|Photo Courtesy of Third String Goalie|
6'3" 193 Pounds 8/25/1994 Wayzata, MN
University of Notre Dame (CCHA, soon to be Hockey East)
(Damn college hockey realignment)
It's been quite the last few months for Lucia; he skips the Wild Prospect Development Camp because he enrolled in Summer Classes at Notre Dame, and then breaks his leg during practice before the season starts, which had endangered his chance of making the United States World Junior Team, which he had a strong Evaluation Camp.
Well, he came back ahead of schedule, and promptly lit the CCHA on fire; scoring 10 points in nine games. He then joined Team USA for the World Juniors in Ufa, Russia. Although by the end of the tournament he saw little playing time as the 13th forward, it was fine with him- he was asked about it, and in effect said that there are people who would kill to be in his position, so he enjoyed every second of of the experience, which culminated in a Gold Medal.
|Photo Courtesy of USA Hockey|
Talent Analysis: A tall and lanky player; one can presume that he still has some filling out to do and should top out at 210-215 pounds when fully mature. Very smart player- instinctively knows where to go to find pay dirt. Despite his frame his wide base makes him very effective in puck protection along the walls and behind the net. Excellent vision makes him a play making threat, especially from behind the net. Skating still improves, as his crossovers and transitions aren't especially powerful- the speed comes from having quick feet. His north south stride does have good acceleration and deceptive speed, which can catch defenders by surprise. Must work on creating his own shot; tried a couple times to quickly stickhandle and fire pucks through defenders' legs (ala Marian Gaborik early in his career) only to have them deflected away or blocked. Fights for every square inch when he occupies the area around the crease. Willing participant defensively. Supports his defensemen and linemates.
Nate's thoughts from Tuesday: Playing on a line with T.J. Tynan and Mike Voran, Lucia was the lone underclassmen in Notre Dame's top-six. He used to his size well to open up opportunities his smaller linemates (Tynan stands at 5'8", 165 lbs and Voran is 5'11", 188 lbs) and was one of the few Notre Dame players to find success around the Minnesota net. In fact, he made the area behind the net his own ala Andrew Brunette. The Fighting Irish struggled to move their feet with the majority of their shots coming from beyond the circle. Like Dan said, he needs to work on creating his shot - especially during even-strength opportunities - and defensively he was on the ice for 2 of the Gophers' 3 even-strength goals. Mario was one of the few (if not the only) Notre Dame top-six forward not to play on the penalty kill but did see time on the first power play unit.
It's hard to know how much being in Russia three days prior and limited ice time in the WJC affected Lucia on Tuesday. Unfortunately per Notre Dame team policy freshmen are not made available for media. However, there were plenty of positives to take away from the 2011 second round pick and Mario has grown on the ice since the last time he played at Minnesota's development camp in the summer of 2011.