Boyd bulks up, looks to make an immediate impact

The Gophers will open their season this weekend at Mariucci Arena.

Minnesota forward Travis Boyd fights for the puck against Lethbridge on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, at Mariucci Arena.

Image by Bridget Bennett

Minnesota forward Travis Boyd fights for the puck against Lethbridge on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, at Mariucci Arena.

by Megan Ryan

Junior forward Seth Ambroz described his teammate and roommate, Travis Boyd, as “lackadaisical” when he’s away from the Gophers men’s hockey team.

“He’s a not in a hurry very much,” Ambroz said.

That laid-back attitude wasn’t something Boyd brought to the rink this offseason.

The junior forward said he lost “seven or eight pounds” of fat while putting on muscle in the weight room this summer. He also worked out five days a week with head Olympic strength and conditioning coach Cal Dietz, practiced power, skating with the Gophers skating coach and came to the rink every day to refine his shot.

Boyd said he knew he needed a big summer to ensure a productive 2013-14 season.

“It was definitely last year’s performance for myself [that motivated me],” he said. “I really think I was underachieving for my personal standards.”

While Boyd played in all 40 games last season, he only scored three goals to go along with 11 assists.

If the team’s one exhibition game this season is any indication, Boyd’s efforts are paying off. He had a goal and an assist against Lethbridge last weekend at Mariucci Arena.

“He’s really took the initiative this summer to get better,” Ambroz said. “You can definitely tell he’s gotten better coming into this year.”

Gophers head coach Don Lucia said he hoped Boyd’s first showing of the season was a good sign of what’s to come, but he said the 20-year-old still has a point to prove.

“I want to see Travis’ game go to that next level,” Lucia said. “I think there is more offensive component to his game than we’ve seen so far in his career.”

Because Boyd came in as one of college hockey’s younger players, Lucia said, he’s taken some time to develop. Now that he has two years of Division I experience under his belt, Lucia said, he will look to Boyd for goals this season.

“With the offense we lost last year, as an upperclassman he’s someone that needs to step in and fill some of that void because he can score goals and he can make plays,” Lucia said.

While the Gophers are unlikely to have a 25-plus goal scorer this year, Lucia said he will look to players like Boyd to balance the team with 10 to 12 goals this season.

Lucia said a big question for him is who will play alongside Boyd. While the other lines are preliminarily set for this weekend, he’s still switching combinations on Boyd’s line.

“Everyone’s still trying to find their role,” Boyd said. “I think I’m a guy who’s hopefully going to go out there and give you offense every night, but also go out there and shut down a top line if they need to be and be strong defensively.”

Apart from his ice time, Boyd said he feels his leadership responsibility has expanded this season and he tries to lead the underclassmen both vocally and by example.

“I like to talk. I like to have a good time. I’m not a quiet guy in the locker room,” Boyd said. “So, I definitely get up and speak vocally if I think I should say something, or if I think it’s needed.”

While there are many new players to lead, Boyd said he isn’t curbing his expectations for himself or his team this year.

“We’re going to have high goals. We’re going to have high aspirations,” he said. “I think we’re going to be a young team, but we’re going to be a good team.”