Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Bjugstad impresses, freshmen D wow for Gophers in "good team effort"

Posted by: Michael Russo under Gophers postgame Updated: October 12, 2012 - 10:27 PM

I can get used to this covering hockey thing again.

Just finished up my first game story since April – a 5-1 win as the heavily-hyped University of Minnesota men’s hockey team cruised past Michigan State, a team that went to the NCAA tourney a season ago. The Gophers will look to redeem themselves from last year’s winless trip to East Lansing by sweeping the Spartans on Saturday night.

Remember, 8 p.m. puck drop.

Check out the gamer on www.startribune.com/gophers for most the particulars, and multi-media extraordinaire Brian StensAAs came out to shoot postgame video of the media scrums.

But good win for the Gophers, scoring three times in the first period on goals by Ben Marshall, Nick Bjugstad and Christian Isackson and second and third period goals by Erik Haula and Travis Boyd

The Gophers were sloppy at times in the final two periods, turning the puck over and making life a little more difficult on Mike Shibrowski, who won his first Gophers career start with 25 saves. His shutout bid was spoiled with 4:01 left when Tanner Sorenson, whom Shibrowski robbed a few times in the second, scored after a turnover in the Gophers’ zone.

Shibrowski wears No. 1 – the number of the Gophers goalie he used to pretend to be as a kid, Adam Hauser, who backstopped Minnesota to a 2002 national championship and won 83 games as a Gopher – second all-time.

Sorenson, though, was on the unenviable end of Haula schooling him in the corner before the Finnish-born, Shattuck-St. Mary’s product drove the net and scored on a follow-up to his first shot.

Bjugstad was great, as advertised, and humorously has been taken some flak from his teammates after Brian

Skrudland (aka Screwy) used the names of Super Mario and the Great One to describe Bjugstad in my feature on Thursday.

But Bjugstad scored a goal and an assist, had three shots and won 10 of 15 faceoffs.

Captain Zach Budish had two assists, and the Mike Reilly-Mark Alt pairing was terrific. Reilly, as advertised is super offensive-minded, had two assists in his college debut and was plus-3; Alt was plus-4.


Other than a foul-up at the blue line in the second, which triggered a 2-on-1 and a barrage of three shots that Shibrowski impressively turned aside, I thought Brady Skjei was outstanding alongside Nate Schmidt. He's big, and he's ridiculously mobile. Like, ridiculous.

As I mentioned in the gamer, the arrivals of Reilly and Skjei have created a traffic jam on the Gophers’ blue line.

“They didn’t look nervous at all,” Budish said. “They both came in calm and poised.”

Justin Holl was scratched tonight and Jake Parenteau, who was Schmidt’s regular defense partner last season, had to play fourth-line right wing. He was actually real good there. The thick forward popped a few unsuspecting Spartans.

Coach Don Lucia said to expect lineup changes Saturday, with freshman Adam Wilcox making his college debut in goal. As we all know, I'm such an expert on the Gophers , but I’d suspect we see freshman Ryan Reilly up front and Holl in the lineup as Lucia has to decide on the players they take to Michigan Tech next weekend.

Some other tidbits:

--Wild propect John Draeger, a stud at Shattuck, made his college debut for the Spartans and was their only plus player – impressive in a 5-1 loss. He was paired with Jake Chelios, the son of Hall of Famer Chris Chelios.

-- David Bondra, the son of former Washington Capitals star and 2010 Slovakia Olympic GM Peter Bondra, made his college debut. He was scoreless and was an even.

-- Lucia said “Isackson shows that he belongs to play with that group (Rau and Bjugstad). Remember, he had a hat trick in last weekend’s exhibition and was scoreless in 11 games last year.

-- Talk to you Saturday night.


San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington 6:00 PM
Carolina 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Montreal 7:30 PM
Arizona 8:00 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pm30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 am
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA




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