From FoxSports North
Adam Wilcox came to the University of Minnesota campus this fall for a job interview of sorts.
The freshman from South St. Paul was in a competition with junior Mike Shibrowski to become Golden Gophers' starting goaltender. For the first few weeks of the college hockey season, Minnesota coach Don Lucia played each goalie for one game a weekend to see how they handled certain situations.
But there was one game — and perhaps even one play — in October when Wilcox seized the starting job and made it his own.
No. 2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 1 @ No. 1 Minnesota Golden Gophers 4
G Adam Wilcox, MIN: Win, 22 saves on 23 shots, *Second Star*
Season totals: 18 GP, 13-2-2, 1.60 GAA, .929 sv%, 3 SO
Adam Wilcox was named second star on Tuesday night as he backstopped the No. 1 Golden Gophers to a big win over a top-2 team for the second game in a row. The Gophers defeated the visiting No. 2 Irish, 4-1, taking a 2-0 lead early, adding some insurance to make it 3-1, then finishing up with an empty net goal late. Last week they beat then-No. 1 Boston College, 8-1. Wilcox continues to be one of the best stories in the WCHA this year. He has made 17 consecutive starts for Minnesota, who is now ranked No. 1. He wasn’t at his absolute best on Tuesday night, as the shot that beat him was a rolling puck that entered the crease and bounced over his laid-down paddle and through his legs. He made up for it later with a full-extension toe save on a breakaway attempt by Notre Dame. Minnesota plays two against Alaska-Anchorage this weekend before they meet their rivals, North Dakota, in two weeks.
No. 12 Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 1 @ No. 9 Quinnipiac Bobcats 3
F Matthew Peca, QU: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 17 GP, 5-3-8, +4, 10 PIM
Quinnipiac completed the 2-game sweep of the Mavericks with a 3-1 win on Sunday. Lightning prospect Matt Peca had an assist in the game to give him three points for the weekend and possibly get himself back on track toward last year’s point-per-game pace.
No. 1 Boston College Eagles 1 @ No. 4 Minnesota Golden Gophers 8
G Adam Wilcox, MIN: Win, 32 saves on 33 shots, 1 assist, *First Star*
Season totals: 17 GP, 12-2-2, 1.63 GAA, .927 sv%, 3 SO
Adam Wilcox (pictured) was named tournament MVP as Minnesota crushed top-ranked Boston College to win the Mariucci Classic championship. Wilcox, who was also named to the all-tournament team, was solid all night and spectacular when he needed to be, stopping 32 shots. BC’s lone goal came with the Gophers up 7-0 late in the third period and trying to kill off a 5-on-3 power play. Steven Whitney scored on a slapshot from the circles through traffic that went over Wilcox’s shoulder as he crouched to see the shot. Wilcox stopped at least five prime scoring chances in the first period when it was a close game, then in the second came up huge multiple times, including a highlight-reel glove save on a 2-on-1. The puck carrier had his passing option taken away from him on the rush, so after trying to out-wait Wilcox, fired high glove side. Wilcox snared the puck and snapped it into his body, reminiscent of Patrick Roy in his prime.
He came into the game seventh in the nation in goals against average and drew endless praise from Fox Sports commentators, who called Wilcox a “star” and “one of the top goalies in the country.” Noted Minnesota hockey journalist Michael Russo called him “the real deal.”
Wilcox also had his first collegiate assist in the game. Although he likes to play the puck, his helper came when he re-directed a bad angle shot up the center of the ice. The puck split the BC defensemen and Minnesota's Sam Warning (undrafted) pulled away from the defense to corral the puck and deke the goalie for a shorthanded goal.
Wilcox helped the Gophers exact some revenge on BC, who beat Minnesota, 6-1, in the Frozen Four last year on the Lightning’s home ice in Tampa. Things don’t get any easier for the Gophers as their next match is against No. 2 Notre Dame a week from Tuesday.
No. 8 Western Michigan Broncos 0 @ Michigan Tech Huskies 4
D Luke Witkowski, WMU: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 18 GP, 1-3-4, -6, 14 PIM
WMU came up short in their bid to win the Great Lakes Invitational title, falling to unranked Michigan Tech, 4-0. Witkowski was on the ice for what turned out to be the game-winning goal, although he wasn’t directly involved in the play. A Bronco was tripped in the corner which resulted in a Tech shot from a bad angle that beat the Western goaltender, Frank Slubowski, who was not as sharp as he usually is during the game. Witkowski had a couple scoring chances, including a shot on the power play after he pinched down the weak side. His shot was disrupted as he pulled the puck from receiving it on his backhand to his forehand. One notable comment from the Fox Sports Detroit commentators was their suggestion that Witkowski and his defensive partner, Danny DeKeyser, be allowed to rush the puck more. Former NHL coach Andy Murray has WMU playing a staunch defensive system and the defense rarely jumps into the play. Scoring chances are not abundant and they only scored one goal in the 2-game tournament.
Tech’s Phoenix Copley didn’t allow a goal in the tournament and stopped 32 shots on Sunday for the shutout – his second career shutout. Copley, who hails from North Pole, Alaska, was the backup to Lightning prospect Adam Wilcox for some of last season at USHL Tri-City.
*USCHO poll used
No. 11 Cornell Big Red 4 @ Maine Black Bears 6
D/W Kirill Gotovets, COR: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 11 GP, 0-0-0, +3, 4 PIM
They say a 3-goal lead is the worst in hockey and Cornell proved it yet again, blowing a 3-0 first period lead en route to a 6-4 loss in the championship game of the Florida College Classic in Estero. The victory was only Maine’s fourth of the season against 11 losses and a tie.
Northeastern Huskies 5 @ No. 20 Harvard Crimson 1
F Brian Hart, HAR: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 8 GP, 2-2-4, +3, 6 PIM
Brian Hart (pictured, Eric DuBose photo) opened the game’s scoring in the first five minutes, but that is all that Harvard would get on the board in a bad home loss to Northeastern. The Crimson (4-5-1) fell under .500 for the season, to a team that was 5-9-1 coming into the game. Not good. Sharks pick Cody Ferriero had four goals for the Huskies. He came into the game with one goal in 15 games this year.
No. 5 Miami RedHawks 0 @ Robert Morris Colonials 1
F Jimmy Mullin, MIA: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 9 SOG
Season totals: 17 GP, 2-5-7, -2, 8 PIM
Jimmy Mullin played on the top line for the second straight game and had nine shots on goal to lead the RedHawks in that category for the second straight game. Miami outshot the Colonials, 51-21, but couldn’t beat senior goaltender Eric Levine (undrafted). Levine came into the game with a 7-2-2 record, 1.98 GAA, and .949 save percentage. He’s listed at 6’3” and likely has a pro contract in his future. Robert Morris’ 1-0 win gave them the Three Rivers Classic championship in Pittsburgh.
No. 12 Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 4 @ No. 9 Quinnipiac Bobcats 5
F Matthew Peca, QU: 1-1-2, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 16 GP, 5-2-7, +4, 8 PIM
Matt Peca had a goal and an assist as the Bobcats topped the Mavs, 5-4. Jordan Samuels-Thomas swatted home Peca’s centering feed three minutes into the third period to give the Bobcats their fifth goal. Quinnipiac has now won 11 consecutive games. Lightning prospect camper Andrej Sustr had two shots on goal and was minus-1 for UNO. The 6’8” defenseman remains a free agent.
Air Force Falcons 0 @ No. 4 Minnesota Golden Gophers 4
G Adam Wilcox, MIN: Win, 18 saves on 18 shots, *Third Star*
Season totals: 16 GP, 11-2-2, 1.67 GAA, .923 sv%, 3 SO
Adam Wilcox wasn’t tested too often, but came up big when needed – like stopping a breakaway – to lead the Gophers to a 4-0 win over Air Force. The Gophers will face top-ranked Boston College on Sunday in the finals of the Mariucci Classic.
No. 8 Western Michigan Broncos 1 @ Michigan State Spartans 1
(Broncos won shootout, 1-0)
D Luke Witkowski, WMU: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 17 GP, 1-3-4, -5, 14 PIM
WMU advanced to the finals of the Great Lakes Invitational tournament thanks to a fourth-round shootout win over Michigan State at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Western is looking for their first GLI tournament win and will face Michigan Tech in the championship on Sunday. Witkowski played big minutes against MSU’s top line, but took a minus with 17 seconds left in regulation when the Spartans scored on a 6-on-5 advantage. With the puck dumped into the corner, Lightning free agent target Dan DeKeyser chased the puck and his partner, Witkowski, faded to the strong side as a defensemen is supposed to do. WMU’s three forwards watched from the strong side near the slot, leaving the backdoor wide open. A cross-crease pass from a forward who outbattled DeKeyser found an unmarked MSU player who banged the puck into the net. WMU had played well defensively throughout the game and that was MSU’s best scoring chance. Witkowski had several deep rushes and his confidence with and without the puck is at an all-time high.
*USCHO poll used
By Damian Cristodero, Tampa Bay Times
University of Minnesota goalie Adam Wilcox claims he can solve a Rubik's Cube puzzle in "about a minute."
Yeah, right, said laughing Gophers goaltenders coach Justin Johnson. "Maybe if he was doing just one side."
No, really, Wilcox said, "It's just kind of learning patterns. You have to take it step by step."
And that is exactly how Wilcox has turned himself into one of the nation's top freshman goalies and one of the Lightning's most interesting and promising prospects.
For the rest of this story, see the Tampa Bay Times.