Future slashers could hack on pine

David La

DENVER — Minnesota coach Don Lucia is tired of his team’s penchant for taking slashing penalties, so he’s threatening to slash future offenders from his lineup sheet.
The Gophers were called for slashing penalties five times against Denver, three of which came Friday night after the Pioneers made the score 4-0.
“The undisciplined penalties really bother me,” Lucia said. “We take those silly, `I’m mad so I’m going to slash you’ penalties.”
Lucia has made his team skate extra in practice for each slashing penalty minute but thinks it’s time for a more severe tactic — benchings.
“I guess the next resort is to sit guys that take those penalties,” Lucia said. “I’m going to have a heart-to-heart with some guys this week and go over that because it’s an on-going issue.”
Lucia has benched players on different occasions this season. Freshman Grant Potulny took an early shower after a high sticking penalty against Alaska-Anchorage. Lucia made sophomore Jeff Taffe leave the game versus Wisconsin after cursing at an official.
Senior captain Erik Westrum holds the dubious distinction of leading the team in slashing penalties with four, while freshman Troy Riddle and senior Dylan Mills have three each.
Dubielewicz shines
Sophomore goaltender Wade Dubielewicz stopped 61 of 62 Minnesota shots and 12 power plays this weekend, pacing Denver’s sweep.
Dubielewicz struggled early in the season, backstopping losses to Boston College, St. Cloud State and North Dakota.
But over the Pioneers current five-game unbeaten streak, Dubielewicz is 4-0-1 with a mere seven goals allowed.
“Guys can be more creative when the goalie is playing better,” Denver forward Chris Paradise said. “The way Dubie is playing, if we make a mistake, he’s there.”
Dubielewicz stood in net Friday and turned away 33 Gophers shots — 15 in the final period.
“Our guys blocked more shots than I stopped tonight,” Dubielewicz said. “I’d like to see the stats of how many shots they tried.”
Minnesota attempted 71 shots Friday, 24 of which were blocked by Pioneers not named Dubielewicz.
On Saturday, Dubielewicz allowed an early goal, then responded by stoning the Gophers Aaron Miskovich on a breakaway.
“If it hadn’t been for Wade,” Pioneers coach George Gwozdecky said. “Minnesota could’ve had a few.”
ù Denver forward Bryce Wallnutt was injured at the end of the second period Friday, and did not return for the remainder of the weekend.

ù Denver earned its first regular season home sweep of Minnesota since the 1978-1979 season.

David La Vaque covers men’s hockey and welcomes comments at [email protected]