Lucia’s homecoming has mixed emotions

by Sarah Mitchell

Coach Don Lucia’s return trip to Colorado College on Friday was unforgettable. Besides defeating Minnesota’s men’s hockey team 3-0, the Tigers greeted their former coach with a Lucia look-alike contest.
Six contestants competed, including three children who donned Lucia masks and two men slowly strutting down the carpet in blazers and curly hairpieces.
Odder than seeing images of himself at World Arena, however, was pacing a bench next to his former team.
“It’s strange sitting there and watching some of those guys play,” Lucia said. “And hey, just like I remember, there’s some pretty good hockey players.
“Sometimes you sit there and say, ‘Geez, that was a good play,’ and deep down you kind of have a little smile.”
Minnesota managed a split with Colorado College, defeating Lucia’s former group 2-1 on Saturday. Lucia said the Tigers play the way he wants the Gophers to play.
“Foot-speed’s important and (Colorado College) was built with foot speed in mind,” Lucia said. “We have a saying, ‘Speed never goes in a slump’ and when you’ve got the foot-speed you can jump on loose pucks.”
Milestone for Petersen
Minnesota native Toby Petersen tallied his 100th career point Friday. The senior is the 60th player in Tigers history join the “Century Club.”
Petersen was credited with two assists on Friday. The Bloomington product now has 46 goals and 54 assists.
Rink awareness
Being penalized for too many men on the ice has become a signature move for Minnesota. An extra Gophers skater has been penalized in each of the past four games.
“I’m at a loss,” Lucia said. “It’s driving me nuts. A guy jumps on, the other guy doesn’t come off. I’ve never seen so many.”
Inspirational upset
The Gophers were an improved team on Saturday, skating with an angry coaching staff and the Gophers football team in mind.
Minnesota upset second-ranked Penn State 24-23 at Beaver Stadium on Saturday.
“We saw the football team win and we figured we could come back out and get a big win, too,” Gophers senior Nate Miller said.
Ailing Gophers
Minnesota was without the services of freshman winger Dan Welch on Saturday. Welch left Friday’s game in the third period with an injury to his right leg, but is expected to be in the lineup at Wisconsin this weekend.
Gophers freshman Nick Anthony didn’t even make the trip to Colorado College. An infection kept Anthony at home. Like Welch, Anthony is expected to recover by the weekend.

Sarah Mitchell forgot to write this part and welcomes comments at [email protected]