Mario Lucia breaks leg; Bulldog Country to debut on My9; More Mike Snee

When Minnesota Duluth opens its road season Oct. 18 at Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish won’t have freshman forward Mario Lucia of Wayzata, Minn., in the lineup. Lucia broke a leg Wednesday in South Bend, Ind. Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune has an update here.

Did you know that My9 in Duluth now has a UMD-themed sports show? Bulldog Country debuts on at 7 p.m. Friday (and re-airs at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.) First-week guests include football coach Bob Nielson and volleyball player Kate Lange, a junior from Hibbing.

According to the Northland’s NewsCenter: The local and college sports show will feature high school and college coaches.

Todd Milewski of U.S. College Hockey Online gives a closer look at Duluth native Mike Snee, new head of College Hockey, Inc. in a story here.

Sled hockey benefit, Snee, McCoshen, 2013 Hobey candidates

With Minnesota Duluth’s opening game just 37 days away, you can almost see the college season from here.

UMD  will face Minnesota Northern in a sled hockey benefit exhibition at 2 p.m. on Sept. 8 at the Duluth Heritage Sports Center. The Hockey is for Everybody game is free and open to the public.

Minnesota Northern, formed in 2006, includes disabled men and women age 16 and older. The team is a member of the Midwest Sled Hockey League and the Minnesota Disabled Hockey chapter of USA Hockey.

Fans will receive a primer on sled hockey, have a chance to take photos with UMD’s players and be part of an onsite silent auction of UMD gear and framed artwork from Duluthian Tim Cortes.

Proceeds will benefit Duluth Area Special and Sled Hockey, which started in January, and the Minnesota Sled Hockey Association. Information: Kelly Erickson (218) 723-6256 or Christian Koelling (612) 720-3161.

Julie Robenhymer of Hockey Buzz takes an early look at 2013 Hobey Baker Memorial Award candidates, to follow Jack Connolly, in a post here.

The Hockey News profiles prospect Ian McCoshen, a defenseman from Faribault, Minn., playing for Waterloo (Iowa) in the U.S. Hockey League. He says UMD is among schools he’s considering in a story here.

Duluth native Mike Snee was named Tuesday as executive director of College Hockey, Inc. He spent the past four years as executive director of Minnesota Hockey and begins his new job Sept. 17.

An official news release is here.

College Hockey News has a story here.

U.S. College Hockey Online has a story here.

Chris Peters of the United States of Hockey takes a look at Snee here.

WCHA mobile web site; Brown; Nyhus; Housley; Goucher

The WCHA announced news of its new mobile web site Wednesday, for the men’s and women’s web site, noting that it includes significant updates and upgrades to the previous platform. The release is here.

Tampa Bay’s 2012-13 prospects are ranked, including winger J.T. Brown at No. 3, in a story from on the team web site here.

According to U.S. College Hockey Online, it appears the 2014 NCAA Division III men’s title game will be held in conjunction with the Division I Frozen Four in Philadelphia. The Todd Milewski story is here.

Robert “Evan” Nyhus, a Duluth native who played on Denfeld High School’s first hockey team, and at Minnesota Duluth and the University of Minnesota, recently died in San Diego, Calif. An update from the News Tribune is here.

In recent professional signings: former University of Minnesota forward Nico Sacchetti of Virginia is with Vålerenga in Norway in a non-translated release here.

And Duluth native Josh Mizerek is with Eindhoven Kemphanen in the Netherlands here.

U.S. coach Phil Housley talked with on reviewing the recent USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., in a story here.

Kara Goucher looks back at her Aug. 5 race in the Summer Olympics women’s marathon, from Wednesday’s News Tribune, here.

And Goucher’s older sister, Kelly Grgas-Wheeler of Duluth, talked with the Northland’s NewsCenter about her Olympian sibling and a trip to London for the Summer Games here.

Connolly lifts Farjestad to victory in pro debut

Center Jack Connolly of Duluth scored twice Friday night in his professional debut helping Farjestad BK win its 2012-13 Swedish Elite League season opener at home, 5-2 over ZSC Zurich before a crowd of 3,451 in Karlstad, Sweden. Connolly’s family was on hand for the victory.

Connolly scored on a power play just 1:56 into the game and broke a 1-1 tie with a second-period goal. He was named the player of the game.

The Farjestad web site has a translated recap with player quotes here and a post-game video with Connolly here.

The online site, Hockey’s Future, talked with incoming Minnesota Duluth freshman defenseman Andy Welinski in a video here.

Former UMD defenseman Jason Garrison, a recent addition to the Vancouver Canucks, talked about a looming NHL lockout with British Columbia’s daily newspaper, The Province, for a story here.

Koelling, Kuhlman, Dell, Biggs, Faulk, Ryan

Minnesota Duluth’s Christian Koelling is the video coach for the United States Under 18 team competing this week in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament in Breclav, Czech Republic. Esko forward Karson Kuhlman is a forward on the team.

The Americans face the Czech Republic on Tuesday following Russia’s 2-1 shootout victory over the Monday’s opener. USA Hockey’s tournament page is here.

Chris Peters of the United States of Hockey looks at the USA’s Under 18 team here.

Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford has some future-hall-of-fame high praise for defenseman Justin Faulk, who is entering his second pro season. Rutherford’s comments are on the CBS Sports Eye on Hockey blog right here.

North Dakota goalie Aaron Dell, with a year of eligibility remaining, has signed a professional contract. Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald has the story here.

Miami of Ohio forward Tyler Biggs has left the program after one year to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs. An update from the Maple Leafs from the USA Junior camp is here and the news from last week on his signing here.

The Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League have been fined $400,000 for violating recruitment policies. The Windsor Star had a Monday commentary on the situation and Ontario Hockey League commissioner Dave Branch here.

Last week’s official statement from the league is here.

Columnist Bob Ryan has closed a marvelous 44-year career with the Boston Globe. His farewell column from Sunday is here.

Ugandan Kiprotich wins Olympic marathon in 2:08:01

Stephen Kiprotich, 23, gave Uganda its first gold medal of the 2012 Summer Olympics, and first since 1972, by winning Sunday’s men’s marathon in 2:08:01 ahead of two Kenyan runners. Meb Keflezighi, the only American finisher, was fourth in 2:11:06 on a warm day, after having been a silver medalist in 2004.

American Abdi Abdirahman, who won the USA Half Marathon Championships in Duluth in June, and teammate Ryan Hall did not finish. In a field of 105, there were 20 runners who didn’t complete the 26.2 miles.

The IAAF web site has a complete list of finishers here.

The Huffington Post has a story here.

The Science of Sport web site has detailed live analysis of the race here.

This update from USA Track and Field:

LONDON – Eight years after his Olympic silver, Meb Keflezighi (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) returned to the Olympic marathon at the age of 37 to finish in fourth place in 2:11:06 under hot and humid conditions on the streets of London.

Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda brought home his country’s first medal of the London Games and only their third athletics medal of all time as he won gold in 2:08:01. He was followed by Abel Kirui in 2:08:27 and Wilson Kipsang in 2:09:37, both of Kenya.

It was an unfortunate day for Ryan Hall (Flagstaff, Ariz.) and Abdi Abdirahman (Tucson, Ariz.) who succumbed to injuries mid-way through the race and stepped off the course around 18km. Hall withdrew after the first large loop and moments later Abdirahman also called it a day. Abdirahman ran with the lead pack for the first 5km before fading to 29th at the 15km mark

Athlete Quotes

Meb Keflezighi: “Coming here I told my wife, ‘I have a feeling I’m going to finish fourth.’ Did I want to finish fourth – no. But at the World or Olympic games I’ll take it, especially considering that I did not make the Olympics [in 2008]. I 2004, to be a silver medalist, I know how that feels, so I congratulate those people who finished first, second and third. Everybody works hard to accomplish such a thing and I am very proud of myself and our country to finish fourth. It’s not where you want to be sometimes, but fourth place at my last Olympics – I’ll take it anytime.”

Ryan Hall: “It was my right hamstring.  I don’t know if it is tendonitis or something up high in the connection. But it was nothing that was that serious in training. We’ve been doing a lot of work on it to keep it clean, but it is just something that got progressively tighter as the race was going on. I felt like I was really favoring my stride and didn’t want to get injured. I’ve never DNF’d a race before, so this is a first for me. Not finishing a race is not an option unless I think I’m going to do serious damage to my career. Those last couple of miles I’m weighing in my head, ‘do I sit out here and could I have run 26 miles and finish in 3 hours or something.’ But my stride was getting worse and worse…This wasn’t something I could work through.”

Abdi Abdirahman: “I felt like I was feeling good during the race. I was in good position and feeling really good. I thought I was going to make a move at 13 miles, but something happened. There was just this pop in my [right] knee, I don’t know what it is, but it just popped when we turned and I tried to run a couple more miles, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. It was just painful. There was no warning. I had a little problem in training, but it was nothing. We looked at it at the USOC and there was just some water on my [right] knee. But it didn’t bother me while I was training. I did a 20 miler a week and a half ago. I had great workouts last week, everything was going well for me, but unfortunately something popped and I don’t know what it is.

“It was the hardest thing for me to do, but at the same time I didn’t want to push it and limp in dead last. That’s not what I was here for. The best thing for me was to shut it down.”

Welinski makes USA Junior camp roster cut; Jutting to Omaha; New Tech jerseys

Incoming Minnesota Duluth defensman Andy Welinski of Duluth is among 34 players still at the USA Junior Evaluation Camp this week in Lake Placid, N.Y. A cut was made from 45 players Tuesday. The Americans will compete in games against Sweden and Finland. The camp ends Saturday. The 2013 World Junior Championships are Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Ufa, Russia.

A news release from USA hockey is here.

A 34-player camp roster is here.

Chris Peters of the United States of Hockey looks at the USA Hockey cuts and the current roster in a posting here.

Troy Jutting, released as head coach at Minnesota State Mankato earlier this year, has joined the staff of Dean Blais at Nebraska-Omaha. The Omaha World-Herald has a story here.

Michigan Tech, via the Mining Gazette’s Stephen Anderson, has three new jerseys for 2012-13 including white here, black here and gold alternate here.

Penn State has a Twitter photo showing a section of the Pegula Ice Arena now in place as construction moves ahead here.

An endurance Sunday: Olympic women’s marathon, Brewhouse Triathlon

Sunday was an endurance day in Northeastern Minnesota.

The Summer Olympics women’s marathon was run primarily in the rain in London. Training partners Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher of Portland, Ore., finished 10th and 11th, within a few seconds of each other.

The News Tribune has a game story here and a reaction from Goucher’s family here.

A Goucher photo gallery from the race is here.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune had a women’s marathon story here.

The Portland Oregonian has a story here.

And in Pike Lake, the 26th Brewhouse Triathlon was held in nearly ideal conditions (although it was a bit windy). Duluthians Brian Bich and Elaine Nelson were the long-course winners. A story is here.

Women’s Olympic marathon: Final Flanagan 10th, Goucher 11th

Ethiopia’s Tiki Gelana won Sunday’s Summer Olympics women’s marathon in a race-record 2 hours, 23 minutes, 7 seconds in London to lead a field of 116, the largest in Olympic history. She was followed by Kenya’s Priscah Jeptoo in 2:23:12 and Tatyan Petrova Arkhipova of Russia third in 2:23:29. Race favorite Mary Keitany of Kenya was fourth.

American Shalane Flanagan was 10th in 2:25:51 and American Kara Goucher, a former Duluthian, was 11th in 2:26:07. It was the first Olympic marathon for the American training partners from Portland, Ore.

It was the third Olympics for Flanagan, 31, and the second for Goucher, 34, who both previously were in track events. In 2008 in Beijing, China, Flanagan was third at 10,000 meters, while Goucher was ninth at 5,000 meters and 10th at 10,000 meters.

“I’ve got to be honest, when I saw her [Shalane] with two miles to go, it actually broke my spirit. Because I thought one of us had a shot. People mess up, and I’ve trained so hard. I didn’t even know women trained the way that I’ve trained with Shalane. I didn’t know it existed. And I really thought that with the right window of opportunity, one of us could deliver and unfortunately it didn’t come to be,” Goucher told USA Track and Field.

“A championship race is just different. It was good for Shalane and I. We had no intention of leading and matching everyone else’s cadence, but we decided to stay up front because it was clean. Both times I tried to go back to the second and third row, I got pushed and grunted at and stepped on, so I thought, ‘What the heck, I’ll go ahead and lead the Olympic marathon. I mean, I have no shot of winning this but I’ll lead as long as they let me.’

“I never really gave up. Every time I tried to press in that last lap, my back just hurt so bad. It was really frustrating. [The cramps] started in adductors of right calf and then it went to my back. I haven’t cramped since I ran the NYC Marathon. I honestly haven’t felt that kind of pain since I pushed out a baby. I’m serious. Shalane cramped very badly as well – same place, so we’re both a little confused and annoyed.

The race started with rain and 64 degrees and finished in sun on a technically-difficult, many-turns course over 26.2 miles.

Goucher has a personal best of 2:24:52 and Flanagan 2:25:38.

“There were some really tough spots. It was tough just to let people pass me, and I had no oomph to go with them. I tried to react, like in a track race, but it is really different for me in the marathon. You already have a lot of miles in your legs and it is so, so, so hard. I could feel myself cramping, but it is what it is. The fans were amazing; I couldn’t even hear my own thoughts. The fans were just deafening. It was a lot of fun besides cramping and feeling awful.

“I just was hoping I could chomp away and get closer, and I did at times, and I fell off at times. I was yo-yo-ing all over the place.

“One minute I was wearing my hat, the next minute I felt hot in it. But you know it was like Portland weather, I’m not fazed by it. It’s like home.

“Kara and I prepared our bodies and our minds the best we could, and we knew that on any given day we are both really good competitors and can run with the best. The ultimate goal was to get on the podium. This is my third marathon and I’m learning every time. I’ve got to make some mistakes to get to that level.”

The third American runner, Desiree Davila, dropped out at five kilometers with an injury that occurred before the Olympic Games.

“Obviously I’m coming in a little beat up and injured, and this was the first day of really testing it out on solid ground, and you don’t know what you are going to get. I made it to 2.2 [miles] which is the first loop,” said Davila. “I could tell on the first turn that it wasn’t going to be right today. You know, you can’t fake the marathon, and that is where we get our confidence, from training and knowing what it means and training hard. All of that has been missing by running on an Alter-G for basically the last month.

“I’ve been training for this race for the past three months, and I ran into a problem a month out. I’ve been training through pain and having ups and downs and highs and lows. I do feel like you have to cross the line to be an Olympian and to have that title. And I feel like I’ve earned that, obviously throughout my entire career, but the last month especially. I’ve put everything I’ve had in to getting here and hopefully getting the health and the fitness.

“That was one of the hardest things getting to the start knowing that there was a really good chance I would DNF, and I’ve never done that before. I don’t really know how to do that.”