Former defenseman vying for women’s job at MSU

The Rivalry between the Minnesota and Duluth men’s hockey teams is set to be named the best intrastate showdown in the next issue of Sporting News magazine.

Jules Ameel

The Rivalry between the Minnesota and Duluth men’s hockey teams is set to be named the best intrastate showdown in the next issue of Sporting News magazine.

Former Minnesota defenseman Eric Means is one of three finalists for the Minnesota State womenâÄôs hockey team head coaching job. Means, who currently serves as an assistant coach for the Mavericks menâÄôs team, was the programâÄôs last interview on Wednesday. Former North Dakota womenâÄôs assistant coach Paul Colontino and former Minnesota-Duluth womenâÄôs assistant Joakim Flygh are also candidates for the Minnesota State job. Both interviewed for the position earlier this week. âÄúThis is a talented group of candidates with very diverse backgrounds and a variety of professional experiences,âÄù Mavericks director of athletics Kevin Buisman said in a release. âÄúWe have heard a lot of wonderful things about what each of these candidates might bring to our program, and I feel very good about these finalists,âÄù he said. âÄúI am excited about the opportunity to have them visit our campus so that we can further assess their ability to lead our program and so they can learn more about MSU women’s hockey, the University and our community.âÄù Flygh is now an assistant coach at Harvard, while Colontino served as an assistant for a Mercyhurst squad that knocked Minnesota out of the Frozen Four with a 5-4 win in the semifinals before losing 5-0 to Wisconsin in the NCAA championship. In interviews with the Mankato Free Press, both said they would like to return to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. âÄúThe WCHA is the best conference in the country, and IâÄôm familiar with the caliber of players the league attracts,âÄù Flygh said. âÄúI believe the (MSU) program has a good foundation on which to build.âÄù âÄúIâÄôd like to bring it to the next step, whether itâÄôs to be in the top 10 (in the country), or the top three or shooting for a national championship,âÄù Colontino said of a Mavericks team that won its first playoff series in team history this year. But Means is the man with experience at Minnesota State. As an assistant for Minnesota StateâÄôs men, Means was in charge of the teamâÄôs defensemen as well as serving as the Mavericks recruiting coordinator during a time in which the team transitioned from Division II to Division I. Means played four years with the Gophers under Doug Woog âÄî graduating in 1994 after totaling 40 career points as a defenseman. During his tenure, Minnesota won a Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular season title, two playoff championships and reached the NCAA championships all four years. UM/UMD is top rivalry The rivalry between the Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth menâÄôs hockey teams is the best in the state, according to an upcoming issue of Sporting News. The magazine, which will be released the week of May 4 to 8, selects the top intrastate showdown at any level of sports in each of the 50 states. The Gophers hold a 127-68-13 all-time record against the Bulldogs and are 7-2-2 in the rivalryâÄôs last 11 meetings. However, Minnesota-Duluth had the last laugh. The Bulldogs beat Minnesota 2-1 to knock the Gophers out of the WCHA tournament on March 19 and kept Minnesota out of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2000. Meanwhile, Minnesota-Duluth made it all the way to the NCAA West Regional Final before losing 2-1 to Miami, Ohio, who would eventually finish second to Boston University in the NCAA championship.