Frank Talk with Frank Mazzocco

In a few hours my wheels will be rolling along 94-East to Madtown, Wisconsin — where the quartz crystals have a frequency all their own. But it makes for a great, great setting for college hockey. I think the gameday experience in the Kohl Center is the best anywhere. Of course Yost and Mariucci Arenas are right up there, too — what college sports are supposed to be.

Yes, I prefer to drive the early season short trips, and usually the weather cooperates. But especially, I don’t like undressing for the TSA (nor do the people around me want to see that). So my iPod is full of jazz and podcasts. I’m good to go.

The Gopher men’s team will bound into the Kohl Center with a few missing pieces, which will make the weekend all the more interesting. As you know, Jay Barriball is out for the season and Nick Leddy will be out about six weeks. Two huge losses. The team that found itself last weekend against Alaska-Anchorage will have to find itself again.

Now at the end of a season-opening stretch of eight straight conference games, it was critical that the beloved rodents found themselves against the Seawolves. Skewered in Grand Forks and absolutely arid against Denver, it was good to see them roll up nine goals over the weekend. It had to reassure them that they can produce against a stiff defense.

I was just about to write to tell you how good the Badgers are and came to realize that neither team is ranked! What? When was the last time THAT happened in the Border Battle? There’s a bit more research to do before puck drop Friday night. Bucky’s defense is both shut-down good and offensively dangerous. It will be an extreme challenge; they are much better than unrated team.

Three guys I’m watching:

Tony Lucia — he has the makings of a marvelous, marvelous story this season. He told us on Wednesday that he’s well aware the yardstick to measure him is longer than anyone else’s, what with Dad being the coach. So far, he’s looking like he can pull the plow for the team.

Taylor Matson — looking forward to week-by-week improvement after a year of knee rehab. He’s very tough to defend.

Mike Hoeffel — played with a high degree of emotion, energy, and dogged determination last weekend. Mike, more please!

(Notice they’re all forwards? Goldy needs goals!)

“They” told me to keep this short. I don’t follow instructions very well. Enjoy the games — I know I will.

~Frank