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.


Cincinnati - LP: J. Broxton 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 2
Minnesota - LP: T. May 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 9
NY Yankees - WP: C. Capuano 6 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3
Philadelphia - LP: J. Diekman 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 4
Boston - WP: A. Ranaudo 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Archer 4
Miami - LP: C. Hatcher 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: D. Carpenter 5
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 6 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Vargas 1
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 7 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: S. Carroll 1
Texas - WP: S. Baker 13 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: N. Ramirez 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: P. Neshek 2
Colorado - LP: R. Brothers 2 FINAL
Arizona - WP: B. Ziegler 5
Oakland - LP: J. Lester 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 4
Los Angeles 2 Bottom 11th Inning
San Diego 2
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 8 FINAL
Seattle - LP: F. Hernandez 3
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 2 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: R. Vogelsong 13
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 4th Qtr 11:07
Arizona 51
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Houston 3 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 1
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota 71 FINAL
Phoenix 85
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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 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
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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