The Minnesota Wild have had early success followed by injuries and disappointment this season on the Xcel Energy Center ice. Apparently that extends to its prospects.
|Denver F Jason Zucker (photo from WCHA.com)|
After scoring the game-winning-goal in overtime Thursday night, Wild second-round pick (and current University of Denver Pioneer) Jason Zucker continued his scoring streak in the WCHA Final Five Friday before finishing Saturday's game in the locker room.
More after the jump.
The 59th overall pick in 2010 one-upped his overtime-winning goal Friday. In it, Zucker read the play perfectly, used some unbelievably soft hands to pick up a fluttering saucer pass and put the puck past UMD goalie Kenny Reiter to give the Pioneers a 2-0 lead. They led 3-0 at one point Minnesota Duluth came back to tie the game and the two teams battled to a second overtime before Denver won 4-3.
Zucker's goal, which once again is taken from Fox Sports North. He now has 22 goals and 46 points as a sophomore, which is one more than his total last season.
Saturday, however, saw Zucker in a different state. The DU star is a warrior and has overcome his share of hits (including this one by Kyle Rau in February) but left in the third period of Saturday's WCHA Final Five championship after appearing to injure his shoulder falling backwards. Denver was already down 4-0 to North Dakota at the time and could not muster a comeback.
Zucker was taken to a hospital after the game but nothing serious was found. That's the good news.
Despite losing at the Xcel Energy Center, the Pioneers will be in the NCAA Tournament this weekend facing Ferris State in the first round. Whether or not Jason plays, meanwhile, is up in the air. Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (and more plugged with hockey than anyone this side of Bob McKenzie) stated that he is likely to play. That information, however, came from the Wild. According to a report in College Hockey News, Denver head coach George Gwozdecky is more cautious, choosing to prepare for this weekend as if Zucker will not play.
Regardless, it's an unfortunate situation and one that Wild fans have seen one too many times this season.