Wild’s Zuccarello picking his spots, extends scoring streak
Mats Zuccarello, Wild forward (↑ UP)
Zuccarello hasn’t done much shooting this season — he’s registered just 14 shots on goal through 11 games — but he’s making them count. The veteran playmaker helped the Wild snap a five-game road losing streak Tuesday, scoring the game-tying goal and assisting on Eric Staal’s game-winner in Anaheim. Zuccarello, who now has goals in three straight, stepped out of the box and right into a clean breakaway early in the third period, beating Ducks goalie John Gibson to tie things up.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Wolves center (↑ UP)
Towns returns from his two-game suspension Wednesday, when the Wolves visit Memphis. A quick refresher on his red-hot start: KAT averaged 32.0 points, 13.3 rebounds, 5.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.0 blocks per game with a 64.8 effective field-goal percentage en route to Western Conference player of the week honors during the first three games of the season.
P.J. Fleck, Gophers football coach (↑ UP)
Minnesota, No. 17 in the College Football Playoff rankings, announced Tuesday that they’ve agreed to a seven-year extension with Fleck, who rowed his boat to Minneapolis back in 2017. His Gophers, 8-0 for the first time since 1941, host No. 4 Penn State on Saturday, one of the program’s biggest games in recent memory. The deal, which keeps Fleck under contract through 2026 and pays out $4.6 million in 2020 with raises in each subsequent season, should provide a degree of comfort for a team on the rise as vacancies — and potential vacancies — at high-profile programs loom.
Bob Motzko, Gophers men’s hockey coach (↓ DOWN)
Winless in their last four, Motzko’s Gophers dropped out of the USCHO.com poll last week following consecutive losses to Minnesota Duluth, and were shut out from the 8:26 mark of the third period Friday, Oct. 25 (vs. Minnesota Duluth) until the 5:41 mark of the third period last Friday (vs. Notre Dame). A pair of third-period goals broke the streak and netted the Gophers a 2-2 tie with the undefeated Irish, but Notre Dame stormed back Saturday, dealing Minnesota a 5-3 loss. Its struggled on both ends of late, averaging just 2.50 goals per game while allowing three.
Amy Potomak, Gophers forward (↑ UP)
Meanwhile, Potomak, a sophomore forward, earned the No. 1 spot on SportsCenter’s top-10 after beating Wisconsin goaltender Kristen Campbell with this filthy move during the shootout Sunday. Her spectacular score stood up as the game-winner, earning Minnesota an extra point in the WCHA standings and the No. 1 spot in the USCHO.com poll.
Jarrett Culver, Wolves guard (↑ UP)
Culver went off for the first time in the Wolves’ 131-109 win over Washington, the first game of Towns’ suspension. The sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, Culver scored 20 points on 47.1% shooting with five rebounds, an assist and a steal, going 4-for-9 from deep.