Coaches hope Guyer can start a fire

Men’s hockey sophomore forward Gino Guyer just needed to reflect on the positives.

Lou Raguse

Minnesota men’s hockey forward Gino Guyer scored 21 career goals leading into last weekend’s series against Alaska-Anchorage, and before the puck dropped Friday, he watched all of them.

Assistant coach Bob Motzko put together a highlight tape with Guyer’s career goals and assorted assists in an effort to find patterns in the sophomore’s offensive game and jump-start him into a scoring streak.

Guyer added two more goals to that highlight reel in the Gophers’ sweep of the Seawolves. As WCHA playoffs near, Minnesota’s coaches would like other offensive spark plugs to ignite as Guyer did.

“A lot of guys need to emerge and score,” coach Don Lucia said. “We can’t just rely on Thomas Vanek, Troy Riddle and Grant Potulny. We have to have Gino, we have to have Barry Tallackson and the whole sophomore class needs to emerge.”

Guyer, who was named Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey as a senior at Greenway High School, has always been a scorer. And for scorers, as Motzko pointed out, hockey is largely a game of confidence.

But when a scorer goes nine games without finding net, confidence tends to diminish.

“We can always show guys what they do wrong,” Motzko said. “But sometimes it’s good to go back and show guys all the things they’ve done right over their career.”

Before Guyer scored his first goal in more than a month, he also looked at the converse of his goal-scoring – video of his shifts in Minnesota’s Feb. 13-14 series against Minnesota-Duluth.

Guyer, like most of the Gophers, was not on the top of his game that weekend.

“I was so frustrated that I tried to do too much myself,” Guyer said of his slump observations. “That’s not going to work – you have linemates for a reason.”

When watching the highlight tape, Motzko and Guyer found that not many of his goals came in one-on-one situations.

Guyer is at his best, Motzko said, when he uses his linemates. When he has that support, the Gophers are able to make a better transition in the offensive zone than when he tries to skate it in himself.

“It’s the same with shooting the puck,” Motzko said. “We showed him he’s better letting the puck go rather than trying to beat one more guy.”

After Guyer made the adjustments and scored two goals against the Seawolves, his teammates were happy to see him back to his enthusiastic self.

“He’s always been an energy guy,” said forward Andy Sertich, who was also Guyer’s teammate in high school. “It’s kind of hard to have energy when you’re in a slump.”

Guyer’s energy could easily produce more goals in the coming weeks, as he is a self-described streaky scorer.

This weekend, the Gophers head to Denver. Following that, they play St. Cloud State at home before beginning the WCHA playoffs, where a streaky scorer can be most effective.

“He scored some big goals for us in the playoffs last year,” Lucia said. “Hopefully, he can get going and finish the year strong.”