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.
Got to check the rulebook first. Here's a video on what a hooking penalty is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxCIYUBT5-A
Just as I thought. Nowhere does it say you can't hook an opponent's stick. That is what Gophers freshman center Nick Bjugstad appeared to do in the last minute of the third period on Friday.
His stick -- from one camera view seen once -- appeared to hook the stick of a Bemidji State player along the right boards as the Beaver was trying to skate out of his zone with the puck.
Bjugstad is 6-4 and a strong kid. He ripped the stick out of the BSU's players hands and it went flying -- hard to miss that. But from one look, it didn't look like Bjugstad's stick got any legs, arms or other body parts.
Jay Barriball, the Gophers senior captain, passionately argued the call. Naturally, he got nowhere.
So Bjug went into the box and BSU, down 3-2, pulls it goalie, attacks with six skaters vs. four and scores the tying goal with 19 seconds.
The overtime was scoreless, so each team got a point. The Gophers clinched home ice for the first round of the playoffs next weekend, but not fifth place. A win would have done that.
There are many, many greater injustices in the world, but the Gophers probably deserved a better fate on Friday. I am also hate writing this because it sounds so much like sour grapes, but unless the definition of hooking has changed there should not have been a late penalty on the U despite the flying hockey stick.
Two Gophers were named WCHA women's players of the week this morning.
Goalie Noora Raty was chosen defensive player of the week and forward Amanda Kessel was rookie of the week.
Ex-Gophers standout Monique Lamoureux-Kolls, now playing for North Dakota, was co-offensive player of the week with Bemidji State's Erin Johnson, a senior from Farmington.
Raty gave up one goal in two games as the Gophers swept Minnesota State. She had 50 saves combined in 4-0 and 5-1 victories.
Kessel had two goals and set up another in the series.
Fortunately, nobody was hurt. But about 5 p.m. Thursday the bus transporting the North Dakota hockey team, including the coaches, was hit from behind.
A driver apparently dozed off. And awoke too late to stop as the bus slowed down near a railroad crossing near Erskine, Minn. Nobody was hurt in the accident but the car was totaled and the Sioux had to wait for another bus, a smaller yellow school bus, to take them the rest of the way.
Their bus was leaking coolant. Not a good thing.
North Dakota hockey sport info. guy Jayson Hajdu tweated and blogged about the incident. Once he knew everyone was OK, Haydu wrote, Sioux associate head coach Cary Eades joked, "They've gotta crack down on all this hitting from behind."
To see Hajdu travel blog visit: http://www.fightingsioux.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=58684&SPID=6405&DB_LANG=C&ATCLID=205012290&DB_OEM_ID=13500
Bemidji State asked the WCHA to schedule North Dakota for the Beavers' first series in the WCHA. The opening of the new Bemidji Regional Events Center also will be celebrated this weekend.
Now the Sioux have something extra to be happy about, too. No injuries in the crash.
INCH SIZES UP FRESHMEN
Inside College Hockey (INCH) on Thursday came out with its recruiting ratings.
Top classes: No. 1 Denver, No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 3 Boston University, No. 4 North Dakota and No. 5 Minnesota.
Bet Gophers would have been a couple spots higher at least if Seth Ambroz, a forward playing for Omaha of the USHL, had joined the team. He tried to accelerate his high school education to do so, ran into some snags. He is expected to be a first round NHL draft pick next June, maybe/probably in the top 10.
Three other WCHA teams also made the top 15 classes: 7. St. Cloud State, 8. UMD, 9. Colorado College, 12. Wisconsin and No. 14 Nebraska Omaha, the Gophers opponent this weekend.
Forward ratings: CC's Jaden Schwartz is rated No. 1, ... DU has three highly rated forwards: No. 2 Beau Bennett, No. 4 Jason Zucker and No. 14. Nick Shore.
Erik Haula of the Gophers is rated No. 7, Nick Bjugstad No. 10. If that looks odd, remember these ratings are based on the impact these players will have in college, not on their pro potential. Bjugstad is 6-5, 210 and Florida picked him No. 19 overall in the first round of the 2010 NHL draft. He appears to be the better pro prospect right now that Haula, a Wild draft pick taken in lower rounds.
Nebraska Omaha's Matt White is rated No. 9, North Dakota's Brock Nelson No. 15.
Defenseman ratings: Derek Forbort of NoDak is rated No. 1 and teammate Dillon Simpson No. 9. .. Mark Alt of the Gophers is No. 13. ... Also notable are No. 7 Nick Jensen and No. 8 Kevin Gravel of St. Cloud State.
Goalies: The only WCHA goalie rated is No. 3 Sam Brittain of DU.
Mario Lucia, Don's son and a junior foward at Wayzata, will play in exhibition games against Denver on Saturday night and Colorado College on Sunday night.
Mario, early this week, was asked if he wanted to join the under-18 U.S. national development team, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., on a short-term basis to replace an injured player.
Senior defenseman Max Everson of Edina also has joined the u-18 national team for this weekend's game because of another injury.
DU MEDIA DAY ON TUESDAY
The very quotable coach George Gwozdecky will preside over the Denver Pioneers' media day on Tuesday. The news conference will be at 1 p.m. with GG and captain Kyle Ostrow.
It will be streamed live FREE on Pioneer Vision at www.DenverPioneers.com
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