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.

Also find Russo on Facebook.

Email Michael to talk about hockey.

Gophers easily sweep Spartans, should sit atop polls this week

Posted by: Michael Russo under Gophers post season, Wild off-season news Updated: October 14, 2012 - 12:04 AM

Not to take anything away from the Gophers’ two impressive wins to open the 2012-13 campaign, make no mistake, Michigan State is not the same Spartans team that made last year’s NCAA tournament.

They lost 10 letterwinners, including Hobey Baker finalist Torey Krug. They have 12 new players, including five defenseman.
So despite 5-1 and 7-1 thrashings to open the season (please read the game story on www.startribune.com/gophers for the particulars), I promise you, the Gophers are not yet going to be awarded the national championship.
Still, this upcoming week, you can bet the Gophers will be the No. 1-ranked team in the country in every poll that exists.
In addition to the Gophers being dominant in every area against the Spartans, defending NCAA champ Boston College was upset tonight by Northeastern to have its 19-game winning streak extinguished.
So that should catapult the Gophers, the top team in last week’s USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, to the tippy top of the USCHO.com poll.
Tonight, here in Minneapolis, seven Gophers scored goals and 15 had points as freshman Adam Wilcox had to make only 10 saves to win his first college game.
“We had the puck a lot [this weekend],” coach Don Lucia said after his 599th career ‘W.’ “Our D skate well, and they get back to pucks and make a play, so it’s hard to forecheck them. If we made mistakes with the puck, more often than not, it was at the offensive blue line.
“We were clean coming out of our zone.”
Erik Haula had a goal and an assist, Brady Skjei (this kid honestly is terrific and you can read a feature I wrote on him in June here) scored his first goal and assist of his college career, Kyle Rau had a goal and assist, Christian Isackson had two assists, Justin Holl, a defenseman playing wing most of the night, had two assists, and for the second straight game, captain Zach Budish had two assists.
For the second game in a row, Nick Bjugstad scored the winning goal, this one coming off a beauty Rau setup after Isackson showed impressive patience and poise by stopping short and waiting for Rau to enter the zone.
Isackson, who looks oh-so comfortable alongside Bjugstad and Rau and probably wouldn’t even be there if Connor Reilly didn’t blow out his knee before the season, also set up Rau to open the second when he protected the puck along the wall, won the board battle and sent a pass through his legs to the front of the net after hearing Rau yell for the puck.
The only negative that could probably be said for the weekend is the Gophers power play didn’t really connect. They had a lot of offensive-zone time, but Lucia felt they were trying to be too cute, make too many passes. The one goal they scored tonight came on a five-minute major when Skjei just shot the puck.
But let’s be honest: The power play isn’t exactly a concern with the depth this team has up front and on the back end.
The goalies didn’t see a lot of work this weekend, mostly because the Gophers had the puck a lot. Lucia said they will be tested next weekend at Michigan Tech, if for no other reason than the game will be played on the small ice sheet.
For that reason, the Gophers will practice all week at Ridder to prepare.
Wilcox wasn’t tested a ton, obviously, facing only 11 shots. But he made a heckuva save with the game scoreless 55 seconds in to rob Matt Berry. Haula scored the game’s first goal 30 seconds later.
Wilcox is smooth and aggressive playing the puck – maybe too aggressive. Lucia said there were probably three icings waved off because he came out to play the puck, something the coaches will talk to him about. But Wilcox, like Michael Shibrowski the night before, looked good.
Like I said, this team is deep. I mean, last night defenseman Jake Parenteau played wing and threw his weight around impressively. Tonight, Holl plays wing and gets two assists, and frankly, looked great there.
So it’ll be interesting to see what 22 players Lucia decided to take to Houghton.
Isackson continues to impress. Ryan Reilly looked terrific in his college debut. Skjei and Mike Reilly continue to look outstanding on the back end.
Pretty good stuff so far.
After two games, Budish leads the team with four points. Bjugstad, Haula, Isackson and Rau have three each, while Mike Reilly, Ben Marshall, Seth Ambroz, Nate Condon, Sam Warning, Skjei and Holl have two points each.
The Wild's season opener was scrapped for some reason tonight, but the Houston Aeros dropped their opener, 3-1, to Charlotte. Jonas Brodin scored his first professional goal.
I didn't see the second and third periods, but I watched the first and the Aeros' first line looked to be creating chances, but Justin Peters kept stoning them. Not sure what happened late, but the game was scoreless into the third.

Here were the Aeros lines:

Coyle – Granlund – Zucker
Foucault – Phillips – Fontaine
Bulmer – Larsson - Palmieri
Broda – Rau – McMillan

Brodin - Scandella
Kampfer - Connelly
Bagnall - Cuma

Hackett started in net

Kuemper backed up

How deep are the Aeros? Fredheim, Genoway, McIntyre and Palmer were scratched!


Minnesota 14 2nd Qtr 3:25
Miami 7
Baltimore 0 2nd Qtr 6:30
Houston 6
Detroit 7 2nd Qtr 4:00
Chicago 0
Cleveland 3 2nd Qtr 2:36
Carolina 3
Atlanta 6 2nd Qtr 6:12
New Orleans 7
Green Bay 10 2nd Qtr 4:55
Tampa Bay 0
Kansas City 6 2nd Qtr 3:50
Pittsburgh 10
New England 7 2nd Qtr 2:33
NY Jets 7
NY Giants 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Seattle 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
New York 2:30 PM
Memphis 3:30 PM
Boston 5:00 PM
Detroit 5:00 PM
LA Lakers 5:00 PM
Philadelphia 5:00 PM
Phoenix 5:00 PM
Indiana 6:00 PM
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Colorado 5:00 PM
Dallas 5:00 PM
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 29 2nd Half
Army 29
Ferris State 37 2nd Half
Bowling Green 36
San Francisco 32 2nd Half 18:57
Cleveland State 28
Oregon State 33 2nd Half 14:13
Quinnipiac 37
Coastal Carolina 19 1st Half 2:23
Central Arkansas 25
Holy Cross 2 1st Half 18:40
Canisius 0
Southern Miss 0 1st Half 18:54
Georgia State 2
Western Carolina 0 1st Half 19:38
UNC-Asheville 0
Creighton 3 1st Half 16:37
North Texas 6
Maryland 0 1st Half 20:00
Oklahoma State 0
Cornell 0 1st Half 18:43
Radford 2
Vermont 1 1st Half 18:00
Saint Louis 4
Loyola-Maryland 3 1st Half 18:10
Stony Brook 0
Reinhardt 1:00 PM
Ark-Little Rock 4 1st Half 16:33
Green Bay 8
TX-Pan American 6 1st Half 17:00
Nebraska Omaha 9
Alabama State 0 1st Half 20:00
Evansville 0
FIU 1:30 PM
Goshen 1:35 PM
Bryant 2:00 PM
Austin Peay 2:00 PM
Tennessee St 2:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
South Dakota 2:00 PM
ULM 2:00 PM
Coker 2:30 PM
South Carolina
USC 3:00 PM
Boston College
Northern Ariz 3:00 PM
SD Christian 3:00 PM
San Diego
UC Irvine 3:30 PM
Troy 3:30 PM
Seton Hall 5:00 PM
Appalachian St 5:30 PM
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Kent State
San Jose St 6:00 PM
Washington St
Alcorn State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Sacramento St 9:00 PM
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 55 FINAL
Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 24 2nd Half 16:03
(1) South Carolina 51
Fairleigh Dickinson 45 2nd Half 13:19
Brown 44
Buffalo 39 2nd Half 17:57
Long Island 33
Bucknell 41 2nd Half 14:54
Mount St Marys 30
Stony Brook 40 2nd Half 17:37
Wagner 35
FIU 45 2nd Half 16:00
Wofford 33
Duquesne 21 2nd Half
Providence 25
Maine 33 2nd Half 13:27
William & Mary 33
Alabama State 20 2nd Half 17:55
Samford 31
TX-Pan American 28 2nd Half 17:47
VA Commonwealth 38
South Dakota St 44 2nd Half 15:46
Marist 47
Saint Josephs 31 2nd Half 12:45
(5) Notre Dame 51
Radford 29 2nd Half 17:55
Virginia Tech 32
(3) Texas 22 1st Half 4:20
(4) Texas A&M 28
Rhode Island 23 1st Half 2:43
Bryant 18
NC A&T 1:00 PM
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Iowa State
Richmond 1:00 PM
Eastern Kentucky
Kent State 1:00 PM
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
NJIT 1:00 PM
Davidson 1:00 PM
South Florida 4 1st Half 18:06
Penn State 2
Sam Houston St 4 1st Half 16:39
Evansville 0 1st Half 18:33
(14) Maryland 9 1st Half 16:54
Coppin State 5
Mercer 6 1st Half 18:06
Coll of Charleston 0
Princeton 0 1st Half 20:00
Monmouth 0
Eastern Illinois 4 1st Half 17:49
Lehigh 2
Rider 2 1st Half 17:14
Binghamton 4
SC State 0 1st Half 19:33
Clemson 0
Cleveland State 12 1st Half 14:35
Morehead St 9
South Alabama 5 1st Half 14:59
UAB 13
Youngstown St 9 1st Half 14:45
Pittsburgh 12
Indiana State 1:30 PM
St Johns
Southern U 1:30 PM
Wright State 1:30 PM
(19) Oklahoma St 2:00 PM
Houston 2:00 PM
Texas Tech
Ark-Little Rock 2:00 PM
Dayton 2:00 PM
Northern Ariz 2:00 PM
New Mexico
UNC-Asheville 2:00 PM
USC Upstate
North Dakota 2:00 PM
South Dakota
Western Ill 2:00 PM
Elon 2:00 PM
(6) North Carolina
Ball State 2:00 PM
Western Ky
(8) Kentucky 2:00 PM
(13) Duke
New Orleans 2:00 PM
Chicago State 2:00 PM
Bowling Green 2:00 PM
Ill-Springfield 2:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Northern Ill 2:00 PM
Northern Iowa
(23) Iowa 2:05 PM
Central Michigan 2:30 PM
Western Carolina 2:30 PM
North Florida
Wyoming 3:00 PM
Portland 3:00 PM
Boise State
Cal Poly 3:00 PM
Colorado State
No Dakota State 3:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Albany 3:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Oklahoma 3:00 PM
Idaho State 3:00 PM
(18) Michigan State 3:00 PM
(19) Syracuse
Northwestern 3:30 PM
Arizona State
TX-Arlington 3:30 PM
North Texas
Fresno State 4:00 PM
St Francis-PA 4:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
UNLV 4:00 PM
UCLA 4:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
(10) Louisville 4:00 PM
(24) California
Howard 5:00 PM
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
(21) Miss State
Illinois-Chicago 8:30 PM
Old Dominion
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters


Gophers Football 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 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon




question of the day

Poll: How much do you like the Gophers going to the Citrus Bowl?

Weekly Question