The Gophers cannot avoid the big injury over the last several years. Over the last three seasons, the Gophers have sustained season-ending injuries to key players on their rosters. In 2007-2008, Ryan Stoa went down with a knee injury after just two games. Taylor Matson tore up his knee in 2008-2009, and Matson went down again along with Jay Barriball in 2009-2010. In 2010-2011, Zach Budish has gone down for the season.
Budish was involved in a moped accident on campus this week. Preliminary reports indicate that Budish has torn his ACL and will be out for the remainder of the season.
This is a gigantic blow to the Gophers' chances this season. Budish was a player that was coming into his own. He was just learning to use his talent and his body to become a force out on the ice. The Gophers will likely replace Budish in the lineup with some combination of Patrick White, Tom Serratore, Jared Larson and Max Gardiner, but Budish's presence will be missed in the Gopher lineup.
Also on the Gopher injury report is forward Nick Larson. Larson took a puck to the ankle in practice several weeks ago and has been out of the lineup since. Larson is a solid third/fourth line forward who logs a lot of ice time on the penalty kill. Larson may be back for the Wisconsin series, but if not he'll definitely be back after the bye week the team as following their weekend set against the Badgers.
The Gophers have two other players out due to mono. Nick Bjugstad and Jake Parenteau both came down with the debilitating sickness and are likely to miss another 3-6 weeks. Bjugstad could be back as early as 3 weekends from now, but mono is an illness that takes its toll differently with different people. In any case, look to see both of these players out of the lineup for a substantial period of time.
The Gophers' supposed depth is going to be tested with three regulars and one important backup out of the lineup. The freshmen and the role players need to step it up if the Gophers can continue their winning streak.