U’s Pagel suffers knee injury, out vs. Wisconsin

Tim Nichols

Gophers coach Doug Woog said after the Minnesota-Duluth series he felt lucky to not have anyone hurt yet. Perhaps he should have knocked on a nearby hockey stick.
Minnesota center Rico Pagel will miss the next four to six weeks of action due to a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee. Pagel has two assists and is plus-3 this season.
Look for the Gophers to jumble their lines when they take on Wisconsin Friday. Reggie Berg will center the second line and freshman John Pohl will move up to center the third line.
“With Pagel out it forced us to make some changes,” coach Doug Woog said. “We naturally had to do something, being that we don’t have that many centers to play.”

Tigers in the hunt
In a style befitting of their mascot, Colorado College is lurking behind unanimous No. 1 North Dakota in the hunt for the WCHA title.
The Tigers have several key players returning, including Brian Swanson and 25-goal scorer Darren Clark, from their 26-13-3 squad of a year ago. But they are trying not to believe the hype.
“Preseason rankings aren’t worth a hill of beans,” coach Don Lucia said. “Five years ago we were picked to be dead last, and we won the conference.”
Even though Lucia gives no credence to the preseason polls, he still admits the WCHA preseason number one is North Dakota. Lucia said it’s the returning depth of the Sioux that will make them tough to beat.
“North Dakota is the team to beat,” Lucia said. “They’ve got eight to nine seniors returning this year. They are also deep — they can go three or four lines and still beat you.”
Scoring line depth is a key issue for the Tigers, who will look for the returnees to step up in the scoring columns. Lucia also wants his returning defensemen to pick up the slack.
“It starts with our defensemen,” Lucia said. “Danny Peters is an all-league defenseman when he’s healthy. Paul Manning is also returning.”
The most important returning players are normally the goaltenders. For Colorado College, sophomore Colin Zulianello and junior Todd Gustin will be back, and freshman Jeff Sanger got his first win Saturday against Michigan Tech.
“You’ve got to have good goaltending to finish in the upper echelon,” Lucia said. “It’s the difference from finishing in second place or sixth place.”
The Tigers will face one of the top goaltenders in the league this weekend when they host Doug Teskey and Alaska-Anchorage.
Tastefully done
In the ’70s, it was Farrah Fawcett from “Charlie’s Angels.” In the ’80s, it was Daisy Duke from “The Dukes of Hazzard.” In the ’90s, it’s Ashley Judd from the Kentucky men’s hockey team promotional department.
The actress and devoted Wildcats fan/alumnae is the subject of what is quickly becoming the most sought-after pieces of sports memorabilia since a Mark McGwire home run ball.
The poster features a scantily clad Judd sporting only a Kentucky hockey jersey.
“It’s become so big, it’s humorous,” Wildcats coach, and subsequent marketing genius Ian Ward said. “We’ve been receiving over 100 calls a day about the poster.”
And these calls have been from everywhere in the world.
“We received a call from Brett Favre. He gave us five autographed pictures for a poster,” Ward said. “We’ve sent them to Germany, ESPN, Nike, the New York Rangers. The New York Islanders wanted one because of all their troubles. It’s a great morale booster.”