Three juniors not talking yet about whether they will stay with U hockey or turn pro

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 30, 2013 - 12:29 AM

The upset loss could mark the final Gophers game for three juniors: Nick Bjugstad, center Erik Haula and defenseman Nate Schmidt.

 

– His emotions still raw, Nick Bjugstad sat glumly at his locker Friday after the Gophers’ 3-2 overtime loss to Yale in the NCAA West Regional. He hadn’t taken off his uniform, even though the game had ended half an hour earlier.

The upset loss could mark the final Gophers game for three juniors: Bjugstad, center Erik Haula and defenseman Nate Schmidt. All said after the game that they have not decided whether to return for their senior seasons or sign pro contracts. Another junior, winger and team captain Zach Budish, said he will be back.

It has been widely speculated that Bjugstad, chosen 19th overall by Florida in the 2010 NHL draft, would turn pro after this season. Friday, all he could think about was his disappointment at the Gophers’ hasty exit from the NCAA tournament.

“This was one of the best years of my life,’’ said Bjugstad, who finished the season with a team-high 21 goals and was the Gophers’ third-leading scorer with 36 points. “This is the best group of guys I’ve ever been with.

“I don’t even want to think about [leaving the team] right now. I get choked up just thinking about it. I love these guys. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.’’

Haula, a seventh-round pick by the Wild in the 2009 draft, and Schmidt also were emotional after the game. Haula assisted on both of the Gophers’ goals Friday, giving him a career-high and team-best 51 points. “I haven’t really had time to think about anything except this week,’’ he said.

Schmidt, considered one of the top undrafted college prospects this year, said the same. “I haven’t thought much about it,’’ he said. “Right now, I’m part of the Gophers.’’

 

Another look

While many Gophers said they did not see Yale’s winning goal, Bulldogs coach Keith Allain got a great view. In fact, he predicted what would happen nine seconds into overtime.

Allain said that when Kenny Agostino tracked the Gophers’ Ben Marshall, he knew Agostino was going to force a turnover behind the Gophers’ net. “He put such great pressure on the D,’’ Allain said of Agostino. “He had him at an angle where I knew the guy was in trouble. He not only forced the turnover, he made a nice play to get the puck to [Jesse] Root across the front of the net.’’

The Gophers repeatedly said they were stunned by how quickly Root scored. Yale’s Andrew Miller was not surprised. “We have a pretty potent offense,’’ he said. “That’s hockey. Everything happens quick. You’ve got to be on your game, especially in overtime.’’

 

Not quite a crowd

Attendance for Friday’s games was announced at 2,289, with large swaths of empty seats in an arena that seats 12,000. Gophers coach Don Lucia expected low attendance and had even cautioned his players not to be distracted by the minuscule crowd.

Attendance clearly was hampered by the lack of a local team. Michigan, the host school, did not make the NCAA tournament for the first time after 22 consecutive appearances. Western Michigan, located 50 miles away in Kalamazoo, barely missed the field. The Broncos finished No. 16 in the PairWise Rankings; the top 15 got automatic or at-large bids.

This was the first time since 1979 that no team from Michigan made the NCAA tournament.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - M. Pineda 12:07 PM
Toronto - D. Hutchison
Detroit - M. Scherzer 12:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Sale
Chicago Cubs - F. Doubront 1:15 PM
St. Louis - J. Masterson
Cincinnati - A. Simon 3:05 PM
Pittsburgh - V. Worley
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(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 35 FINAL
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 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 20 4th Qtr 9:30
UCF 17
Troy 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 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
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Colorado 3:00 PM
Seattle
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
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
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
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

 
Close