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 beat Notre Dame, now look to climb up the WCHA standings

Posted by: Michael Russo under Gophers postgame Updated: January 9, 2013 - 7:54 AM
 
The No. 1-ranked Gophers finished their non-conference portion of the schedule with an 8-0 record by beating No. 2-ranked Notre Dame 4-1 tonight at Mariucci Arena.
 
Not a good couple days for the Fighting Irish, first getting spanked in the BCS championship by Alabama, then this. The Gophers’ student section, which was particularly mean tonight (and I mean that with respect; I wish a lot of the Gophers’ atmosphere would filter into the X for Wild games), started to chant “ALABAMA” in the waning minutes.
 
I got a chuckle out of it at least.
 
With Erik Haula hurt, Nate Condon moved to second-line center and looked like a natural. He did grow up playing the position, was great in all three zones and continues to dazzle at times with his lights-out speed. He played between Sam Warning and captain Zach Budish, and all three had a goal and assist.
 
Christian Isackson scored a filthy, filthy third goal by going backhand, top shelf after A.J. Michaelson impressively muscled a defender off the puck after an gritty forecheck. It was a 3MKDDfiOxs&feature=youtu.be">SportsCenter Top 10 as you can see here, and look even makes a cameo (courtesy of @cjzero on Twitter).
 
Adam Wilcox was awesome as usual, making 22 saves and now has the second-best winning percentage in Division I college hockey (.806). His 1.60 goals against average is sixth.
 
It was a defensive struggle. The Gophers played a patient game and were able to because they played with the lead all game (12-0-3 when they score first). Also, the Irish hadn’t played in 24 days, so they weren’t sharp early.
 
“It was a little closer checking than maybe I might have expected,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. “We started off a little slow.”
 
Now that the 14-3-3 Gophers are done with the non-conference games, it’s time for them to gain some ground in the WCHA standings. The Gophers are No. 1 in the nation yet sixth in the WCHA out of 12 teams. Yes, they have two games in hand and are only four points back of Nebraska-Omaha, but still sixth.
 
“Now we’ve got to get back into the league,” Don Lucia said.
 
It was a family affair for the Lucias tonight. Not only did Don face off vs. Mario in the game, he was honored pregame for his 600th win back on Oct. 20 at Michigan Tech. His entire family was on the bench in a feel good moment.
 
Lucia said he didn’t know about it and didn’t want it, but he got grief from his wife when he got home today. The family asked the ceremony to be put off until the entire family was in town. Daughter Ali is back for the first time since September from Virginia, so the Lucias will have their family Christmas Wednesday.
 
On Mario’s play after coming back from world juniors in Russia, Jackson said, “He didn’t look bad. He just probably needed to be a little stronger over the puck in some instances, but I thought he played well.”
 
Lucia will give the Gophers Wednesday off in preparation for their weekend series vs. Alaska Anchorage. The Gophers hadn’t played since pounding Boston College on Dec. 30, so Lucia has been practicing them a lot lately and he felt some of the players were sluggish tonight and didn’t have their legs.
 
Check out the game story on www.startribune.com/gophers for the rest of the details.
 
This was my swan song. Now that the Wild is back, I am returning to that beat.
 
I had a blast covering the Gophers during the lockout and it’ll be difficult to just turn it off, so I plan to continue to at least come to as many games as I can just to watch. Don Lucia, Mike Guentzel and Grant Potulny were awesome to deal with, as well as hockey SID Brian Deutsch.
 
But it’s time to me to return full-time to the Wild.

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Arrieta 2 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: D. Axelrod 7
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 3
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 4
Tampa Bay - LP: K. Yates 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 5
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Danks 2
Minnesota - WP: A. Swarzak 11 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: B. Chen 5
Texas - LP: R. Mendez 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 4
Oakland - LP: R. Cook 3 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: F. Salas 4
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 23 FINAL
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 35
Kansas City 14 FINAL
Green Bay 34
NY Jets 7 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
St. Louis 13 FINAL
Miami 14
Carolina 10 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
New England 13 FINAL
NY Giants 16
Washington 24 FINAL
Tampa Bay 10
Baltimore 22 FINAL
New Orleans 13
Chicago 13 FINAL
Cleveland 33
Denver 27 FINAL
Dallas 3
Minnesota 19 FINAL
Tennessee 3
San Francisco 40 FINAL
Houston 13
Arizona 9 FINAL
San Diego 12
Seattle 31 FINAL
Oakland 41
(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
BYU 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
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
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
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
Florida
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
Texas
(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
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT