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Game Notes (11/8): Minnesota vs. UND

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11-08-2003, 11:50 PM
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Oilers Chick
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Game Notes (11/8): Minnesota vs. UND

MINNESOTA vs. NORTH DAKOTA:


In a game that started out better for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, ended up becoming a loss (and sweep) that was quite similar to the way last night’s game was played.

Aside from the netminding changes (Freshman Jordan Parise for UND and Junior Justin Johnson for Minnesota), the key change came on the North Dakota blueline. The Fighting Sioux welcomed back their bets offensive defenceman Andy Schneider (PIT). Although, it was previously reported that he had a high ankle sprain, reports out of UND was that Schneider attempted to conceal his injury from his teammates and coach Dean Blais, and that he might have been able to play last night. Schneider’s return would prove to be beneficial to UND, but not necessarily on the scoresheet.

Minnesota came out skating much better than last night. They were also more aggressive in their puck pursuits and forechecked alot more and alot better than they did all of last night. Unfortunately, this great work wouldn’t last the entire game. The game was more physical overall this evening than it was last night. Both teams had some terrific hits dished out.

In the opening stanza, Minnesota was clearly in charge for nearly the entire time. One area where the Gophers were quite successful tonight was on the Power Play. At the 1:59 mark, junior defenceman Andy Schneider (PIT) was off for Interference. At the 3:12 mark, the Gophers would open the scoring by a goal from senior forward Grant Potulny (OTT). It all started on some great hustle by sophomore Gino Guyer (DAL) and Potulny, who used their speed to get into the UND zone. Guyer would get the puck from deep inside the UND zone. He waited for Potulny to get in position before passing it to him in front of the UND net. Potulny then fires it through the 5-hole between Jordan Parise’s pads to make it 1-0 Minnesota. Guyer and freshman forward Ryan Potulny (PHI) would draw the assists on the goal. The tenacious forechecking and hustle to loose pucks by the Gophers was so effective in the 1st period that the Fighting Sioux did not register their first shot on goal until almost 6 minutes in. The Gophers continued to dominant the Fighting Sioux and at the 11:50 mark got themselves another Power Play opportunity thanks to a roughing call on freshman forward Drew Stafford. At the 12:56 mark, the Gophers would once again cash in, on a goal by senior forward Troy Riddle (STL). Riddle retrieved the puck from the corner boards and skated towards the front of the UND net. He then releases a shot that ends up hitting and then rebounding off of the skate of UND’s Schneider before sliding underneath Parise for the goal. Sophomore defenceman Andy Sertich (PIT) drew the lone assist. Everything was going Minnesota’s way until almost the end of the period. At the 18:57 mark, UND sophomore Defenceman Matt Greene (EDM) would notch his first goal of the season. Gophers netminder Justin Johnson made an absolutely horrible clearing attempt up the middle that ends up bouncing off of junior forward Brandon Bochenski (OTT). Bochenski then wheels it over to near the corner boards where he spots an oncoming Brady Murray (LA). Bochenski passes off to Murray who then circles with the puck behind the Minnesota net before passing off to an open Matt Greene at the point. Greene fired a heavy shot that made its way into the Minnesota going top shelf on Johnson’s glove side. Freshman forward Brady Murray, who along with Bochenski drew the assists, did a terrific job of getting the rid of the puck quickly before any of the Minnesota defenders could get in to take it away from him.

The 2nd period began terribly for the Gophers. At the 24 second mark, junior forward Quinn Fylling would tie the game at 2-2. The play started as a result of some poor coverage by the Gophers. Fylling was able to skate in with the puck untouched. He then dumped it where it UND junior forward Rory McMahon would pick up the rebound but lose it, Fylling would then pick up McMahon’s rebound and shoot it past Johnson for the goal. Like last night, the Gophers failed to clear the front of the net.

There were some real individual battles going on much of the night. The best ones were the Tomas Vanek (BUF)-Matt Greene and the Zach Parise (NJ)-Jake Taylor (NYR) matchups. The Vanek-Greene matchup was a carry-over from the previous night. Greene made it a point to make Vanek’s time on the ice as miserable as possible whenever the situations arose. Taylor did much of the same against Parise. Except Parise wasn’t gonna let Taylor off so easily. Parise was willing to get into Taylor’s face and dish it back out to him....even if he is 5 inches shorter than Taylor.

Later in the period, more trouble would come to the Gophers. This time it would be on a UND Power Play. Coming into this weekend UND was 0-26 on the Power Play. Stunning considering how much firepower the team possesses. However, they’d fare quite well on the Power Play this weekend against Minnesota. With Minnesota freshman defenceman Danny Irmen (MIN) off for tripping, the UND Power Play went to work. Like last night, North Dakota was very good at their passing on the man-advantage. At the 13:29 mark, junior defenceman Matt Jones (PHX) would give the Fighting Sioux the lead for the first time (and for good) in the game. Fylling retrieved the puck from the side boards then passes to Murray who is parked on the goal line at the side of the net (left side). Murray then makes a nice cross-ice pass to Jones at the opposite point, who then fires it at the net. Once again, Johnson would be beaten high over his shoulder. That made the score 3-2 UND. Murray and Fylling would draw the assists on the play. Just under 2 minutes later at the 15:01 mark, North Dakota would score again...and again from a Minnesota turnover. This time the goa is from senior forward David Lundbohm. Minnesota senior defenceman Joey Martin (CHI) attempts to fire a point shot at the UND net. UND freshman forward Drew Stafford did a very nice job of going down to block the shot. Martin then has trouble corralling the puck that was in his skates. Eventually he would lose puck possession to Lundbohm who proceeds to skate in with freshman forward Chris Porter (CHI) to create a 2-on-1 with Gophers Dman Sertich in the middle. Lundbohm then looks up to see Johnson not quite out far enouigh to challenge him and then fires a great wristshot that (again) goes top shelf over Johnson’s glove side shoulder and into the net. The goal, assisted by Stafford extended North Dakota’s lead to 4-2. However, the Gophers weren’t going to go away just yet. At the 18:13 mark, junior forward Jake Fleming would cut UND’s lead to 4-3 on a fluky goal that was similar to the goal scored by Sophomore UND Defenceman Lee Marvin the night before. The play started with a UND turnover by Lundbohm who tried to poke the puck out of his own zone. Instead, Gophers senior forward Jon Waibel comes up with it, then scoots it to Fleming. Fleming then skates in deep in the UND zone and just when he was about to run out of real estate fires the puck at the UND at a weird angle that somehow found some daylight between Jordan Parise’s pads. Waibel and junior forward Garrett Smaagaard would draw the assists. This made the score 4-3.

With the momentum created late in the 2nd period by the Fleming line, the Gophers simply couldn’t generate anything from it. Instead, the Gophers played the final stanza very much like they played last night’s game. Many turnovers and losing all of the battles that they were winning and doing so well on earlier in the contest. The Gophers looked lathargic in the 3rd period. They got out-worked and broke down in their man coverage. The sense of urgency and flow had been almost completely taken out of much of their game. All of this despite being down just one goal. Also, netminder Justin Johnson was given an early shower as he was replaced by freshman netminer Kellen Briggs. At the 16:45 mark, Gophers senior forward Matt Koalska (NSH) had been called for a high-stick on Schneider. At the same time, UND’s Drew Stafford made a terrible mistake by taking a stupid penalty for a late hit after the whistle. Stupid because without it UND would’ve been on the Power Play. Instead, it was 4 on 4. The final nail in the Gophers coffin came at the 17:03 mark. The play started as a result of some poor defensive coverage on Minnesota’s part. UND defenceman Matt Jones dumps the puck into the Gophers zone and then proceeds to go in and retrieve it. He then spots an approaching Quinn Fylling and drop the puck to him. Fylling then taps the puck back to a better positioned Jones who flips a nice wristshot high over Briggs’s shoulder on the stick-side. This made the score 5-3 UND. With less than a minute remaining in regulation time and being down 2 goals, the Gophers finally came unglued. At the 19:10 mark, Gophers junior Dman Judd Stevens was called for a cross-check. Meanwhile, his teammate sophomore forward Tyler Hirsch was assessed a misconduct penalty for blowing his stack at the referee. Minnesoat blew their chance to pull Briggs for the extra attacker and it was pretty well all said and done. North Dakota had swept Minnesota.

While Minnesota lost the game and making many mistakes, North Dakota was not nearly as sharp and stellar in this game overall as they were last night. Throughout the game, but especially early in the game, UND made several turnovers and other mistakes that Minnesota capitalised on (but didn't necessarily score on). Even sophomore centre Zach Parise (NJ) who is usually excellent with the puck, made his share of turnovers. Had Minnesota been able to continue to play like they did from the get-go, the outcome could’ve been much different. Head coach Don Lucia will need to find a way to get his Gophers playing as a team for 60 solid minutes, if they have any intention of repeating as national champions. Also, Minnesota’s top scorers, specifically Tomas Vanek needs to show more consistency in their play. Vanek did not register his first shot on goal until the 3rd period in tonight’s game. If the Gophers expect to win games, especially against formidable conference rivals, things like that has to change.

However, not every Gopher had a bad night. Sophomore forward Gino Guyer (DAL) and junior forward Troy Riddle (STL) were working hard making plays and/or some good passes much of the night. The Jake Fleming line (who was the most productive Gophers line all night) played quite well and got a goal as a result of their hard work and grinding it out with the Fighting Sioux players.

For the Fighting Sioux, there were 4 players who played exceptional well. Sophomore Defenceman Matt Greene (EDM) is showing that he’s more than just a tough guy. His solid defensive play, coupled with some very good offensive play and being Tomas Vanek’s worst nightmare all made for a great night’s work by Greene. Junior forward Quinn Fylling, who seemed to be just everywhere tonight, made some excellent plays that resulted in a 3 point night for him (1G, 2A).

Freshman Brady Murray (LA) continues to just keep getting better. His constant movement, tenacity and posing constant coverage problems for the Minnesota defenders in this game proved invaluable. Not only on the scoresheet but also in the creation of opportunities for both himself and his teammates. Game play-by-play announcer Frank Mazzocco reported that Team Canada is taking a serious look at Murray for possibly adding him to their roster for the upcoming WJC. Murray, one of only five Canadian-born North Dakota players (the others are: freshman Chris Porter, Sophomore Mike Prpich and juniors Colby Genoway and Rory McMahon), is making quite a case for himself.

But the story of night for either team was the sensational play of North Dakota junior Defenceman Matt Jones (PHX). Jones was awesome in his play throughout the game. He, along with his defensive partner Matt Greene, took on most of Minnesota’s top guns tonight and did it quite well against them. His great reads, skating and terrific hands all paid by dividends for UND tonight. He finished the night with two goals.

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11-09-2003, 07:27 AM
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wow great post. I watched bits of the game as I flipped back and forth. Fox lost the picture and only had audio feed for a little. But the game wasn't what I expected. I didn't see much of anything of Vanek (who I got to watch a lot last year and thought he was just great) and the older Parise didn't do much either.

But I was impressed by Greene, (who I liked for Team USA last year) and the ND team, who seemed to be more upbeat and into the game, whereas Minn just looked flat at the end, and although I'm no college hockey expert, I am shocked at how poorly they are doing so far.

Others that impressed me were Guyer who has good wheels and seemed to be all over the place, and I think he was #9 for ND, who was very good in the faceoff circle.

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11-10-2003, 09:55 AM
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Nice post! I was surprised at the way Minnesota played this weekend. They usually fly all over the ice, and are hard to contain. But other than a 5-minute burst at the start of Saturday's game, they didn't seem to have a lot of energy.
The ice looked pretty bad Saturday, as both teams' stars were having trouble handling the puck. Zach Parise had 3 breakaways, and didn't score once, which is a surprise as well. on the first 2, he looked like he was fighting the puck. On the third, he just plain shot wide.
Thomas Vanek was completely invisible. He had 3 shots the entire weekend, 2 of them from outside the blue line. Nice job by Matt Greene on him, but Vanek just plain doesn't hustle at all. I thought he'd at least get a late goal in one of the games, but just didn't seem to try.
Quinn Fylling and Parise would have to be the 2 best UND players over the weekend, although Matt Jones and Nick Fuher played quite well, too. Troy Riddle was the standout Gopher, I thought. This was a tought series for the Gophers, but they were in a similar situation last year, and came on after Christmas like gangbusters to win the whole enchilata (sp?), so I wouldn't totally count them out just yet.

Plus, the Hanson Brothers (of "Slap Shot" fame) were here signing autographs and dancing on the ice between periods, so that was cool!

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11-10-2003, 11:28 AM
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The whole Gopher team hasn't shown anything this year outside of the checking line. If they don't start playing as a team soon, they'll dig themselves too big of a whole to climb out of if they want any chance of making the playoffs. They might have to win the WCHA conference playoffs to make it IMO. There are too many teams playing way better then they have been doing so far. I don't think it gets much better because they are playing pretty much road games for awhile.

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11-10-2003, 12:48 PM
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The gophs need Harrington and Ballard back really bad. And right now we are playing bad there was no bright spot this W/E. We had a few good moments and that was about it.

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11-10-2003, 10:21 PM
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jiggs: About the ice looking bad....yeah, I noticed that too.

DW & MN-Gopher: I'm really surprised at how poorly Minnesota has started off this season. IMHO, it's more than just the absence of Harrington and Ballard. This past weekend, UND for the most part really outworked them, especially for those loose pucks. I've seen enough of Minnesota hockey to know that they have alot more get-up-and-go than they're showing so far. This team is far more talented than they way they are playing right now. First it's being swept by Duluth then UND. Neither of these teams are slouches, but Minnesota (if they put their minds to it) could conceivably beat these teams on a given night.

Any of you think that goaltending could be part of the problem? I'm still waiting for Justin Johnson to bust out with an excellently played 60 minute game. So far I haven't seen it. I know he's capable because he did it last season!

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11-11-2003, 10:08 AM
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Early in the season we had only a few practices, something to do with our finals and that we were going to able to practice latter in the year. That may make up for the first few games. Another thing is we are playing to relaxed, we are not thying to win the NCAA, which is not something u can look at as a goal, but its like we think there is always tommorrow or we will turn it up when we have to. We need a spark. Johnson and Briggs will be OK. Weber hurt, Harrington and Ballard hurt more when u lost Martin in the off season. Thats our three top d men now, all gone from last year. And Lucia is still juggling lines, Koalska, Riddle and Vanek are not always together. He does this to get the younger guys comfortble out there, but now we need points. We are giving up 5 goals a game but we only scoring 3 or so a game too. We are playing bad in almost all parts of the game. Our cheeking is the only good thing i see, Everyone is hitting someone.

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11-11-2003, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oilers Chick
jiggs: About the ice looking bad....yeah, I noticed that too.

DW & MN-Gopher: I'm really surprised at how poorly Minnesota has started off this season. IMHO, it's more than just the absence of Harrington and Ballard. This past weekend, UND for the most part really outworked them, especially for those loose pucks. I've seen enough of Minnesota hockey to know that they have alot more get-up-and-go than they're showing so far. This team is far more talented than they way they are playing right now. First it's being swept by Duluth then UND. Neither of these teams are slouches, but Minnesota (if they put their minds to it) could conceivably beat these teams on a given night.

Any of you think that goaltending could be part of the problem? I'm still waiting for Justin Johnson to bust out with an excellently played 60 minute game. So far I haven't seen it. I know he's capable because he did it last season!
If anyone would know about shaky goaltending, it's us North Dakota fans the past 2 years!

Yes, I think Johnson is a capable goalie. Maybe not a great one, but probably good enough. From what I saw, Minnesota's problems are a lack of team speed (for some reason) and chemistry. The Gophers usually have an entire team of weaving-and-diving forwards, moving the puck almost at will, and getting 45 shots a night. they didn't show ANY of that this past weekend. They tried for a time, but UND always seemed to be able to cut them off early. This rarely happens. I don't know if the Gophers were tired or sick or something, but it was certainly different to see them struggle with a facet of the game they usually excel at.

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11-13-2003, 12:03 PM
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Now Ryan Potulny is hurt for the rest of the season, oh Yeah. Knee injury, have to repair a ligament.

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11-13-2003, 12:24 PM
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This will certainly be a blow to the Gophers. Ryan is supposedly better than his brother Grant (the captain), so losing him for the rest of the season is trouble!

On the positive side, he gets a medical red-shirt year, so he will still have 4 years of eligibility left.

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11-14-2003, 06:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonMacIsaac
I remember not so long ago I was getting bashed in a debate about Vanek. I said he is not going to be anythnig big in the NHL and will be labeled a bust considering his draft position. I still stand by my statment and he doesn't lok so good right now, under a ppg.
Wow, 6 games into the season & your patting yourself on the back. A little premature imo.
I remember when I said when I said that Mike Modano was grossly overrated & he would have one of the all time worst years in +/-.I still stand by my statment and he doesn't look so good right now, -14 after only 15 or so games, on his way to a -75.

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11-14-2003, 12:06 PM
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jiggs: I'm not sure about the skating issue as a whole to be part of the problem. The Denver series was very good even though they split the series. There was a great tempo and both teams were going up and down the ice. My personal opinion is that letting opposing teams skate up and down the ice on a nightly basis is part of the real problem. There just doesn't seem to be any commitment to defence on this team. Maybe a few players but not many. The Gophers are constantly giving up 2 on 1's all game long.

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11-14-2003, 06:34 PM
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Just to follow up on my post of earlier today.I just have to say that I remember not so long ago I was getting bashed in a debate about Vanek. I said he was going to be big in the NHL and will be labeled a star, particularly in light of his draft position. I still stand by my statment and it loks so good right now,he got 2 goals tonite, as a 19 year old on what many consider an inept Minny team.
Off of tonite,I think he will pot around 70 goals this year.

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11-17-2003, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy
Just to follow up on my post of earlier today.I just have to say that I remember not so long ago I was getting bashed in a debate about Vanek. I said he was going to be big in the NHL and will be labeled a star, particularly in light of his draft position. I still stand by my statment and it loks so good right now,he got 2 goals tonite, as a 19 year old on what many consider an inept Minny team.
Off of tonite,I think he will pot around 70 goals this year.
And the Gophers might win only 5 games as he does it! Sorry, Gophers fans. Not meant to be a slam at the team, just Vanek.

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