Freshman class living up to Gophers hockey hype by scoring

  • Article by: JASON GONZALEZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 15, 2013 - 12:01 PM

The Gophers’ seven freshmen have recorded nearly half the team’s goals.

 

The holiday season of 2011 delivered seven special gifts to Don Lucia and the Gophers men’s hockey staff. Each gift unique in its own way, some big, some small, others fast. The total package, though, had makings of something exceptional.

Hudson Fasching, Justin Kloos, Taylor Cammarata, Vinni Lettieri, Gabe Guertler, Michael Brodzinski and Jake Bischoff all verbally committed to the Gophers before Christmas 2011, and expectations have been building ever since for their freshman season.

The group had local, national and international success, and they would be counted on to build on that success in a college. Nearly two years after their commitments, the group finally is getting a chance to show what all the hype was about.

“To be honest, I think we were a little bit fortunate that it was such a good class,” said Grant Potulny, Gophers assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. “We had to put a lot of work into these guys on the front end. That was the year we went to the Frozen Four, and we had all those guys committed by Christmas.”

It’s early, but what the freshmen have done through eight games indicates they might be one of the top classes recruited by the Gophers. They collected a combined 39 points in the first month of the season, 16 goals and 23 assists, to account for 40 percent of the Gophers’ points. The 16 goals are 45 percent of the scoring.

Add redshirt freshman Connor Reilly, and those numbers jump to 43 and 48 percent.

Freshmen scored all five goals in last Saturday’s 5-4 victory over No. 4-ranked Notre Dame to salvage a series split. Fasching and Cammarata each had three-point weekends. Fasching was named the Big Ten third star of the week for his efforts. Kloos was one of the conference stars the second week of the season.

“We touched on when the year began, they were going to be put in roles to have success, and were they going to be able to do that early in their careers?” Lucia said. “If they did, we were going to have a better chance to win games and that’s what’s happened so far.”

Speaking parts

The unofficial leaders of the freshman class were introduced to media for the first time this week, revealing that they are just as sharp in front of microphones as they are with pucks on their sticks. The first month of the season, the freshmen had to speak through their actions. Team rules restricted media access to the newcomers as they got acclimated to the college game and returning players settled into leadership roles.

Fasching’s youth came through in a nervous laugh when responding to a compliment. Then he was business, as usual. His responses were direct and thoughtful.

Kloos’ leadership was evident with his first few words. He said it’s still early to assume how good this group will be in the long run.

Cammarata explained the unity and humility of the freshman class. Despite their impressive early stats, he said the young group mostly stays quiet and absorbs everything happening around them.

During the stretch of freshman silence with the media, the Gophers upperclassmen routinely praised the contributions of their new teammates. Senior co-captain Nate Condon said that “it’s a surprise’’ to get the sort of offensive production the team has gotten from the likes of Kloos, Hudson and Cammarata.

“But it’s a surprise we’ll take,’’ Condon added.

In return, Hudson, Kloos and Cammarata said the Gophers veterans have been an integral part of the newcomers’ success.

Fasching said he’s just there to clean up after his skilled junior linemates Kyle Rau and Sam Warning.

“We’ve got a lot of good seniors and a lot of good juniors that really showed us the ropes and help us all [acclimate] to being here,” Fasching said. “We’re still the supporting cast.”

The supporting cast includes three (Hudson, Kloos, Cammarata) of the Gophers’ top five points leaders.

Lettieri, Guertler and Reilly will see a lot of minutes up front and should be in the lineup most nights, Potulny said.

Brodzinski and Bischoff already are succeeding as Gophers defensemen who score often, and will be required to play a big role in special teams.

“A lot of us came in wanting to be able to fill [the NHL signees’] roles. I think that might be a little bit of a stretch ’cause those [five] are all guys that signed professional contracts and I don’ think any of us freshmen are ready to do that,” Kloos said.

“So we might have felt a little bit of pressure, but we understand we’re different hockey players, so we’re going to fill a different role that the team needs.”

It appears, so far, that their major role is to pile up points.

 

  • related content

  • Gophers women's hockey winning streak evokes wonder and worry

    Friday November 15, 2013

    History hangs in the balance every time the Gophers women's hockey team gets on the ice. Its 61-game winning streak is the longest in major college hockey, men’s or women’s.

  • Video: Freshman Kloos gives credit to Gophers upperclassmen

    Thursday November 14, 2013

    Freshman forward Justin Kloos is the Gophers' third-best scorer and scored three points last weekend at Notre Dame.

  • The Gophers’ seven high-scoring freshmen at a recent practice, from left, Gabe Guertier, Michael Brodzinski, Taylor Cammarata, Hudson Fasching, Vinni Letteri, Jake Bischoff and Justin Kloos.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 17 FINAL
New England 9
Cleveland 10 FINAL
Baltimore 20
Dallas 44 FINAL
Washington 17
Indianapolis 27 FINAL
Tennessee 10
Jacksonville 17 FINAL
Houston 23
San Diego 7 FINAL
Kansas City 19
NY Jets 37 FINAL
Miami 24
Chicago 9 FINAL
Minnesota 13
Philadelphia 34 FINAL
NY Giants 26
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Tampa Bay 20
Carolina 17 2nd Qtr 1:54
Atlanta 3
Detroit 0 2nd Qtr 2:00
Green Bay 14
Oakland 7 2nd Qtr 2:44
Denver 17
Arizona 10 2nd Qtr 1:35
San Francisco 13
St. Louis 6 2nd Qtr 0:53
Seattle 0
Cincinnati 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/4/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Detroit 50 3rd Qtr
Cleveland 47
Houston 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Oklahoma City 6:30 PM
Dallas
New York 8:00 PM
Portland
Toronto 8:00 PM
Denver
Phoenix 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Toronto 0 1st Prd 3:20
Florida 0
Vancouver 7:00 PM
Anaheim
Tulane 57 FINAL
St Johns 82
Central Conn St 48 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Iona 81 FINAL
Drexel 62
Concordia (MI) 42 FINAL
Eastern Mich 100
Harvard 46 FINAL
Arizona State 56
Longwood 64 FINAL
Ball State 69
Sacred Heart 76 FINAL
Brown 79
Colgate 64 FINAL
Columbia 69
MD-Eastern Shore 78 FINAL
Duquesne 69
UNC Greensboro 50 FINAL
East Carolina 71
Marist 64 FINAL
Elon 69
NJIT 71 FINAL
Lafayette 76
Cincinnati Christian 58 FINAL
Liberty 78
Morgan State 53 FINAL
Marquette 81
Campbell 56 FINAL
Samford 65
Bucknell 71 FINAL
Siena 73
Long Beach State 67 FINAL
Syracuse 85
Coppin State 80 FINAL
Evansville 85
UMKC 73 FINAL
Indiana State 70
Hofstra 88 FINAL
Long Island 62
Coast Guard 48 FINAL
Army 93
Thomas (GA) 48 FINAL
High Point 85
Texas Southern 58 FINAL
Kansas State 56
Rutgers 59 FINAL
Monmouth 58
NC Wesleyan 54 FINAL
NC A&T 58
South Dakota St 63 FINAL
Northern Iowa 74
Central Penn College 69 FINAL
Radford 119
Bowling Green 79 FINAL
South Florida 70
Harris-Stowe 66 FINAL
SE Missouri St 94
Robert Morris-IL 56 FINAL
SIU Edwardsville 104
Northland College 59 FINAL
North Dakota St 83
Milwaukee 60 FINAL
South Dakota 84
Northwestern St 92 FINAL
Arkansas 100
Saint Peters 43 2nd Half 1:48
Cornell 42
St Katherine 62 FINAL
Fresno State 93
Haskell 37 2nd Half 4:11
Oral Roberts 83
Wake Forest 53 2nd Half 4:46
Richmond 51
Fla Gulf Coast 43 2nd Half 9:25
Xavier 58
SD Christian 39 2nd Half 3:10
Northern Ariz 67
Judson 22 2nd Half
IUPU-Ft Wayne 44
Ill-Chicago 21 1st Half 5:58
Bradley 18
Loyola-Maryland 19 1st Half 2:17
Fairfield 21
Miss Valley St 25 1st Half 4:04
Houston 33
Lehigh 21 1st Half 5:30
UMBC 24
Delaware State 16 1st Half 2:59
Temple 24
Belmont 5:00 PM
Butler
Howard 5:00 PM
Fordham
NW Christian 5:00 PM
Nevada
UC Davis 5:00 PM
Washington St
Abilene Christian 5:00 PM
Grand Canyon
UCLA 5:30 PM
Alabama
Stony Brook 7:00 PM
Washington
Buffalo 7:00 PM
Wisconsin
CS-Bakersfield 9:00 PM
California
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
Toledo 1/4/15 8:00 PM
Arkansas State
Drexel 71 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 54
Holy Cross 63 FINAL
Norfolk State 62
East Carolina 62 FINAL
South Florida 69
(10) Oregon State 63 FINAL
(8) Tennessee 74
Providence 51 FINAL
Boston College 79
Florida A&M 47 FINAL
Miami-Florida 83
Oakland 69 FINAL
Central Michigan 74
Chattanooga 59 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 49
Fairfield 59 FINAL
La Salle 73
St Francis-PA 59 FINAL
Pittsburgh 97
Milwaukee 72 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 78
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Longwood 63
New Hampshire 58 FINAL
Manhattan 54
Bucknell 68 FINAL
Binghamton 57
Northeastern 70 FINAL
Albany 67
George Mason 70 FINAL
Towson 72
Richmond 59 FINAL
William & Mary 56
Tulane 60 FINAL
Cincinnati 50
North Florida 51 FINAL
Florida 63
(14) Georgia 51 FINAL
Seton Hall 70
Tennessee St 75 FINAL
(12) Kentucky 87
American Univ 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 77
Massachusetts 78 FINAL
Boston U 57
Quinnipiac 69 FINAL
Saint Josephs 67
Lafayette 49 FINAL
Saint Peters 34
Northwestern 61 FINAL
(20) Michigan State 57
Duquesne 82 FINAL
Lehigh 75
George Washington 72 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 49
(17) Rutgers 66 FINAL
Indiana 51
(24) Green Bay 66 FINAL
Dayton 72
Western Mich 55 FINAL
Stony Brook 59
Davidson 67 FINAL
Virginia 57
UNC Greensboro 61 FINAL
LSU 82
Denver 63 FINAL
North Texas 55
VA Commonwealth 63 FINAL
Coppin State 52
Huston-Tillotson 36 FINAL
Houston Baptist 86
Lamar 63 FINAL
Rice 97
Miss Valley St 40 FINAL
Alabama 71
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 49
Middle Tennessee 98 FINAL
Tenn Tech 76
Penn State 52 FINAL
(23) Iowa 77
Purdue 62 FINAL
Illinois 55
DePaul 99 FINAL
Illinois State 62
Sam Houston St 46 FINAL
Wichita State 70
South Dakota 76 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 69
(4) Notre Dame 63 2nd Half 7:59
UCLA 48
Coll of Charleston 44 2nd Half 3:11
SC State 56
Alcorn State 43 2nd Half 5:23
Texas-El Paso 45
Dartmouth 67 2nd Half 2:30
Niagara 61
Colgate 25 2nd Half 19:35
Siena 31
Michigan 39 2nd Half 5:51
Wisconsin 50
Fla Gulf Coast 34 2nd Half
CS-Northridge 29
Yale 22 2nd Half 20:00
(25) Arizona State 34
UC Santa Barbara 13 2nd Half
(16) Stanford 39
Long Island 28 1st Half 4:50
Long Beach St 14
Jackson State 15 1st Half 6:58
Louisiana 22
Eureka 3 1st Half 17:43
Western Ill 10
Cornell 5:00 PM
(22) Syracuse
Temple 7:30 PM
Memphis
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

<
Gophers Football 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 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What's your favorite Gophers football uniform colors?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close