Zach Budish      10    17 -- 27

Nate Condon     10    14 -- 24

 

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