Senior line coming up big for Gophers

A trio of seniors combined for 11 points in last weekend’s sweep.

by Ben Gotz

Travis Boyd, Seth Ambroz and Sam Warning have been teammates for the past four years.

They’ve been roommates for the last three.

And last weekend, the three were starting linemates.

The senior forwards combined for 11 points in two games against Ohio State, propelling the Gophers to their first sweep since early November.

“I think just combining all of our abilities makes a good line,” Warning said.

Boyd said the three forwards provide a good mix because they each have different skills they bring to the table.

Warning, a Missouri native, brings speed to the line.

“Obviously, Sam’s got wheels for days,” Boyd said. “He can move out there.”

After scoring 34 points last season, Warning hasn’t been able to produce as well this year. But his three assists last Saturday suggest he might be heating up.

“Sam is a streaky player, so when he gets on a streak, he’s hot,” Boyd said. “He’ll score in bunches. Hopefully, last weekend was the start of a streak for him, and hopefully this weekend Seth and I can set him up for a couple goals.”

Ambroz brings size to the group, using his listed 6-foot-3-inch frame and 215 pounds to lay out opposing players along the boards and screen goaltenders.

“He’s a big body,” Warning said. “He likes to work in the corner. I think he does a great job of giving me and Boyd the puck and making plays. Kind of what you saw of [sophomore defenseman Michael Brodzinski’s] power-play goal [Saturday night], he likes standing in front and screening goalies, so he does a lot.”

And finally, there’s Boyd, who skates in the middle of the group, providing assistance on both ends of the rink.

“Travis, he’s an all-around player, a two-way player,” Warning said. “He’s one of our best defensive guys.”

And this year, Boyd has taken his offensive game to a new level — he scored his first collegiate hat trick last Saturday night against the Buckeyes.

But when asked about his hat trick, Boyd noted the work of his teammates.

“I got to give a lot of credit to Seth and Sam, my linemates last weekend,” Boyd said. “[They] did a great job … finding me and luckily enough they went in.”

Their line didn’t make an immediate impact out of the gate Friday, but Saturday the roommates-turned-linemates were named the three stars of the game.

“We revamped the lines,” head coach Don Lucia said. “That line didn’t do a lot on Friday, but they were a huge factor in our game on Saturday.”

Ambroz said after Saturday’s game that Boyd’s finishing ability was the key to the line’s success over the weekend.

Boyd’s shot gave him four goals against the Buckeyes, just a weekend after Ambroz scored four goals in two games against Wisconsin.

“Hopefully, that means it’s Sam’s turn this weekend,” Boyd said.