Men’s Hockey: Pre-game

Brian Deutsch

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the rebirth of the Gophers men’s hockey blog. After two months of struggling to get a working computer (thanks Best Buy and enjoy my $300), the hockey blog is and hopefully will be up and running although with the finals issue Website up I doubt many of you will see this…Anyways on to the pre-game.

Biggest story for tonight is Minnesota’s lines. With Taylor Matson out for the year and both Jay Barriball and Mike Carman out for at least this weekend, the line-up is, well, different. Nico Sacchetti is playing up on the top line with Ryan Stoa and center Jordan Schroeder. Patrick White is centering line two between Jake Hansen and Tony Lucia. Mike Hoeffel and Ryan Flynn are around Nick Larson on the third line, and Drew Fisher makes his first appearance of the season on the fourth line, centering with Joe Miller and Justin Bostrom. As well as I can remember not one of these lines has played together in a game so far 14 games into the season.
On defense it’s a little more usual. Aaron Ness is paired with David Fishcher, Cade Fairchild and R.J. Anderson, and Kevin Wehrs returns to the line-up with Sam Lofquist. Those first two duos have been interchangeable this season, so there will be some regularity on the ice tonight. 
Kangas not surprisingly will be in net.
Healthy scratches for tonight are Michael Dorr, Grant Scott, and Brian Schack. Schack, who looked like he got benched in the Michigan State game, appears has used up his playing time for a while as coach Don Lucia seems to have gone back to playing Kevin Wehrs for tonight at least. My colleagues in the pressbox stated and gophersports.com confirms that freshman defensemen Grant Scott is now the only Minnesota skater who hasn’t played yet this season (barring a catastrophe for Drew Fisher in the next 20 minutes).
Colorado College brings two of the WCHA’s top scorers into town as well as one of the best goalies in the league. Chad Rau is tied for second in the conference with 24 points – just one off the league lead, and his linemate Eric Walsky is in fifth with 22. Goalie Richard Bachman meets back up with the Gophers for the first time since taking the WCHA Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors last season. Bachman currently has a GAA of 2.30, a save percentage of .925 – both figures rank third in the conference.
Other News:
With a 3-2 win in Mankato last night, Denver jumped ahead of idle Wisconsin for first in the WCHA. Minnesota can tie the Pioneers in the standings with a win tonight.
Taylor Matson, who tore his ACL in the Michigan game, is scheduled to have surgery this coming Monday.
Former Gopher Kyle Okposo was in town this week and stopped by Mariucci Arena on Wednesday. Okposo is currently out 4-6 weeks with an injured wrist for the New York Islanders. Ryan Stoa said Okposo was in town for treatment in Burnsville (he’s from St. Paul). Funny thing happened during availability, I asked Lucia if he had talked to Okposo and Lucia gave the impression that he wasn’t even aware his former forward was in the building.
Speaking of Lucia, did you know he’s the 60th-highest paid employee at the U, making $241,196 in salary. Mind you that only is what he’s getting from the University. What’s harder to believe is that Pam Borton and both football coordinators make more money than Lucia. DC Ted Roof is 19th on the list at $300,000? Wasn’t he the guy that Duke, yes Duke, got rid of?
Finally, over the break I’m going to be researching the possibility of phasing out the Daily men’s hockey blog in favor of independent one. If you’ve got any tips for how to start one, a cool name for it, what you’d like to see on it, feel free to comment on this story or e-mail me at [email protected].
Check back after the first for an update.