High scoring top line is clicking for Gophers hockey

  • Article by: JASON GONZALEZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 25, 2013 - 12:26 AM

A big test awaits speedy Kyle Rau and Sam Warning and burly Hudson Fasching.

 

The similarities between Kyle Rau and Sam Warning were too many to ignore. The Gophers forwards recognized a potential chemistry and looked beyond the fact that both played left wing last season, suggesting to coaches that they skate together.

Coach Don Lucia over the years has come to respect players’ suggestions when it comes to linemates. And the coaching staff had always wondered what a combination of Rau and Warning might produce. With the addition of freshman Hudson Fasching, the Gophers’ first line has exceeded expectations the first two weeks.

The trio has 20 points through four games. Warning’s nine points are tied for the NCAA scoring lead.

“I think we are two similar players that think alike,” Rau said. “I could see myself in his shoes and he can do the same, so that helps us together. I’ve noticed it for two years.”

Once the coaching staff determined Rau would move from left wing to center, and freshman Justin Kloos would center the second line, the pieces were in place for the Rau-Warning combination.

Rau to Warning produced Warning’s first goal of the season. Warning has five goals, four assists through the Gophers’ 4-0 start. Rau has one goal, four assists. Fasching has two goals, four assists.

“I think their hockey sense is the first thing that sticks out,” said Grant Potulny, the Gophers assistant coach who works most with forwards. “Obviously their skill set is high, but they all think the game well. Sam is playing at a really high level, and Fasching is at a high level, and Rau hasn’t missed a beat from last year.”

A welcomed third wheel

The big body in the Gophers’ first line is an 18-year-old freshman. Fasching, however, makes you forget about his age. If his 6-foot-2, 207-pound frame doesn’t do it, his ability will.

Warning described his new teammate’s early effort as “unbelievable” and Rau said Fasching doesn’t play like a freshman. Even Lucia has been pleasantly surprised. Fasching impressed Lucia during last summer’s World Juniors camp, and has since shown improvement on offense.

Everything added up to a first-line spot at right wing.

Lucia said Fasching continues to show the coaching staff he might be better than they thought he was. That’s a difficult talk, considering he was recruited with expectations he would fill a first-line role right away. Not only does he provide a big body up front, he’s fast and has good touch around the net.

Per team rules, Fasching because he is a freshman isn’t allowed to speak to media yet. His name is often referenced in interviews, though. The upperclassmen don’t mind speaking about the young forward and expect him to continue to attract attention.

Fasching’s size is a big piece to the success of the first line. His linemates — Rau is 5-8, Warning 5-9 — benefit from his presence in front of the crease. Fasching gets into the dirty areas to make plays and dish to the juniors.

Special chemistry

The Gophers’ top line will get a stiff test this weekend. No. 5 Boston College also has one of the better first lines in college hockey, led by Johnny Gaudreau.

Lucia warns that it’s early to tout the Gophers’ first line as special. Tests against top programs Boston College and Notre Dame the next two series should show where it stands, he said.

Warning said there’s good chemistry among the group, yet room to improve.

During practices the teammates gravitate to one another between drills and communicate well. Those are early signs of a line that is clicking, Potulny said.

“So far, they’re right there [as one of the best],” he said. “I think this weekend will be a great test. I think big-time lines play [their best] in weekends like this. … So I think that’s where we’ll see if they are ready to be that big-time line throughout the year that people talk about.”

The chatter is off to a hot start.

 

Jason Gonzalez • 612-673-4494 Twitter: @JGonStrib

 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Cleveland 11/6/14 7:25 PM
Cincinnati
Memphis 6:00 PM
Indiana
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Chicago
Philadelphia 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
Portland 9:00 PM
Sacramento
San Antonio 9:00 PM
Phoenix
LA Clippers 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Columbus
Los Angeles 6:30 PM
Detroit
Anaheim 7:30 PM
Dallas
Nashville 8:00 PM
Calgary
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 7:02 PM
Memphis
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Memphis 11/7/14 6:30 PM
Temple
Utah State 11/7/14 7:00 PM
Wyoming
(12) Baylor 11/8/14 2:00 AM
(19) Oklahoma
(11) Kansas State 11/8/14 2:00 AM
(10) TCU
Hamilton 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan
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 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 am
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who wins and loses in football this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close