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 happy about past season, optimistic about next

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under College hockey, Gophers Updated: April 19, 2012 - 11:36 PM

Gophers coach Don Lucia, on his final weekly radio show of this season, looked back on the Frozen Four and this season on Monday.

Boston College beat the Gophers 6-1 in the Frozen Four semifinals a week ago in Tampa.

"There wasn't any shame to losing to the team we lost to -- Boston College," Lucia said. "They have been on a phenomenal roll, 18 straight games without a loss."

Lucia said he was very proud of his players. He liked the way the Gophers played the opening period, even though it ended with BC ahead 1-0.

"They scored on the only chance they had in the first period," Lucia said.

Then late in the second period, the Eagles took control. "The game went from two to four in a couple-shifts period and basically [that lead] ended the game for all practical purposes.

"[The Eagles] were deserving to win the national title. They had the best team there."

THE FUTURE

Lucia is optimistic about next season, too.

"People ask how recruiting is," Lucia said, "and the most important recruits are playing for us right now. But I think we are in petty good shape."

Nick Bjugstad, a sophomore center who could sign with Florida, told Lucia he is no hurry to make a decision on whether he signs a pro contract or returns. Eric Haula, another sophomore center, has said he wants to return.

Bjugstad led the Gophers with 25 goals, Haula was second with 20.

Lucia said Bjugstad should do what his heart tells him to. "He shouldn't feel pressure from anybody," Lucia said. "It is his life and he should do what he thinks is best for him."

The Gophers have six regular defensemen expected to all return and, if Bjugstad stays, nine of 12 forward who played against BC, Lucia said.

"It that happens I think we will be in real good shape," he said, "to have another nice season next year."

ETC.

* Coach Dave Hakstol of North Dakota has signed a new six-year contract, which will keep him in Grand Forks, N.D., through the 2017-18 season. The story is here.

* Goalie John Curry of Shorewood has been added to the U.S. team completing in the 2012  IIHF World Championships from May 4-20 in Helsinki and Stockholm. He is playing for the Hamburg Freezers at this time.

* According to College Hockey, Inc., 300 Americans played in the NHL at times this past regular season. The three teams with the most alumni in the NHL were: Michigan with 23, Wisconsin with 22 and Boston College with 21.

The Gophers? They had 15.

Here is a list of the ex-Gophers who played in the NHL this past regular-season:

Defensemen (nine): Jordan Leopold, Buffalo; Nick Leddy, Chicago; Eric Johnson, Colorado; Alex Goligoski, Dallas; Aaron Ness, New York Islanders; Stu Bickel, New York Rangers; Paul Martin, Pittsburgh; Cade Fairchild, St. Louis, and Keith Ballard, Vancouver.

Forwards (six): Thomas Vanek, Buffalo; Jeff Taffe, Wild; Kyle Okposo, NY Islanders; Jim O'Brien, Florida; Phil Kessel, Toronto, and Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg.

LEAVING EARLY

Forty college players have signed with NHL teams since their teams finished playing, including 24 with eligibility remaining. A list of those who left college teams early:

Boston College
Brian Dumoulin Jr. D Carolina (NHL), April 10
Chris Kreider Jr. F NY Rangers (NHL), April 10

Boston University
Alex Chiasson Jr. F Dallas (NHL), March 26

Colgate
Chris Wagner So. F Anaheim (NHL), April 2

Colorado College
Jaden Schwartz So. F St. Louis (NHL), March 12

Connecticut
Cole Schneider So. F Ottawa (NHL), March 14 (FA)

Denver
Beau Bennett So. F Pittsburgh (NHL), April 13
Drew Shore Jr. F Florida (NHL), March 26
Jason Zucker So. F Minnesota (NHL), March 27

Lake Superior State
Zach Trotman Jr. D Boston (NHL), March 23

Maine
Matt Mangene Jr. F/D Philadelphia (NHL), April 1 (FA)

Miami
Reilly Smith Jr. F Dallas (NHL), March 25

Michigan
Chris Brown Jr. F Phoenix (NHL), March 29

Michigan State
Torey Krug Jr. D Boston (NHL), March 25 (FA)

Minnesota Duluth
J.T. Brown So. F Tampa Bay (NHL), March 28 (FA)

Nebraska-Omaha
Terry Broadhurst Jr. F Chicago (NHL), March 19 (FA)

Niagara
Scott Arnold So. F Phoenix (NHL), March 23 (FA)

Northeastern
Anthony Bitetto So. D Nashville (NHL), March 29

Notre Dame
Riley Sheahan Jr. F Detroit (NHL), March 20

St. Cloud State
David Eddy Jr. F Calgary (NHL), March 20 (FA)
Mike Lee Jr. G Phoenix (NHL), March 29

Union
Jeremy Welsh Jr. F Carolina (NHL), April 5 (FA)

Vermont
Sebastian Stalberg Jr. F San Jose (NHL), March 14 (FA)

Western Michigan
Matt Tennyson Jr. D San Jose (NHL), March 28 (FA)

Source: College Hockey, Inc.

 

 

 

 

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