Hockey’s movin’ on up, Lucia defends Dienhart

by Sarah Mitchell

The Minnesota men’s hockey team is on the move following a home sweep over Minnesota-Duluth this weekend.
Minnesota (4-7-1, 3-4-1 WCHA) defeated the Bulldogs 5-3 Friday and 4-0 Saturday to gain sole position of seventh place in the WCHA with seven points.
“They want to bang and we stood up and we skated with them and we banged with them,” said Gophers forward John Pohl, who led Minnesota over the weekend with six points. “We got four points so it was successful.”
The Gophers are still nine points back of conference-leading Wisconsin. WCHA preseason favorite North Dakota is in second with 13 points while Michigan Tech is in the league’s basement with no points.
Pohl position
Pohl and freshman forward Shawn Roed have been honored by the WCHA as players of the week for their performances against the Bulldogs.
Roed was named rookie of the week Monday. The forward scored two goals and was credited with two assists.
Pohl was named offensive player of the week. The sophomore scored six of Minnesota’s nine goals and now leads the team in scoring with four goals and 10 assists this season. Pohl had a career high with four points from two goals and two assists in Friday’s game.
“He’s kind of a relentless worker,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said. “He did a great job on the power play. He got some beautiful feeds from Ben Tharp and Roed, but he put himself in position.”
Dienhart on the mind
Following Minnesota’s 5-3 win Friday, Lucia said he was upset about the resignation of Men’s Athletics Director Mark Dienhart. Dienhart announced his resignation — which is effective Dec. 6 — on Friday.
“Mark has great character and great integrity and really looked out for the coaches,” Lucia said. “I think that’s what we’d like to see in the next athletic director as well.”
Dienhart, Vice President of Student Affairs McKinley Boston, NCAA Compliance Director Chris Schoemann and Assistant Athletics Director Jeff Schemmel all were told their contracts wouldn’t be renewed.
“As you get to know them when you get recruited to coach here, you become more impressed by them as people,” Lucia said. “There’s people that are in athletics that maybe aren’t great people and then there’s others that are. I think the staff that we had were great people that belong in college athletics because they’re concerned about the kids.
“That’s why the University of the Minnesota is a great program.”
The Gophers announced the signing of four student-athletes to national letters of intent for next season. Maybe surprisingly, all four are from Minnesota.
Matt Koalska graduated from Hill-Murray High School in 1999. Koalska is playing with the Twin Cities Vulcans in the United States Hockey League and has scored eight goals and 10 assists in 18 games this season.
Paul Martin is a left-handed defenseman from Elk River High School. As a junior, Martin was named to the first-team all-state squad, scoring nine goals and 11 assists in 28 games.
Troy Riddle was the state’s leading scorer a year ago. The forward was named to the all-state squad as a junior after leading Benilde-St. Margaret High School to a Class A championship. This season, Riddle is in Iowa, playing with Des Moines of the USHL.
From Baudette, Jon Waibel was the last of the four to sign during the early signing period. Waibel spent the last two seasons with the U.S. National Development Team in Ann Arbor, Mich. The forward has seven goals and nine assists in 19 games this year.

Sarah Mitchell covers men’s hockey and welcomes comments at [email protected]