The Counterpoint

October 09, 2004

Gopher Hockey Blogging

Just got back from the Gopher hockey game. Very good contest from a Gopher perspective. Denver started out slowly, and Minnesota pounced on them by getting a quick goal that really set the pace for the evening. The shot totals after the first period were strongly titled in the Gophers' favor, but Denver got stronger as the game went on and played them a lot tighter starting in the second period.

* The Gophers have officially found a replacement for Thomas Vanek. Ryan Potulny played an outstanding game, picking up right where he left off last year. Aside from having a hat trick (scoring goals on the powerplay, shorthanded, and even-strength), he was all over the ice and was probably the most visible player for either team. It's VERY early to tell, but judging by the way this kid played after his injury last year, and then tonight's game, I could easily see a Hobey in his future.

* The defense is going to be dramatically improved with this years class. I am especially impressed with two of the freshman guys: Goligoski and Hagemo. Both of them played very well, and I only noticed minor mistakes out of either guy. Briggs played well in goal. The only reason the second goal was scored was due to a bad bounce, and there were only about three or four times he almost got caught out of position. Past that, he played very solid.

* Speaking of the freshman:

  • Nate Hagemo: Played a very solid game. Lot of ice time. Some nice blocks and some clean hits.
  • Alex Goligoski: Like Hagemo, played really solid. Nearly got caught out of position a couple times, but is a good passer (one assist) and a strong skater.
  • Mike Howe: Decent game. Not terribly involved in the offense. Looked a step slower than a lot of the players, but he made up for it by working hard at all times.
  • Brent Borgen: Really good skater and decent passer. Not incredibly visible, but he did get a goal.
  • Ben Gorden: Reminds me of the way Ballard used to skate. Pretty good speed. Tenacious, made some very nice passes and nearly scored a goal.
  • Kris Chucko: Disappointing. He seemed disjointed a lot of the time, as if he wasn't prepared for the style and speed of the college game. He did make a couple pretty good hits and passes, but it didn't look like he was skating that well. He was playing on a line with Dan Irmen and Ryan Potulny early in the game, which could be absolutely dominant when they get adjusted. That is assuming they stay together.

    * Other notes: The band and PA announcer Jamie seemed to be in mid-season form already. Chants and songs were played at the right times to get things going (my only beef is that they may have busted out the "black hole" cheer a little too early), and Jamie was spot on with his calls and comebacks, despite not ad-libbing as much as usual. I, however, am not in mid-season form. My voice started to go after about the second period, and right now (two hours later) it still hurts to speak. I clearly have not been working out in the offseason.


    I watched a lot of the Twins game at my aunts house today, and then some more at the Xcel before/during the Gopher game. I can't talk about how it ended, because I didn't see it. I heard it was a Lohse wild pitch that allowed the Yankees to score the winning run, which I suppose is a fitting way for him to end his disappointing year. The Twins do have reason to be upset, though. They played great ball all year, and while I don't think they deserved to win, they had a legitimate shot to get to the World Series. The team had better make a move, though, because their window of opportunity is going to close really fast.

    My uncle's final memorial service was this afternoon. It was much more formal, but it was really nice. Some good, hilarious stories and retrospection. A fitting close to that chapter of our lives. I'd also like to send a special note out to Krystle, who had to suffer through the tedium of visiting with everyone at my aunt's and the hassles of my family (who are a group of oddballs to say the least). It was very nice to have you there, and I know my family apprecited it too. I love you.

    No political news from me today, so go read some of the blogs off to the side for your fill of that.


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