Guyer breaks out of slump

After not scoring since Jan. 16, Gino Guyer scored twice against Alaska-Anchorage.

by Lou Raguse

For Minnesota’s men’s hockey forward Gino Guyer, it just took seeing what he was doing wrong to break out of his slump.

Guyer hadn’t scored a goal since Jan. 16 against Minnesota State-Mankato and was becoming frustrated, so assistant coach Bob Motzko cut together a tape of Guyer’s play over the last month.

Coupled with the return of captain Grant Potulny to Guyer’s line, the method worked. Guyer scored the game-winning goal in Friday’s game against Alaska-Anchorage and added another on Saturday.

“It’s been a while since I’ve put one in the net,” Guyer said Friday. “I wasn’t always moving the puck as quickly as I should, and I was holding onto it a little too long in the neutral zone.”

Guyer’s goal to break the 2-2 stalemate Friday bent the Seawolves’ hopes of winning, but later in the game he broke them.

As Alaska-Anchorage coach John Hill was preparing to pull his goalie, a Seawolves player whiffed on the puck in the offensive zone. Potulny jarred the puck away, and Guyer sprinted down the ice with it – forcing Seawolves forward Chris Fournier to take a hooking penalty at 18:01 into the third period.

The penalty meant Alaska-Anchorage would have to finish the game with Minnesota’s power-play unit on the ice and were unable to force overtime.

“(Guyer) had good energy (Friday),” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. “He showed he can score more goals when he moves the puck more.”

Guyer carried his rediscovered offense into Saturday’s game where he assisted on Barry Tallackson’s power-play goal and scored one of his own in the second period.

Guyer credits some of his improvement over the weekend to the return of Potulny, who missed six games with a shoulder injury.

“He’s always a great guy to have on your line, because he’ll be there for you, giving pointers and stuff like that,” Guyer said. “I’ve been playing with Grant for so long that we have a special bond as linemates.”

Potulny stepped right in and scored Minnesota’s second goal of the game early in the second period. He also credited his line for elevating his play.

“It was good Gino and Danny had such good games for me,” Potulny said. “They were first to the puck every time, and it gave me a chance to have lungs and get back into it.”

Vanek’s back

Thomas Vanek, the Gophers’ other injured leader, did not play in Friday’s game but was back in the lineup Saturday and looked strong on the ice.

Although Vanek did not contribute any points Saturday, he created many scoring opportunities throughout the game.

“Not having played in awhile affects your timing,” Lucia said. “But he created four or five great scoring chances. He leads our team in scoring chances – it’s not even close.”

Vanek said he should be back to 100 percent by this week’s series at Denver.

“I think last time I rushed it a little bit,” Vanek said of his return to the lineup Feb. 13 against Minnesota-Duluth. “(Saturday) was more comfortable.”