Irmen out after shoulder injury in Madison

Irmen is out for three or four weeks with a third-degree separated right shoulder.

Chris Lempesis

Junior forward Danny Irmen perhaps was the best player on the ice for Minnesota’s men’s hockey team in its sweep of Wisconsin this past weekend.

Irmen recorded three goals and two assists (five points) and was noticeable all over the ice as the Gophers downed the Badgers by scores of 3-1 on Saturday and 5-4 on Friday. In fact, Irmen was given Western Collegiate Hockey Association Co-Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts.

For at least the foreseeable future, however, Irmen will be noticeable only by his absence.

On Monday, Irmen said he has been told he suffered a third-degree separation to his right shoulder and will be out three to four weeks. Irmen said Monday he was undergoing further tests.

He said the injury occurred in the third period of Saturday’s game when he jumped out of the penalty box just in time for a huge collision with Wisconsin forward Ben Street.

“Right away it kind of felt like the wind got knocked out of me,” Irmen said. “When I got to the bench, I had an upset stomach. Every time I get one of those, something bad’s happened.”

Irmen said the shoulder still hurts quite a bit.

“It’s pretty sore,” he said. “It’s in a sling; I can’t move it at all. It’s tough to get dressed.”

As for a possible return date, Irmen said he’s aiming for the Gophers’ series at home with Denver on Feb. 17 and 18. That means he would miss about three weeks but only one series ” at Michigan Tech on Feb. 10 and 11 ” since Minnesota has a bye this weekend.

“Not saying it will be (when I come back), but in my mind that’s what I want to do,” Irmen said.

This will be the second time this season Irmen has had to miss time because of injury. He missed nine games early in the season with a broken finger.

Still, he bounced back strongly and has posted 12 goals and 14 assists (26 points) in the 18 games since his return Nov. 18. Irmen’s point total is more than any other player on the team in that same span.

“Both injuries were kind of freak accidents,” Irmen said. “But that’s part of the game, I guess.”

Chucko injury not as bad

While Irmen’s injury is fairly serious, the shoulder injury suffered by sophomore forward Kris Chucko in Saturday’s contest is not as bad.

“(It’s) nothing too serious,” Chucko said Monday. “Just something the week off is going to help and (I’ll) take it day by day, and hopefully by next Friday (against Michigan Tech) I’ll be ready to go.”

Chucko didn’t say when the injury occurred or specifically what the injury was. He did say, however, that had the team been scheduled to play this weekend, he could’ve played.

“But it probably wouldn’t have been good for it,” he said.

“If it was the playoffs coming this weekend, I’d be playing. But, it’s not the end of the world. There’s a lot worse injuries than what I got right now.”

Minnesota ranked No. 2

The sweep of the Badgers also gave the Gophers (18-9-4, 13-5-2 WCHA) a two-spot bump, from fourth to second, in the latest USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll, released Monday.

While it experienced a jump in the polls, Minnesota remains the projected No. 2 overall seed for the 2006 NCAA Men’s Division I Tournament. That is according to the latest projected bracket, also posted on uscho.com Monday.

The Gophers are projected to be the top seed in the west regional on March 24 and 25 in Grand Forks, N.D.

The USCHO.com bracket has Minnesota playing unranked Mercyhurst ” a member of the Atlantic Hockey Association that likely would have to get in by way of an automatic bid through winning its conference ” in the first round.

Michigan ” ranked sixth nationally ” and No. 18 St. Lawrence are the other teams in the Grand Forks Regional, according to the USCHO.com bracket.

Anderson gets first point

For freshman defenseman R.J. Anderson, the long wait is finally over. And afterward, the look on his face was that of a relieved man.

That’s because Anderson recorded his first point as a collegiate hockey player in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Wisconsin after going pointless in his first 23 games at Minnesota.

He recorded the second assist on sophomore forward Ben Gordon’s game-winning goal.

Broback player of week

Minnesota’s women’s basketball forward Jamie Broback was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday for her play in a pair of wins this week.

The junior from Apple Valley scored a career-high 33 points in the Gophers’ win over North Dakota State on Wednesday. She followed that with a game-high 25 points in Sunday’s win against Penn State.

The award is Broback’s second career Big Ten Player of the Week honor.

Rankings jump

Minnesota’s women’s basketball team moved to 12th in the latest national rankings, released on Monday.

The Gophers are one of four Big Ten teams in the rankings. Ohio State is seventh, Purdue is eighth, and Michigan State is 16th.