Gophers hockey still trying to put together lines, special teams

  • Article by: JASON GONZALEZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 5, 2013 - 12:24 AM

Gophers coach Don Lucia has plenty of unanswered questions going into Saturday’s exhibition game.

hide

From left, Sam Warning, Mike Reilly and Christian Isackson return for the U.

Photo: Star Tribune file,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

Line combinations are unsettled and power-play groupings unknown as the Gophers men’s hockey team enters its final week of preparation before next weekend’s regular-season opener.

The uncertainties place extra value on Saturday’s home exhibition game against Lethbridge, a college team from Alberta. Unlike the past two seasons, coach Don Lucia’s picture of how his team will operate still is developing.

Eight freshmen and seven sophomores moving into roles left open from graduations and NHL signings has Lucia unsure what the preseason warm-up will show. Up until Saturday, his on-ice time with the team has been limited to chunks of 30 minutes throughout the week.

“We usually have the power play set and just go,” Lucia said. “Now we’ll just throw pieces of the puzzle on the table and start putting it together. We don’t know who can play with who.”

The Gophers’ seven defensemen have been skating with everyone. The variety has helped team chemistry, sophomore Mike Reilly said.

The unknown also can lead to more individuals stepping up, senior defender Jake Parenteau said. Without several obvious go-to scorers and prominent defensemen, he expects the whole team to be that guy this season.

“It’s kind of open right now,” Reilly said. “We’ve got [Kyle] Rau and [Nate] Condon down the middle, though, and those are two great leaders that are going to be impact players for us. … So I’m looking forward to see who is going to be able to step up and be put in situations maybe they haven’t been in the past.”

The Gophers only will get the one exhibition warm-up. They officially open their season against Mercyhurst next Friday at home.

 

Notes

• An official announcement on the renewal of the Gophers-North Dakota regular-season rivalry could be around the corner. Multiple news outlets recently cited unnamed sources that confirmed a contract beginning with the 2016-2017 season. Lucia said on Big Ten hockey media day it already had been decided the rivalry would return in three years once Notre Dame comes off the Gophers’ schedule. The Gophers athletic department would not confirm the reports.

• Lucia’s participation in Sunday’s Twin Cities Marathon will carry extra significance. His run will help raise money for Defending the Blue Line, which helps provide military children with hockey equipment, money for hockey camps and association fees and NHL game tickets.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 3 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Miami 7 FINAL
Washington 11
Detroit 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Minnesota 6 FINAL
Baltimore 5
NY Yankees 7 FINAL
Houston 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 2
Cincinnati 8 FINAL
LA Angels 6
Chicago Cubs 7 FINAL
Kansas City 0
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
San Francisco 11
Chicago WSox 4 FINAL
Cleveland 1
Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Oakland 7
Seattle 5 FINAL
San Diego 8
Texas 5 FINAL
Los Angeles 10
Colorado 11 FINAL
Arizona 10
Arizona 1 FINAL
Colorado 2
Houston 99 FINAL
Washington 91
LA Lakers 99 FINAL
Brooklyn 107
Minnesota 88 FINAL
New Orleans 110
Philadelphia 86 FINAL
Cleveland 87
Detroit 102 FINAL
Miami 109
LA Clippers 119 FINAL
Boston 106
Dallas 99 FINAL
Indiana 104
Memphis 89 FINAL
San Antonio 103
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Phoenix 97
Washington 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 2
Calgary 5 FINAL
Nashville 2
Boston 2 FINAL(OT)
Carolina 1
Detroit 4 FINAL
NY Islanders 5
Florida 4 FINAL
Ottawa 2
Anaheim 2 FINAL
New Jersey 1
Chicago 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
San Jose 2 FINAL(SO)
Pittsburgh 3
Michigan State 76 FINAL
Louisville 70
Gonzaga 52 FINAL
Duke 66
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Toronto FC 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
(7) Florida State 74 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 80
Villanova 70 FINAL
West Virginia 75
Michigan 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 60
Temple 69 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 57
Siena 50 FINAL
Louisiana 52
St Marys-CA 66 FINAL
UCLA 82
(5) Baylor 68 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 77
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite team in the NCAA men's hockey tournament?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close