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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Posts about Frozen Four

Was Gophers' loss in Frozen Four a week ago already? Looking back

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz Updated: April 12, 2012 - 1:19 PM

A week later, the pain has subsided for most Gophers fans hopefully, even those who were there on April 5 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

So here is a look back at Boston College's 6-1 victory over the Gophers in the Frozen Four semifinals.

The Gophers actually played well in the first period. The Eagles did not get their first until 3:48 had passed and that was an easy save for Gophers goalie Kent Patterson. Kevin Hayes fired from the middle of the right circle.

But at 6:03, on their second shot, the Eagles scored. Steven Whitney scored on a tip from in front while he was falling.

At the 10-minute mark, BC still had just those two shots.

Then the Gophers got the game's first power play with 4:44 left in the opening period. Defenseman Patrick Wey went off for hooking. Here was a chance to tie the score or get more momentum.

Instead, the Gophers couldn't get a shot on goal. A bad sign.

Even so, captain Taylor Matson had a big chance with 49 seconds to tie the score but Parker Milner stopped the shot.

The period ended with BC ahead 1-0.


The Gophers had another good chance to tie the score ealy in the second period. With BC a man short after a tripping call in the third minute, Nick Bjugstad had a chance in front.

Then winger Paul Carey got around Gophers defenseman Nate Schmidt, forcing him to take a hooking penalty at 6:27. Eight seconds later on its first power play of the game, BC had a goal.

Whitney won the faceoff in the right circle, sending the puck back to defenseman Tommy Cross at the right point, he fed Kevin Hayes for a goal from the top of the left circle. The Eagles made scoring look easy. The Gophers were still outshooting BC 15-8, but were behind 2-0.

BC had the next power play, too and Bill Arnold hit a pipe.

Jack Hansen had another great chance for the Gophers with about 2:30 left. He got the puck in the low slot from Erik Haula, but Milner made the save and seconds later, as often happens, BC scores on the other end.

Defenseman Jake Parenteau fans on a swing at the puck and BC is going the other way. Chris Kreider scores his 23rd goal and it's 3-0 with 2:25 left in the middle period.

The Gophers are clearly on their heels now. Looking beat.

BC has a two-on-one, but Patterson stops Johnny Gaudreau. But BC keeps attacking and the Gophers are clearly in scramble mode. Three players try to defend Pat Mullane, the puck-carrier, on a rush and Patterson moves over to cover the left post.

Mullane passes back to Carey, the trailer, who has an open right side for an easy shot with 17 seconds left in the second period. So it's 4-0 BC and game is essentially over. The Gophers still ead 21-14 in shots.


Hansen scores at 1:26 of the third period for the Gophers' only goal. They were never shut out in the 2011-12 season.

But whatever hope the Gophers had was quickly quashed. Carey scored his second goal of the game 22 seconds later. Defenseman Brian Dumoulin added a power-play goal at 5:51 for the final margin.


Two days after beating the Gophers, BC won its third title in five years and fifth overall. The Eagles beat Ferris State 4-1. Whitney and Carey had first period goals and Gaudreau scored the game-clincher with three minutes left.

* BC will undoubtedly be the No. 1-ranked team in the national preseason polls before the 2012-13 season. Although 6-3, 225-pound junior Chris Kreider is going to turn pro, BC will still have nine of 12 forwards back and three of six defensemen.

Also returning will be junior goalie Parker Milner, the Frozen Four MVP.

The Eagles play at the Mariucci Classic, which should add a lot of luster to that four-team holiday event.


The Penticton Vees are the BCHL playoff champions. They won the Fred Page Cup by beating the Powell River Kings 3-2 to sweep the series.

Ryan Reilly, a Gophers recruit from Chanhassen, had the Vees' first goal and an assist on the second goal. He is a forward who will be at the 'U' next season. So, too, will his younger brother Mike, a defenseman, who had an assist on Ryan's goal.

Mario Lucia, Don's son, also had an assist on the second goal.

Next the Vees will play either the Fort McMurray Oil Barons or the Brooks Bandits, who are tied 2-2 in  the Alberta Junior Hockey League playoffs, for the Doyle Cup. That series resumes on Thursday, then continues Saturday and, if necessary Monday.


Gophers-BC game near single-market record locally for Frozen Four viewers

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz Updated: April 12, 2012 - 1:29 PM

Nationally, the Gophers vs. Boston College hockey game last Thursday in the Frozen Four had a 0.3 rating, meaning 422,000 viewers watched the game, according to an ESPN source.

But the national semifinal, which was on ESPN2, did much better in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. It had a 5.1 metered market rating, the second highest rating ever recorded in any market for a Frozen Four game on the ESPN network.

That means that 5.1 percent of the 1.7 million households in the metro area watched the game, or about 88,000 households.

Since 2004, when ESPN's records begin, only Milwaukee had a higher metered market rating for a Frozen Four game. Its rating was 6.0 on April 6, 2008 for the championship game. Boston College beat Notre Dame 4-1 for the NCAA title that year in Denver.


* A date for the Gophers' awards banquet has not been set. One date being considered is May 4. There will be a lot to celebrate this year.

* Minnesota State Mankato officials say they would name a new hockey coach within a few days, according to a story in the Mankato Free Press. Click here.

The Mavericks also have signed another recruit, 6-3, 205-pound defenseman Nick Buchanon of Victoria, B.C. He plays for Penticton, the BCHL team loaded with Minnesotans.

* Don't be surprised if Gophers right wing Jake Hansen, a senior, signs with a pro team soon. Columbus picked him in the third round of the 2007 NHL draft.

* Boston College players rode on trolleys during a campus parade on Tuesday that went from the team's arena to O'Neill Plaza. All five national championship teams were recognized and represented at the celebration. The Eagles won titles in 1949, 2001, '08, '10 and this year. For more on the parade, click here.

Two of BC's top juniors have decided to turn pro and leave school early, according to a story on the school's web site. Forward Chris Kreider will sign with the New York Rangers. He was a first round pick of theirs in 2009. Defenseman Brian Dumoulin will sign with Carolina. The Hurricanes took him in the second round in 2009.

* The Gophers' 2012-13 schedule -- the last season they are in the WCHA -- should be coming out soon.  





One hockey player from Minnesota overjoyed over BC's latest title

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz Updated: April 7, 2012 - 11:04 PM

Mike Sit's older brother Dave, is a sophomore at Boston University. He plays on the club hockey team there.

Mike's mom grew up on the East Coast. So when the possibility of playing at Boston College became real, Mike Sit, a high school player at Edina, really pursued it.

"I have never been happier with a decision," he said, "after I made it."

He came to BC knowing the Eagles' history of success. And now he is a small part of it.

"It's a different feeling, it's amazing," he said after BC beat Ferris State 4-1 on Saturday for its third title in five years and fifth overall. "It is like winning the state championship title times two."

The Hornets won the Class 2A title in the hockey state tournament his junior year.

Sit said he was happy with BC beating the Gophers 6-1 in Thursday's semifinals although he would have rather played them for the championship. He said he has a number of friends on Minnesota's team.

He played with Gophers freshmen Travis Boyd and Seth Ambroz on the 1993 Minnesota Blades and with Zach Budish for one season as a sophomore at Edina in 2008-09.

His parents, Roger and Michele, have Gophers' season-tickets.

Sit was an all-conference pick at Edina as a junior and senior. He had 14 goals and 26 assists for 40 points his last season with the Hornets.

 "I came in as a shutdown guy" for Boston College, Sit said, and that is what he tried to do.  The 5-10, 180-pound Sit had three assists in 39 games, often playing only seven-eight minutes on a BC team with three strong top lines.

He was a minus-3, but his hitting-after-the-whistle penalty that he took in the second period against Ferris State was only his fifth penalty, all minors, of the season.

Sit said the Eagles were able to finish with 19 wins in a row because Parker Milner, their goalie, got hot and the defensemen stepped up their play.

Sit is already excited about Boston College coming to Minneapolis next season to play in the Gophers' Mariucci Classic, their annual holiday tournament.

Maybe by then the Eagles, who will certainly start the 2012-13 season as the nation's No. 1-rated team, will have a loss or two.


The Frozen Four all-tournament team: Forwards--Kyle Bonis, Ferris State; Paul Carey and Steven Whitney, Boston College; Defensemen--Chad Billins, Ferris State; Brian Dumoulin, Boston College; Goalie--Parker Milner, Boston College.

Nobody from Thursday's two losing teams in the semifinals, the Gophers and Union, made the all-tournament team. That's not unusual.

Gophers have two All-America players

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz Updated: April 7, 2012 - 5:11 PM

Two Gophers and three other players from Minnesota were named all-america players on Friday. Goalie Kent Patterson, a senior from Plymouth, and center Nick Bjugstad, a sophomore from Blaine, were named to the West all-america second team.

On the West first team is Minnesota Duluth center Jack Connolly, of Duluth, the Hobey Baker Award winner this year as well.

Also on the West second all-america team is UMD sophomore forward J.T. Brown of Burnsville. On the East second all-america team is Air Force defenseman Tim Kriby of Austin, Minn.

The teams:

2011-12 AHCA/CCM Hockey Men’s Division 1 All-American Teams

All-American West First Team
Goalie: Taylor Nelson, Sr., Ferris State University (Regina, SK)
Defense: Torey Krug, Jr., Michigan State University (Livonia, MI)
Defense: Justin Schultz, Jr., University of Wisconsin* (West Kelowna, BC)
Forward: Jack Connolly, Sr., University of Minnesota Duluth*# (Duluth, MN)
Forward: Jaden Schwartz, So., Colorado College (Wilcox, SK)
Forward: Reilly Smith, Jr., Miami University (Mimico, ON)

All-American East First Team
Goalie: Troy Grosenick, So., Union College (Brookfield, WI)
Defense: Danny Biega, Jr., Harvard University (Montreal, QC)
Defense: Brian Dumoulin, Jr., Boston College* (Biddeford, ME)
Forward: Spencer Abbott, Sr., University of Maine (Hamilton, ON)
Forward: Alex Killorn, Sr., Harvard University (Montreal, QC)
Forward: Austin Smith, Sr., Colgate University (Dallas, TX)

All-American West Second Team
Goalie: Kent Patterson, Sr., University of Minnesota (Plymouth, MN)
Defense: Chad Billins, Sr., Ferris State University (Marysville, MI)
Defense: Dan DeKeyser, So., Western Michigan University (Clay Township, MI)
Forward: Nick Bjugstad, So., University of Minnesota (Blaine, MN)
Forward: J.T. Brown, So., University of Minnesota Duluth (Burnsville, MN)
Forward: Jason Zucker, So., University of Denver (Las Vegas, NV)

All-American East Second Team
Goalie: Joe Cannata, Sr., Merrimack College (Wakefield, MA)
Defense: Mat Bodie, So., Union College (East St. Paul, MB)
Defense: Tim Kirby, Sr., U.S. Air Force Academy (Austin, MN)
Forward: Barry Almeida, Sr., Boston College (Springfield, MA)
Forward: Brian O’Neill, Sr., Yale University (Yardley, PA)
Forward: Jeremy Welsh, Jr., Union College (Bayfield, ON)

* First Team in 2010-11; # Second Team in 2009-10


Freshman Joey LaLeggia of Denver was named the national rookie of the year. LaLeggia had 11 goals and 38 points in 42 games for the Pioneers.

He was the WCHA's rookie of the year, too.

Gophers coach Don Lucia has compared incoming freshman Mike Reilly to LaLeggia, who played at Penticton of the BCHL last season. Reilly broke LaLeggia's single-season regular season tean scoring record for a defenseman at Penticton this season.


Ferris State coach Bob Daniles on playing Boston College for the NCAA title: "If we are the decided underdogs going into the game, so be it."

Gophers' season ends in another meltdown

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz Updated: April 6, 2012 - 9:17 AM

Is there a mercy rule in the Frozen Four? Running time?

Boston College seemed to be able to score at will on Thursday night at times against the Gophers. The final was BC 6, Gophers 1 in the semifinals of the Frozen Four in Tampa.

At least the warm-up game between Ferris State and Union College was close. FSU, which will join the reorganized WCHA in two seasons, led 2-1 late until getting an empty-netter.

In the nightcap, Boston College led 4-0 after two periods and it was 6-1 six minutes into the third quarter before BC called off the dogs, I mean, the Eagles. Ferris State's nickname is the Bulldogs.

Afterward, Gophers coach Don Lucia tried to put a positive spin on things. Overall, it was an enjoyable season, he said. Only one team is happy at the end of the season and so on.

He also said the Gophers' best line was probably freshman center Travis Boyd's line, the third line.Captain Taylor Matson had four shots, Nate Condon three and Boyd three. That's 10 of the Gophers 31. Combined that trio was -3.

Sophomore Nick Bjugstad's top line struggled. His wings Kyle Rau and Zach Budish were both -3 and he was a -2. They had four shots total.

Little went right for the Gophers' defensemen. A BC forward made a move to get around Nate Schmidt, who had to hook him to prevent a scoring chance. Eight seconds into their third power play, BC scored. Eight seconds!

Jake Parenteau fumbled a puck at his blue line. It's a turnover, and BC scores.

Justin Holl appears to accidentally redirect a BC shot past his goalie in the third period.

As BC kept scoring, memories of North Dakota's 6-3 comeback win over the Gophers in the Final Five semifinals came back. This was not the way the Gophers wanted their season to end. Lucia said several times this week if his players played their best and lost, everybody could live with that. This was not their best effort. Not close.

The NCAA stats people broke down the Grade-A chances in the game and it wasn't as lopsided as you might think. BC had 10 and scored four goals. The Gophers had six and scored once.

Here is a rundown on the Gophers' chances:

First period

1. Taylor Matson took a shot from the high slot at 11:58 of the opening period. Parker Milner made the save.

2. Nate Condon had shot from just in front at 15:08. Milner save.

3. Matson from the edge of the right circle at 19:11. Milner save.

Second period

4. Nick Bjugstad had a rebound chance at 3:22. Milner save.

5. Jake Hansen had a shot from the low slot at 17:27. Milner save.

Third period

6. Hansen scores on a redirect in front at 1:26.

The Gophers needed that first goal a lot earlier. The hole they were in was too deep in the third period.

Looking for anything positive? The Gophers won the faceoff battle 45-37. Bjugstad was 17-6 on his draws.







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