USA youngsters surprise Gophers with tie

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 27, 2012 - 8:45 AM

Vinni Lettieri was in Nebraska preparing to take a road trip this weekend to Youngstown and Indianapolis with the USHL Lincoln Stars.

Instead, the former Minnetonka Skippers forward got a call out of the blue to pack his bags and join the USA Under-18 National Team for a weekend series at the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas.

Friday night, Lettieri -- the grandson of former Gophers defenseman and North Stars player, coach and general manager Lou Nanne and the son of former Minnesota Kicks and Strikers goalkeeper Tino Lettieri -- suited up in red, white and blue in an exhibition game against the Gophers.

In front of his grandpa and father, his screaming mother, Michelle, uncle Marty and cousin Tyler, Lettieri scored the game's first goal and was plus-2 in a surprising 2-2 tie with the Gophers, the team he has verbally committed to play for.

"I just kept thinking about [playing for the Gophers]," said Lettieri, 17, who hopes to wear maroon and gold next season. "Not a lot of people get to do this. It was an experience I'll never forget."

Wearing No. 23 -- his grandfather's old North Stars number -- Lettieri buzzed all night on a line with Connor Hurley, a fellow injury replacement from Edina High School whom the Gophers are recruiting.

Lettieri, who hasn't scored in six games for the Stars, buried Hurley's pass so hard, it's amazing he didn't rip a hole through the twine. The goal came an instant after Lettieri crushed defenseman Jake Parenteau behind the net and one shift after Seth Helgeson clobbered Lettieri in the corner.

That impressed Lou Nanne more than the goal.

"I liked that," Nanne said. "He's a finesse player. He's skilled with his hands and shooting. But that's what he's developing. He's learning to take the body more, which is really good."

Thirty-three seconds later, Tyler Motte scored a breakaway goal. But the Gophers rallied for two goals in the second in large part because of a five-minute major on Mike McCarron.

Late on the power play, Tom Serratore whistled a bullet through an A.J. Michaelson screen before Nick Bjugstad tied the score late off a beautiful feed from Justin Holl.

The Gophers outshot the team made up of high-schoolers 20-5 in the second and 41-29 in the game. Goalie Thatcher Demko, uncommitted to college, was terrific with 39 saves, robbing the Gophers left and right, especially Bjugstad on a third-period breakaway. Coach Don Lucia was happy with Michael Shibrowski's 27-save effort.

Friday provided Gophers fans a look at Hudson Fasching, weeks from signing a letter of intent with the Gophers. But the former Apple Valley standout didn't play in the third after appearing to be dazed after a hard hit from Serratore.

"We don't know if he's OK yet," coach Don Granato said.

The Gophers also lost Parenteau in the third after he was struck by a shot on the knee. Lucia said he thinks it's just a bruise. The Gophers host Canisius at 1 p.m. Sunday. Defenseman Mark Alt and forward Kyle Rau will return from injury, while defenseman Brady Skjei will miss the game.

"The most important thing [Friday] was just to continue the evaluation process with some of our guys," Lucia said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 102 FINAL
New York 91
Oklahoma City 114 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Cleveland 91 FINAL
Miami 101
LA Lakers 30 2nd Qtr 7:04
Chicago 43
Golden State 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
DePaul 69 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 72
Ohio 58 FINAL
Nebraska 71
Colorado 66 FINAL
Hawaii 69
George Washington 8:00 PM
Wichita State
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
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
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

<
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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What's your favorite Gophers football uniform colors?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close