Senden lends a stable hand to U

by Tim Nichols

Throughout his one and a half years with the Gophers men’s hockey team, Stuart Senden has been one of its most consistent performers.
And for a Minnesota team that has wallowed in inconsistent efforts during the year, Senden could serve as a solid example of stability.
“I don’t know why that has been,” Senden said. “But it does have something to do with the line I’m playing on. They have just made it easy for me to be consistent.”
The Alexandria, Minn., native has been paired with freshmen John Pohl and Erik Wendell for most of the season. And all they have done is post the best plus/minus rating on the Gophers.
The hard play of this line has even caught the eye of coach Doug Woog.
“Stu Senden’s coming along,” Woog said after Saturday’s 2-2 tie. “They’re strong kids; they handle the puck well in the corners. Those guys are fine.”
Just being able to say that one line is fine might be the highest praise on a team where the lines have been flip-flopped on a weekly basis.
The Senden-Pohl-Wendell line has been playing aggressive, hard-nosed hockey that has recently started turning into goals with Senden’s score in Friday’s tie.
But when he started to come around last year, he was sidelined with a separated shoulder.
“It’s been good so far, but we can’t count our cookies yet,” Senden said. “But it’s something that you can never plan on.”
On a team that has been led by the players this year, as evidenced by Wyatt Smith’s intermission speech Friday, the example that Senden and his linemates are sending to the rest of the Gophers is something that they must pick up on.
Especially with No. 1 North Dakota coming up next weekend.

Trash-talking Tyler
After his game-tying goal Saturday night, Minnesota State’s Tyler Deis had some choice words for Minnesota’s freshman goaltender Adam Hauser.
“I went by the goaltender and just said, `Hey, if it’s me and you, you better be on your game because I think it might be going in,'” Deis said. “Just putting a little pressure on him.”
The good-natured joshing seems to run in the team because Minnesota State coach Don Brose had some words about Deis after the game.
“He doesn’t touch our own zone sometimes, so he’d better be good at finding the breakaway passes,” Brose said. “Sometimes you get on him because he can be a little bit of a one-dimensional player. To be perfectly honest, this year and last year, his percentage of scoring on those breakaways wasn’t very good.”

Slap shots
ù Heading into this weekend’s series at North Dakota, the Gophers are 2-7-1 in their last 10 meetings.
ù The Gophers better be on their top defensive game; they are 0-10-2 when giving up four or more goals.