Scoggins: Gophers need to finish the job in Frozen Four final

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 12, 2014 - 12:27 AM

– Don Lucia brought only one tie with him to the Frozen Four. It’s the same one he wore when his Gophers hockey team won back-to-back national championships in 2002 and ’03.

He’s kept that tie in his closet since. Until he packed for Philadelphia.

“I’m not superstitious,” he said, smiling as he walked through the locker room Friday morning.

Of course he is. Lucia also showed up to a news conference at the start of this NCAA tournament wearing his 2003 national championship ring. He casually played it off (wink, wink).

The message and symbolism behind those calculated gestures seem unmistakable: This Gophers team is deep enough and talented enough and tough enough to finish the season in the same spot as those other teams, as national champions.

Here’s their opportunity. Now they have to take it.

“It’s in our hands,” senior Jake Parenteau said.

Still a little sleep-deprived, the Gophers were beginning to emerge from the euphoric fog that engulfed their team and fan base after a stunning finish in a 2-1 victory against North Dakota in the semifinals Thursday night.

Justin Holl’s goal with sixth-tenths of a second remaining will go down as one of the most dramatic moments in the program’s storied tradition. It became a real-life script that hockey players can only dream about as Mites and Squirts.

That shouldn’t be the highlight of the Gophers trip, though. If that joyous moment ultimately stands as the pinnacle, the view of this season won’t look nearly the same upon reflection.

The Gophers have enjoyed a terrific season to date, no question. But will it become a special season, a championship season? That’s the question they must answer by how they respond in the national title game against Union on Saturday night.

“When you wake up and realize you get to play for a national title,” junior Kyle Rau said, “you better get your mind ready to go, because if not, you’re going to come out and lay an egg.”

The Gophers have been the best team in college hockey this season. They’ve lost only six games and been ranked No. 1 nationally for 17 weeks. They have speed and depth in their lineup, and there’s not a better goalie in college hockey than Adam Wilcox.

“Obviously, we’ve been No. 1 for most of the season, so we’ve been expected to play at the end of the season,” senior Nate Condon said. “Things haven’t really changed around us. We’ve been expected to win championships all year. We’re here now, so we might as well win it.”

Union, which does not offer scholarships, won’t be a pushover. The Dutchman have won 31 games and posted a 16-1-2 record against ranked teams. They’re not in the championship game by fluke.

The Gophers have a more complete team, but they’ll have to earn it. And they’ll have to play better than they did against North Dakota.

Strip away all the emotion and the Gophers recognize that North Dakota took it to them at different times, particularly in the third period. North Dakota finished with more shots and scoring chances, but Wilcox kept his team afloat until Holl’s heroics.

Lucia felt some of his freshmen played “tentative” and lacked their usual speed. He also admitted he felt “fortunate in some regards” that the game didn’t have a different outcome.

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NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati 2 Bottom 7th Inning
Pittsburgh 3
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
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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
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 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 17 3rd Qtr 7:44
(2) Alabama 27
Rice 10 3rd Qtr 1:45
(17) Notre Dame 31
(10) South Dakota St 18 3rd Qtr 0:15
(24) Missouri 28
Fla Atlantic 7 3rd Qtr 7:51
(22) Nebraska 38
California 31 3rd Qtr 2:31
Northwestern 14
Marshall 28 3rd Qtr 8:35
Miami-Ohio 13
UC Davis 0 3rd Qtr 11:51
(11) Stanford 38
Arkansas 21 3rd Qtr 11:41
(6) Auburn 21
(16) Clemson 7 1st Qtr 6:43
(12) Georgia 0
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
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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
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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
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 2 2nd Half
Toronto FC 0
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
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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

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