Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.
A third of the 18 players on the all-USCHO teams are Minnesotans.
USCHO.com is the web site for U.S. College Hockey Online.
On the first team are goalie Eric Hartzell of Quinnipiac from White Bear Lake and forward Danny Kristo of North Dakota from Eden Prairie. Both are seniors.
Two St. Cloud State teammates are on the second team. They are defenseman Nick Jensen of Rogers and Drew LeBlanc of Hermantown. Jensen is a junior, LeBlanc a senior.
On the third team are goalie Brady Hjelle of Ohio State from International Falls and forward Anders Lee of Notre Dame from Edina. Hjelle is a senior, Lee a junior.
The three complete teams:
Goaltender Eric Hartzell, a senior from Quinnipiac
Defenseman Chad Ruhwedel, a junior from Massachusetts-Lowell
Defenseman Jacob Trouba, a freshman from Michigan
Forward Kyle Flanagan, a senior from St. Lawrence
Forward Johnny Gaudreau, a sophomore from Boston College
Forward Danny Kristo, a senior from North Dakota
Goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, a freshman from Massachusetts-Lowell
Defenseman Nick Bailen, a senior from Rensselaer
Defenseman Nick Jensen, a junior from St. Cloud State
Forward Greg Carey, a junior from St. Lawrence
Forward Drew LeBlanc, a senior from St. Cloud State
Forward Steven Whitney, a senior from Boston College
Goaltender Brady Hjelle, a senior from Ohio State
Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, a sophomore from Union
Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, a sophomore from New Hampshire
Forward Corban Knight, a senior from North Dakota
Forward Anders Lee, a junior from Notre Dame
Forward Andrew Miller, a senior from Yale
The Gophers tied St. Cloud State for the MacNaughton Cup but they were shut out from any USCHO honors. Why? The general perception, I have to believe, is that they underachieved.
After going 8-0-0 in nonconference games -- they were the only unbeaten, untied team in the country outside their league -- the Gophers managed to sweep just two series in the WCHA this season and those sweeps came against bottom feeders Alaska Anchorage and, in the last series of the regular season, Bemidji State.
They went into conference play as the overwhelming favorite to win the Cup, but played down to the level of their competition too often. This was a team with six of their top seven scorers returning from a Frozen Four team and their top six defensemen coming back.
The question was in the nets and freshman goalie Adam Wilcox broke the program's single-season record for the lowest goals-against average. Obviously, he had a great year.
The Gophers led the nation in scoring, were always high up in the national polls, but until late in the season were unsure if they had home ice for the first round of the WCHA playoffs because a top six finish in the conference was in doubt.
Then in postseason, they beat Bemidji State twice, but on the bigger stage, did little, losing to Colorado College 2-0 in the Final Five semifinals and to eventual NCAA champion Yale 3-2 in overtime in the West Regional semifinals.
In their last three NCAA appearances, the Gophers have lost to the eventual national champion.
Last year, they fell to Boston College 6-1 in the Frozen Four semifinals in Tampa.
Then, you have to go back four years, to 2008 for their next most recent NCAA trip. They trekked to Worchester, Mass., and lost 5-2 to BC in a regional semifinal. Maybe there is a little solace there. Being taken out by the champs.
But it has been 10 years now since Don Lucia has won a national title. His Gophers were back-to-back champions in 2002 and '03.
This was a veteran, junior-stacked team with the talent to do it.
The American Hockey Coaches Association picks the annual All-America teams, which are listed here.
The USHL's 64-game regular season is over.
And at the top of the scoring list are the three Minnesota players on Waterloo's top line.
Taylor Cammarata, the left winger from Plymouth, finished with 38 goals and 55 assists for 93 points in 59 games. He was a plus-39 and will wear the Gophers' maroon and gold next season. He came within two points of the franchise record for a single season.
He won the USHL scoring titlte by six points over Justin Kloos, of Lakeville.
Kloos, the center, had 29 goals and 58 assists for 87 points in only 54 games. He was a plus-34. Kloos will also play for the Gophers next season. His 58 assists were one shy of the USHL TIer I record.
Both Cammarata and Kloos had 10 power-play goals.
Zach Stepan, of Hastings, the right wing on Kloos' line did pretty well, too. He had 32 goals and 46 assists for 78 points, third in the USHL. He is a cousin of Derek Stepan, who plays for the New York Rangers. Zach Stepan has committed to Ohio State and will join the Buckeyes next season.
Waterloo finished the season in third place in the Western Conference at 39-21-4 (third number is overtime losses) for 82 points -- just one point out of a tie for second. The Black Hawks will play at Fargo on Wednesday in the first round of the USHL playoffs.
The Black Hawks tied the franchise record for victories with 29 after beating Indiana 5-2 on Sunday. They set a franchise record for goals with 273. They are on an eight-game winning streak.
P.K. Handley, Waterloo's coach, marvels at Kloos sometimes. "He has got ways to make plays."
“He is so unselfish with the puck, and obviously he has two unbelievable linemates that have found some chemistry together,” O’Handley was quoted as saying in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. “The great story about Justin is he is so humble. You wouldn’t know he won Minnesota ... anything. [Kloos was Mr. Hockey.] He is a Waterloo Black Hawk and likes being a Black Hawk.
“He could’ve came here with a little chip on his shoulder thinking maybe I should be at Minnesota right now. But he came in with the exact opposite approach that ‘I need to learn everything I can and work as hard as I can on and off the ice.’ I respect how he approached this season. He approached it as a professional, and I think in time he will be one.”
Until midsummer last year, Kloos still had a chance to be a Gopher for the 2012-13 season. His status was dependent on whether Nick Bjugstad turned pro or not. Bjugstad, of course, stayed for his junior year at the U and Kloos joined Waterloo and tore up the league.
What a day for U women's hockey on Tuesday.
Junior forward Amanda Kessel scored the game-winning goal early in the third period as the U.S. beats Canada 3-2 for the gold medal in the Women's World Championship in Ottawa, Ontario.
"I feel like it is revenge," Kessel said, according to a U of M release. "We got beat on our home soil last year. To come into Canada and win the gold medal is unbelievable. We used our speed and worked hard. It gives us great confidence heading to Sochi."
She was speaking of the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, next year.
Senior defenseman Megan Bozek, Kessel's Gopher teammate, had the second U.S. goal. on a 5-on-3 power played, she scored on a slapper. It was her only tournament goal, but she also had two assists.
With the score knotted at 2-all, Kessel carried the puck into the right circle on an odd-man rush, then sniped a shot over one of the Canadian goalie's shoulders.
It was the fifth gold for the U.S. in this tournament.
Kessel was named the U.S. team's player of the game and one of its top three players. She tied for second in tournament scoring with two goals and six assists for eight points.
As for Noora Raty, she was in the nets for Finland in the bronze medal game. The punchless Finns lost 2-0 to Russia.
Raty kept the game scoreless until the third period when the Russians scored when Raty was screened. The second goal was an empty-netter in the last minute.
Raty was named to the media all-star team.
On Monday, Raty made 40 saves as the Finns lost 3-0 to the U.S. in the semifinals. She kept the score 0-0 until the U.S. got a puck past her at 13:55 of the third period. The Americans also scored once more before scoring into an empty net for the third goal.
Shots were 42-11 for the U.S. Raty has to rank as the one of the best women's goalies in the world right now, if not the best. She had an incredible season for the U, too.
The roster for the U.S. team going to the International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Men's World Championships in Sochi, Russia, was released on Monday.
Not that it was much of a secret. It's made up of the players on the U.S. national development program team based in Ann Arbor, Mich.
It has five Minnesotans on it, including one that will be on the Gophers roster next season for sure and one that is a maybe.
The Gophers recruits on the team are forward Hudson Fasching of Burnsville and defenseman Tommy Vannelli of Minnetonka.
Don Lucia's staff is bringing in four or five forwards, including Fasching, and at least one defenseman, and there are at least three candidates there, including Vannelli.
The others are Jack Bischoff of Grand Rapids and Mike Brodzinski of Blaine. Both are playing on USHL teams.
Bischoff for Omaha, Brodzinski for Muskegon. Bischoff has played only 10 games for the Lancers -- he played for his high school. Brodzinski is 10th among D-men in scoring in the USHL with 15 goals and 16 assists for 31 points.
The other Minnesotans going to Sochi are goalie Hunter Miska of North Branch and defensemen Gage Ausmus of East Grand Forks and Clint Lewis of Burnsville.
The U.S. team has won gold medals in this tournament the last four years, so it has quite a run going. Dates this year are April 14-28.
Seth Helgeson came in with a small class of four, including forward Zach Budish who took a medical redshirt year and dropped back a year. Two others left before this season.
But Helgeson leaves as the lone senior on this season's team. And he is headed for a place he wanted to reach.
Helgeson, an alternate captain, has signed an amateur tryout deal with the Albany Devils of the American Hockey League (AHL), according to a U of M news release.
Albany is the AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils, who drafted Helgeson in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft (114th overall).
“I have had four great seasons at the University of Minnesota, and it is a somewhat bittersweet to be moving on,” Helgeson said in the same release. “Wearing the Minnesota jersey was a dream come true for me – one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. At the same time, I am excited to be taking the next step in my career.”
Helgeson was one of the biggest, 6-4, 215. and most durable Gophers.
Helgeson played in 150 games over his career and had 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists). The Faribault, Minn., native played every game of his sophomore, junior and senior seasons and finished with a streak of 122 consecutive games.
“Seth had a great career here at Minnesota, winning two MacNaughton Cups as an upperclassmen,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said. “He has been a great program guy, a leader on and off the ice, and I’m very happy for him.”
A physical defenseman, Helgeson played in 31 games with a goal as a freshman in 2009-10 and upped his offensive production to six assists and seven points as a sophomore. In 2011-12, Helgeson doubled his offensive production from the previous year with 14 points (five goals, nine assists) for his most productive season offensively as the Gophers returned to the NCAA Frozen Four for the 20th time in program history and the first time since 2005.
Helgeson played on the WCHA’s top defense and had five assists as a senior. He led Minnesota in penalties and penalty minutes in each of the past three seasons.
He had 27 penalties, 26 of them minors, for 62 minutes, nearly twice as many penalties as the next highest Gopher.
Best story I remember about Helgeson is from his freshman season.
The Gophers were playign North Dakota at The Ralph in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. The game is near the end and Helgeson scores on a long shot with 7:02 to play in the third period. The goal proves to be the game-winner in a 4-2 win.
It is his first and only goal of the season. Helgeson just smiles all through his postgame interviews. He is so pleased.
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