Ambroz, Warning jostle for team lead in goals

Seth Ambroz leads the team with 11 goals, but Sam Warning has 10.

Gophers forward Sam Warning skates against Wisconsin on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 at Mariucci Arena.

Daily File Photo, Chelsea Gortmaker

Gophers forward Sam Warning skates against Wisconsin on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 at Mariucci Arena.

by Megan Ryan

Two names sit atop the Gophers men’s hockey team’s stat sheet for most goals.

One could have been predicted before the season even started, while the other has been a bit of a dark horse.

Minnesota junior forwards Sam Warning and Seth Ambroz have been trading off all season for the top spot.

And while the two aren’t letting it get to their heads, they definitely are aware of the competition.

“They have a little bit of fun out of it, too,” junior forward Travis Boyd said. “Obviously being roommates, they like to give each other a little bit of a hard time sometimes. So they’ve been doing that a little bit at the house.”

Ambroz has been steadily adding to his haul throughout the season. Warning, however, tends to pile on the goals in a single game — like two weeks ago, when he notched a natural hat trick against Ohio State. It was nearly enough to grab the lead, if Ambroz hadn’t tied it up with the final goal of the series.

“I think I’ve always been a streaky player,” Warning said. “I need to be more consistent, obviously.”

Ambroz has tallied 11 goals this season after an empty-netter last weekend at the North Star College Cup. Warning sits just one behind.

That empty-netter wasn’t an anomaly, either — Ambroz has had four this season.

“We all give him a very, very hard time about that,” Boyd said. “Pretty much everyone on the team wouldn’t mind having an empty-net goal or two. But he’s just, I guess, been in the right spot at the right time.”

Ambroz said he isn’t concerned with his apparent luck.

“I’ll take it any way I can get it,” he said. “They always say, ‘They don’t ask how. They ask how many.’”

Warning said even without a goaltender blocking Ambroz, his teammate’s shots aren’t any less intimidating.

“Just absolute snipes,” Warning said. “Guy’s got a bullet shot. I don’t know how he gets them in sometimes.”

The pair has no doubt dominated the first half of the season, and Ambroz said he would like the trend to continue.

“I would like to say hopefully just keep adding on to it,” Ambroz said. “It’s always fun to have a little good completion like that, a little positive stuff like that.”

As for head coach Don Lucia, he just had one word to sum up his two forwards’ production:

“Needed,” he said.

Notes

– The Gophers will be shorthanded this weekend, as two players are out injured for several weeks. Senior forward Tom Serratore and freshman defenseman Michael Brodzinski both have what was described as lower body injuries.

– Minnesota will also be missing the services of junior defenseman Ben Marshall. Marshall was suspended for accumulating three game misconducts this season, including one last weekend against Minnesota-Duluth for contact to the head.