It’s been an issue that has dogged junior Dave Spehar since he decided to join the Gophers men’s hockey team — Why not Minnesota-Duluth?
There has also been some controversy between the Duluth, Minn., native, the media and the Bulldogs. Charley Walters’ column in the Sunday edition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press added even more fuel to the fire.
Walters suggested that fans should not be surprised if Spehar transfers to Minnesota-Duluth at the end of the season, if changes are not made on the coaching staff.
After blurting out a few expletives of both shock and amazement — coupled with the giggling of senior Mike Anderson and other players — Spehar threw a wrench in the rumor mill.
“I have no idea where this came from,” Spehar said. “I don’t even know who Charley Walters is.”
Spehar has been having a sub-par season. He currently has eight goals — all coming on the power play — and 14 assists.
He was also scratched from the lineup before Minnesota’s 5-1 Friday loss to Colorado College. Coach Doug Woog wouldn’t elaborate on the benching, calling it a “coach’s decision.
“We evaluate everybody on the team,” Woog said. “We make the lineup that gives us the best chance to win.”
Although Spehar has been a disappointment on the ice this season, he said he has no intention of leaving the Gophers.
Spehar came to Minnesota as the state’s all-time leading scorer, breaking Gophers legend John Mayasich’s record. But although he has struggled as a Gopher, failing to put up the type of numbers that were expected of him, Spehar said he remains committed to Minnesota.
“Anyone who knows me knows that the last place in the world that I would ever play hockey is Duluth,” Spehar said. “Just for the fact that I love it here. I came to play hockey at Minnesota, that’s what I’m doing. I’d never say anything like that in my life.”
Respect for LaRue
The only bright spot for the Gophers during their humiliating 5-1 loss to Colorado College was the play of freshman Rob LaRue.
The goaltender from Wayzata, Minn., who also plays tight end for the football team and first base for the baseball team, was brought in as a last-ditch replacement when Willy Marvin left the team earlier this season.
LaRue replaced starter Adam Hauser midway through the second period on Friday, and held the Tigers scoreless for the rest of the game.
Colorado College forward and Bloomington, Minn., native Toby Peterson was not surprised that LaRue stood tall between the pipes.
“I know Robby LaRue, I played against him in the midget leagues when we were nine,” Peterson said. “We were undefeated until we played LaRue, and he shut us out 1-0. We ended up 43-1-0.
“Yeah, LaRue is a stud.”