This week's College Puck Tweets covers the fallout from last weekend and everything short of Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves learning the nae-nae. Have a question for a future Mailbag? Tweet it at @gopherstate or @SBNCollegePuck.
And onto the show:
Whoa whoa whoa slow your roll son! It has been one weekend! Dinkytown is still feeling the effects of the last early celebration. Championships aren't won in one weekend...okay they are technically if Thursday-Saturday counts, but the point remains. Yes, Minnesota looked the part at times against both Minnesota-Duluth and RPI . Yes, the Gophers were one of the few teams that didn't stumble on opening weekend (and even that is being nice to the UMD game). The point remains that right now we're in the middle of October talking about mid-April.
But you can never be too prepared.
The question specifically limits the choice to a Minnesota based beer, which is good. While the Frozen Four is out in Boston and you may be tempted to celebrate with a Sam Adam's, don't. Minnesota team? Minnesota beer.
Boston's location does remove the brew that grew with the Great Northwest along with the beer that comes from the land of sky blue waters. It's too late in the year for a Schell's Snowstorm. Grain Belt is a premium choice yet doesn't have the championship feel. Nordeast or Fulton isn't a bad choice if you want something to represent Minneapolis. It's just not mine.
With all apologies to Summit EPA, the Minnesota based beer to drink after a championship is either a Surly Furious, Bender or Bitter Brewer, depending on if you like hoppy beer or not. Besides being high quality Minnesota beverages, all those names work for either a win or loss.
The players listed, in order - Kyle Rau and Hudson Fasching, Travis Boyd and Seth Ambroz, and Taylor Cammarata and Justin Kloos - make up Minnesota's first three lines. Each pair played together for the majority of last season. So far it appears those three will make up the skeleton of Minnesota's lines.
I'd lean against the lines being blown up for a few reasons. 1) Head coach Don Lucia wants to continue having three equal lines that can each hold their own for depth rather than two superstar lines. 2) A few other forwards (Sam Warning, Leon Bristedt, Connor Reilly) will have their chance to fit. It's easier to tinker with one or two pieces. 3) Some of the combinations are broken up or play together during different power play combinations. Special teams is another place where it's easier to have a quick hook.
There are going to be adjustments throughout the season and most players are going to get a chance to play. Yet that doesn't mean there won't be structure up front even strength. If the top three lines, all of which have spent the better part of a year together, are each completely broken up, it says something about where is Minnesota's mindset at the time. That's not a good place.
After defeating both Wisconsin and Maine last weekend in Anchorage and getting six goals from six different goal scorers, Alaska returns home for its own opening tournament. Perfect time for a new Hockey Bear entrance.The world needs to see a bear go out, destroy campuses and cites to "Danger Zone," travel through time, and then go home and kick back to listen to some jazz.
All the cool Hockey Bears do.
Can I use the last GIF again? No? Dang.
The short answer is no.
The longer answer, which is what this question is getting, is that Wilcox is a workhorse to the point that he would probably be doing this job answering questions if it weren't the fact that he isn't on social media. The junior has played in 79 of 83 possible games. He relegated Michael Shibrowski from being part of a platoon to feel-good starts and it was because of his high-level consistent play. Right now you have to think that will continue with Wilcox, who finished last season with a .932% save percentage and already got his 8th career shutout (tied for second-most in school history) under his belt.
Shibrowski is gone, having parlayed three starts and a shutout last season into an ECHL tryout. Both Nick Lehr and Ryan Coyne are there to back up Wilcox this season. Both have less experience in regular season games than Shibrowski did.
There is always the chance one of the two gets a shot, but for the early part of the season that doesn't appear to happen short of injury or something unforeseen. Lucia has Wilcox solidified as #1, saying the competition is going to be who is the second goaltender.
"I think that's being fair to Adam. That's the type of athlete and goaltender he is," he said before the season started. "Adam's going to play. If there's an off night where he's not playing very well, we'll get him out of there and put someone else in. That may happen, but at the same time Adam wants to play every game. He's put himself in position to have the right to do that.
"The guys have a lot of confidence in Adam. The coaches have a lot of confidence in Adam and he's earned the right."
So there you go.
@gopherstate Why doesn't UND play the first half of their season every year?— Zach Halverson (@zachhalverson) October 13, 2014
Last week Brad Scholssman had an excellent profile of Dave Hakstol in the Grand Forks Herald that painted a colorful picture of the North Dakota head coach beyond his soul stealing stare. Besides several interesting nuggets, something that jumped out as Bemidji State took a 5-0 lead en route to its first win in Grand Forks since 1970 was this:
Hakstol's first season as head coach was a challenging one.
The team lost stars Zach Parise and Brandon Bochenski in the offseason and sputtered out of the gate.
Midway through the season, his father, Ed, passed away.
Later in the year, some fans started to wonder whether UND hired the right person for the job.
"I don't think I ever tried to let that enter in," Hakstol said. "You've got to be able to mentally handle that. It's easier to say than to do. I learned very quickly in my first year in Sioux City that you have to have a plan and do things your own way. You have to have a real strong conviction. As a staff, we had that. We stuck with it."
So far Hakstol has done exactly that throughout his tenure. Every year without fail in his tenure North Dakota has a loss or two around November where the date gets circled as if it's the unofficial second half turnaround. Every year North Dakota makes the NCAA Tournament. Every year North Dakota has come close without taking home the title. Rinse, repeat, so it goes.
It has happened enough times where if this was a movie we'd be angry at the screenwriter for keeping the same formula throughout ten sequels.
At a certain point Hakstol's conviction shines through and his players buy into his plan. For some reason it seems to take time to get into that next gear.
As for Bemidji State thumping UND at home? Great news if you're a Bemidji State fan. Right now the rout, which was followed by North Dakota winning in Bemidji the next night, seems more like one game in a small season than anything.
@gopherstate Q for the next mailbag: Do you think Wilcox will be great in the NHL?— Chad Stevermer (@stretch3281) October 10, 2014
Minnesota (the state, not the school) has produced more than its share of NHL players, however, goalies aren't really being churned out at the same rate. If you ever make one of those all-state teams out of NHLers like Chris just did with Illinois college hockey players, Minnesota's goalie argument does not exactly go in-depth.
I don't know why the "State of Hockey" has not historically been a State of Goalies like the modern NHL team - a question suited for another day - and unfortunately it leads to any Minnesota goalie having that stigma at the highest level. Wilcox is going to have that. He also has a blocked path at the moment with Tampa Bay's goaltending being a position of strength both in the minors and NHL; a reminder that there are only 60 goalies in the NHL.
Where he has succeeded and, given where he is already in several of Minnesota (the school, not the state) records, he has, gives me hope that Wilcox will have the best chance of every Gopher goalie since Rob Stauber. Seeing his cousin Alex Stalock leap towards the top of those all-state team lists as San Jose's goalie, using the same unorthodox athletic style Adam has, shows it can be done.
@gopherstate Are the Bemidji State women for real or were those last four games they won just a fluke?— Jack Hittinger (@jackhitts) October 14, 2014
You would probably know better than I do Jack. (For those horribly missing out by not knowing Jack, he does an outstanding job as the Bemidji State beat writer for the Bemidji Pioneer.) But you asked, so here's my answer:
Despite lacking the power of triplets the men's counterparts have, Bemidji State has been winning in non-conference action. Shutting out Vermont and RPI? Going to Pttsburgh and sweeping Robert Morris? The only hiccup for the Beavers was the Catamounts equipment arriving late and delaying the game by two days.
Getting good early goaltending from both Brittini Mowat and Erin Deters, who split the four games, is a great sign that can carry into WCHA play. The question for the Beavers is how strong the non-conference was. Vermont did beat North Dakota in Grand Forks and win and tie against RPI - good news if you're in the Bemidji is not a fluke camp.
The next month-plus is going to tell us where Bemidji State stands. BSU travels this weekend to Ohio State, hosts Wisconsin, travels to Ridder to face the Gophers then comes back to Bemidji to host North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth. Those ten games feature the five teams that finished above the Beavers in last year's standings and are going to test.
By the way, this weekend features some great WCHA women's games. Besides BSU-OSU - a rematch of the brawl game with 19(!) game DQs and 303 penalty minutes - UMD comes off a tie/shootout win over the Gophers and faces North Dakota and Minnesota travels to Madison to face Wisconsin in a #1 (Badgers) vs #2 (Gophers) series masquerading as two border rivals. Damn those should be fun.
@gopherstate What's your favorite college hockey arena to watch a game at?— Andrew Ries (@ariespuzzles) October 15, 2014
Taking out Mariucci Arena - a building that has the balance of tradition and modern amenities down - since it's the obvious answer out of all the arenas I've seen games live, Michigan Tech's John MacInnes Ice Arena. It's a barn in the finest sense. The band is great. The fans are friendly and fun. If you haven't been up to Houghton and get the chance, I recommend it.
That said there are several buildings I want to get to before all is said and done.
@gopherstate what's your favorite hockey movie— Darian Somers (@StuffSomersSays) October 14, 2014
Depends on the day. The nostalgic part of me has to go with the first "Mighty Ducks." It's a movie that came along at the right time. I identify with being a ragtag kid in the inner city, playing in several of the same outdoor and indoor rinks, going against those flashy suburban kids (the cake eating Hawks). One time a buddy and I tried to do the D2 duck call scene short of rollerblading through the Mall of America. It did not go well.
As an adult I can admit my love of the childhood ridiculousness doesn't always match good storytelling where the action on the ice contrasts and adds to the stakes off of it. On that end, even though I watched Slap Shot II before the original, Slap Shot rises above the rest. It's a movie I'll watch any day of the week.
Enough about me. What is your favorite hockey movie readers?
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate