So. | F | Grand Forks, N.D.
playing in just 15 games, Ryan Potulny finished second
among Gopher rookies in scoring with 14 points.
Statistics: Averaged nearly a point per game last
season, despite missing two-thirds of his freshman campaign
with a torn ligament in his left knee. Finished second among
Gopher rookies in scoring with 6-8—14 despite playing
in just 15 games.
He Does: Despite a "blink and you missed it"
rookie year, Potulny's his coach won't let a lack of experience
stand in the way of playing time this season. Don Lucia says
that he expects Potulny to play 25 minutes a game and quarterback
the Gophers' top power play unit, meaning that Potulny needs
to be in tip-top shape right away. "Ryan always has had
natural talent, but he maybe lacked Grant's work ethic,"
says Lucia. "The injury forced him to work harder, which
will really help his game this year."
Bigger Picture: Your freshman year of college is
widely renowned as a chance to start over with a clean slate.
For Potulny, ditto for his sophomore year, which Lucia calls
a "do over" for the sizeable forward. The Gophers'
hopes for a three-peat took a tumble last November when Potulny
was sidelined, and he provided an immediate boost after returning
to the lineup in early March. Lucia now calls the injury a
blessing in disguise, because the time off the ice allowed
Potulny a chance to do some work in the weight room and get
"stronger and leaner."
coach Don Lucia on Potulny: "I expected Ryan
to be an All-Rookie team candidate last year, so it was a
big blow to lose him for much of the season. But in the games
he played, I felt he was the best passer on our team, and
I don't think we would've won the Final Five without him in
the lineup late in the season."