Led by Guentzel, the Gophers power play is No. 1 in the nation.
After three consecutive sub-par seasons, the Gophers are off to an unbelievable start to the 2011-2012 campaign. One of the reasons might be the return of former assistant coach Mike Guentzel.
Captain of the 1984-1985 Gophers, Guentzel strung together an impressive coaching resume after joining the staff in 1994, including two national championships, five Frozen Fours and 11 NCAA tournament appearances before resigning in 2008. The Marble, Minn. native works primarily with the defensemen and power-play units under the new title of associate head coach. For Guentzel, there’s more to it.
“From my perspective, I hope there’s a certain sense of preparation, a sense of focus, a sense of passion for playing hard every day and performing hard for the program,” Guentzel said. “For the letter on the front of your jersey. That’s what it should be about.”
While previously serving as an assistant coach at Nebraska-Omaha, head coach and general manager of the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers and Colorado College assistant coach, Mike’s sons have been busy as well.
A quick snapshot of Ryan, Gabe and Jake show the family’s bloodlines remain hockey heavy – with all developing their own identity and pathway.
“I think hopefully all of them have the hockey sense,” Guentzel said. “I think they have the heart and passion to play the game. If you have some sense and you have a passion, then you have a chance to be a player. Each of them has evolved in their own way.”
Signed with EHC Klostersee of the German Oberliga where the forward has posted a team-leading 22 points, including 10 goals and 12 assists through 13 games. Former Gopher and Grand Rapids standout Patrick White is second on the team in points.
Ryan was a four-year letter winner for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He served as an alternate captain last year as a senior, when he tallied 6 goals and 33 assists en route to the Frozen Four. He scored 114 points during three seasons at Hill-Murray and then spent time in the NAHL and USHL before attending Notre Dame.
Neither Ryan nor Gabe were heavily recruited in high school. That is not the case with Jake, who is entering his junior year at Hill-Murray. As a sophomore, he scored 19 goals and 30 assists for 49 points in 28 games – quite an accomplishment at the prep hockey hotbed. Jake finished second in this fall’s Elite League with 44 points in 24 games and seems poised to continue playing at a high level.
Gabe has posted 2 goals and 5 assists in just six games with Colorado College early this season. Gabe has been a point-producing defenseman all of his college career and has now taken on more of a leadership role as a senior and assistant captain. His defensive prowess, however, might be overlooked. Gabe has always taken care of business in his own end and the Tigers are expected to do great things this season with him on the blue line.