Alex Fons, who had been with two North American Hockey League teams this season, has agreed to join the Gophers hockey team.

Fons is 6-1, 185 pounds and played for Hopkins High School last season. He was 11-12-1 for the Royals as a senior with a 3.02 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage.

According to a story on Stauber's Goalcrease web site, Fons had split this NAHL season between Alexandria and Bismarck.

The NAHL web site lists him as playing only for Alexandria. In September and October, he was 1-2-0 in five games for the Blizzard with a 4.09 goals-against average and a .828 save percentage.

Robb Stauber, a former Gophers goalie and later the team's goalie coach, said he has worked with Fons for six, seven year. "Alex is a quality goalie," Stauber said. "He's calm and patient goalie. At least on the outside, he doesn't show it when he gets rattled."

The Gophers had Monday off, which was Martin Luther King Day, and Tuesday off, which was the first day of the spring semester. They return to practice Wednesday.

BARRIBALL NOT BENCHED

A recent blog post implied that Gophers captain Jay Barriball might have been benched on Friday when he missed the end of the first period and all of the second, then played in the third.

On Tuesday, a team representative said Barriball was physically unable to play for part of  the Gophers' 3-2 victory over the Sioux and that there was nothing more to the story.

OK. Eyeonupuk (my twitter handle) must be too suspicious. Eye has been reading a lot of mysteries lately.

THE DON ON RADIO

Tuned in on Monday evening to hear coach Don Lucia on his weekly radio show. Trouble was, there was not a program this week. He was on KFAN on Tuesday morning for a while. Some highlights:

* On recruiting: He drove 1,000 miles the past couple days recruiting.  He still wants to recruit the high-end talend but believes the one-and-done players probably hurt you more than they help. He said he is trying to get a blend, including players who will stay four years.

* On Friday's 3-2 victory: "We answered the bell physically. ... Even on Saturday it was a one-goal game in the third period."

* On unbalanced schedule: Nine of the past 11 games against North Dakota have been at the Ralph in Grand Forks. Partly explaining that is three-game first-round playoff series there last March.

* On special teams: He is not worried so much about the Gophers' power play even though it was 0-for-6 on Saturday. The penalty kill is the biggest area which needs fixing. North Dakota only scored two five-on-five goals.

* On a bye week so soon after the holiday break: Ideally the Gophers would have had their next bye week in early February.

* On skating legs of Erik Haula and Nick Bjugstad, freshmen forwards who played in the World Juniors: Their legs are fine.

* On offense: "We need to score one more goal per game."

 HOW OTHERS SEE GOPHERS

Brad Schlossman, who covers Sioux for Grand Forks Herald, commeting on his blog: One weird part about watching the Gophers is that their defensemen all stayed at home all weekend.
 
Rarely did you see one pinch in or take a chance. They just aren’t very dynamic back there and did whatever they could to avoid a run-and-gun game. Minnesota is going to have to win games with Friday’s style: Don’t make blunders defensively, block shots, be opportunistic on chances and power plays and let Kent Patterson do his thing.
 

KEY STATS 

* The Gophers blocked a season-high 31 shots in beating the Sioux 3-2 on Friday; the number of blocks dropped to 16 on Saturday.

* The Sioux won 40 of 60 faceoffs on Saturday. ... Mike Hoeffel (3-1) was the only Gophers who won more faceoffs than he lost, Taylor Matson (1-9) had the most trouble. ... Friday the overall faceoff numbers were similar. The Sioux won 44, lost 25 faceoffs.

 * Even with Friday's loss, the Sioux are 31-3-5 at home on Fridays since 2007. Wow.