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.

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Budish on the state of Gophers hockey: "Still not clicking" totally

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers, Men's hockey Updated: December 18, 2012 - 1:54 AM

Gophers captain Zach Budish subbed for his coach on the Don Lucia weekly radio show on Monday.

He had his last final on Saturday, so he wasn't busy studying like some of his teammates were. Finals at the U run until Wednesday for some students.

Budish said he was planning on going home to Edina for the rest of the week. The team has been off since last Thursday and won't be back to practice until Christmas night.

Budish is a redshirt junior, in his fourth year of classes at the U. He only has one class in the spring to complete before completing his undergraduate degree in business and marketing education.

"A lot of guys take summer classes," he said. "I took a couple of extra classes when I was hurt."

That was two years ago, when he took a nasty spill on his moped and needed knee surgery.

His plans after college? "I hope to play hockey for few more years," said Budish, who was drafted by Nashville in the second round in 2009. My guess is the 6-3, 214-pound Budish will sign with the Predators after this season and not come back for a fifth year as a redshirt senior. He turns 21 in May.

Budish has five goals and eight assists for 13 points, which ties him for fourth on the team. He has two power-play goals and one game-winner. But he is only a plus-2 after being a plus-20 last season.

He is on about the same scoring pace as he was last season when he had 12 goals and 23 assists for 35 points in 43 games.


Budish said the Gophers held a team meeting on Monday of last week to discuss how the season is going. "We've played good, but we are still not clicking on all cylinders," he said.

The most recent example of that was the U's last game, a 4-4 overtime tie with Colorado College. The Gophers had a 4-1 lead going into the third period.

The Gophers are 11-3-3 after 17 games. Budish called that record pretty good, but "as a group of forwards, we need to find a way to get one more goal a night."

He said the team needs to score more goals 5-on-5, and it can do that if the forwards get to the net more. He tries to that, especially on power plays, to set screens from the Haulas and Bjugstads and Raus.

The Gophers have scored 57 goals, but almost a third (17) have been on the power play. They have only 40 goals at even-strength,  which is sixth in the WCHA. They are averaging 2.35 goals per game at even-strength and exactly 1.00 power-play goals per game.

Colorado College (53), Nebraska Omaha (49) are 1-2 in even-strength goals in the league. Then come North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Denver, bunched at 46, 45 and 44. The Gophers. And then there is a big dropoff to seventh, UMD (31). At the bottom is Alaska Anchorage with 23.


Assistant coach Grant Potulny works with the forwards every week on blocking shots, which they have to do more than in the past.

Budish said when there are ice bags all around the locker room after a game, that's a good sign that the team has played well.

The Gophers are 5-0 in nonconference games, but two, maybe three of their biggest tests are coming up.

In succession, the Gophers play Air Force and Boston College in the Mariucci Classic and Notre Dame on a rare Tuesday game early next month, Jan. 8.

"Air Force and Boston College were both in the NCAA tournament last year," Budish said, "and Notre Dame was a Frozen Four team two years ago."

The Gophers are 6-1-3 in their last 10 games.

A look at the teams with the best nonconference marks. There are three undefeateds left and seven unbeatens:

Gophers 5-0-0

Yale  4-0-1

Cornell 3-0-0

New Hampshire   3-0-1

Miami   3-0-1

Boston College  2-0-0

Minnesota State Mankato  2-0-2


Colgate            6-3-1

St. Lawrence  6-4-0

Union               5-1-1

Northern Michigan   4-1-0

Nebraska Omaha    4-2-0

UMass-Lowell           3-1-0

Holy Cross                 3-1-0

Western Michigan     3-1-0


Zach Budish was the youngest of four boys in family. All the others are a lot older, seven, nine and 11 years.

"All [my brothers] are working in the real world," he said.

But as a youngster, he was their goalie oftentimes. "I grew up wanting to be a goalie," Zach said. "I basically lived at the rink. They have been good for my career."

And they are usually at every Gophers home game.


Asked about the league, Budish said one thing noticeable is how tight it is, a couple of points separate first through sixth.

He called Minnesota State Mankato, the league's surprise team. "They have won seven of their last eight games," Budish said. "They have good coach there who is turning the team around."

On first line right wing Kyle Rau, known for being an instigator. "A couple of times I have asked him to tone it done, and he said, 'I play better when i do that.' ... He is a tough little guy, he gets under other guy's skin."

Budish played right wing on the top line all of last season, but this season he has also played on the second line at times, which is centered by Erik Haula.

"I am a guy who prefers to play with the same guys," Budish said. "[But] I've been playing with Erik Haula a lot, and that's been good for me."

He also has a new role this season, team captain. What does he have to do as a leader? "At the beginning of the year, I had to make sure the freshmen get adjusted well," he said, "as far as school goes, on the ice, and in the community. You have to realize you are being watched wherever you go."


* The Gophers are No. 12 in this week's PairWise ratings, which mimic how the NCAA fills out its tournament field once conference tournaments are done. ... Based on strength of schedule, the U rates only 39th, although that should rise the next couple of weeks.




New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Detroit 69 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Portland 94 FINAL
Cleveland 99
Sacramento 102 FINAL
Toronto 119
Boston 98 FINAL
Minnesota 110
Dallas 94 FINAL
Houston 99
Denver 93 FINAL
New Orleans 85
Brooklyn 102 FINAL
Atlanta 113
Oklahoma City 92 FINAL
New York 100
Charlotte 86 FINAL
San Antonio 95
LA Clippers 94 FINAL
Utah 89
Washington 98 FINAL
Phoenix 106
Toronto 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Chicago 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Temple 86 FINAL
UCF 62
Winthrop 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 68
Lafayette 59 FINAL
Colgate 54
Northeastern 60 FINAL
Drexel 65
Wake Forest 76 FINAL
Florida State 82
Rhode Island 64 FINAL
Fordham 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
James Madison 88
South Carolina 58 FINAL
LSU 64
New Hampshire 63 FINAL
Maine 58
Seton Hall 80 FINAL
Marquette 70
Binghamton 68 FINAL
American Univ 54 FINAL
Navy 64
Elon 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 82
Wright State 76 FINAL
Oakland 84
Minnesota 58 FINAL
Penn State 63
Duquesne 55 FINAL
Richmond 86
South Florida 52
Hartford 66 FINAL
Stony Brook 72
Albany 47 FINAL
Vermont 44
Hofstra 79 FINAL
William & Mary 100
UNC-Asheville 74 FINAL
Longwood 64
Radford 84 FINAL
Char Southern 77
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 73 FINAL
Notre Dame 77
Texas Tech 36 FINAL
Oklahoma 81
Oregon State 55 FINAL
Arizona State 73
Morehead State 82 FINAL
Austin Peay 69
Drake 69 FINAL
Bradley 57
Lehigh 62 FINAL
Bucknell 68
Rice 48 FINAL
Houston 59
Missouri State 57 FINAL
Illinois State 67
Loyola-Chicago 47 FINAL
Wichita State 58
Nebraska Omaha 64 FINAL
South Dakota St 86
Northern Iowa 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
Louisville 81 FINAL
Boston College 72
St Johns 74 FINAL
Creighton 77
East Carolina 58 FINAL
Memphis 70
Georgia Tech 70 FINAL
Miami-Florida 50
Miss State 73 FINAL
Ole Miss 79
Clemson 68 FINAL
NC State 57
Indiana 67 FINAL
Purdue 83
Kansas 64 FINAL
TCU 61
Oregon 56 FINAL
Arizona 90
Air Force 66 FINAL
San Jose St 52
Stanford 84 FINAL
Washington 74
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 76 FINAL
Richmond 62
Eastern Kentucky 53 FINAL
Jacksonville St 73
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
Binghamton 55
Akron 60 FINAL
Ohio U 72
Ball State 72 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 55
Memphis 56 FINAL
Cincinnati 44
East Carolina 32 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 87
Murray State 59 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 75
Kent State 63 FINAL
Central Michigan 65
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 58
Eastern Michigan 56 FINAL
Western Mich 83
Bucknell 61 FINAL
Lehigh 76
Indiana 57 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Colgate 56 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Fordham 66 FINAL
Davidson 45
Duquesne 76 FINAL
St Bonaventure 64
George Mason 66 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 70
Detroit 59 FINAL
Youngstown St 58
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
Tulsa 74
Oklahoma St 54 FINAL
Kansas State 52
West Virginia 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 73
Denver 56 FINAL
South Dakota 82
Northwestern St 46 FINAL
Central Arkansas 63
Austin Peay 67 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 87
Kansas 61 FINAL
Iowa State 56
Bowling Green 50 FINAL
Northern Ill 67
Penn State 64 FINAL
Minnesota 75
San Jose St 80 FINAL
Air Force 83
Boise State 82 FINAL
Colorado State 83
Utah State 51 FINAL
Wyoming 86
San Diego State 50 FINAL
Fresno State 57
Nevada 52 FINAL
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