MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Harding placed on injured reserve
The Minnesota Wild have placed goaltender Josh Harding on the Injured Reserve list and recalled minor league goalie Johan Gustafson from AHL Iowa. Minnesota general manager Chuck Fletcher says Harding needs a minor adjustment to his treatment protocol for Multiple Sclerosis. The 29-year-old Harding is in the midst of the best season of his career, sporting a season record of 18-5-and-3. He is first in the NHL in goals-against average, tied for first in shutouts, and second in save percentage and wins. Fletcher says they are shooting for Harding's return in the December 27th game in Winnipeg. The Wild are at Pittsburgh tonight.
The Minnesota Twins have sent catcher and utility man Ryan Doumit to Atlanta. The Twins get left-handed pitching prospect Sean Gilmartin in return. The 23-year-old Gilmartin is a Florida State product and a 2011 first round pick of Atlanta. He has struggled in the minor leagues, however, sporting a career 12-and-20 record with a 4.23 earned run average. He will sign a minor league deal with Minnesota with an invite to Major League spring training. The 33-year-old Doumit played in 269 games for the Twins in 2012 and 2013. He clubbed 32 home runs in two seasons in Minnesota. He can catch, play first base, or the outfield.
The Timberwolves jumped out to a 69-33 lead at halftime and held on for a 120-109 victory against the Trail Blazers at the Target Center last night. Kevin Love exploded for 29 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists, while Nikola Pekovic posted 30 points and nine rebounds. Minnesota has won four of six to get back to .500 through 26 games. Damian Lillard dropped 36 points with six assists and six rebounds in the loss. Lillard drained seven buckets from behind the arc, giving him 15 threes in the last two games. LaMarcus Aldridge was 7-of-22 from the field, but still had a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Portland had a five-game winning streak come to an end. Minnesota is off tonight and plays the Lakers in Los Angeles tomorrow night.
Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel is excited to be starting for the third week in a row when he leads the Purple onto the field at Cincinnati on Sunday at noon. Cassel led the Vikes to victory last week in a home game against Philadelphia. Cassel says his weekly preparation hasn't changed from when he was a reserve and he thinks his teammates appreciate his consistently in preparation. Meanwhile, head coach Leslie Frazier says his message to No. 2 signal-caller Christian Ponder is to be ready. He says he told Ponder he is one play away from being back on the field. Minnesota is 4-9-and-1, while the Bengals are 9-and-5.
The Golden Gopher football team was back on the practice field yesterday, getting ready for the Texas Bowl in Houston against Syracuse. The game is slated for one week from tomorrow night. Head coach Jerry Kill says it has been a challenging week for his team. He says they've worked hard each day of practice, while the players managed time to study for final exams this week. The Gophers are 8-and-4, while the Orange are 6-and-6. Minnesota leaves on Saturday for Houston. The December 27th game kicks off at 5 p.m. There are tickets still remaining through the Gopher athletics office.
The travel roster for Team USA has been set for the upcoming World Junior Championships, scheduled for next week in Malmo, Sweden. Among those now in Sweden are current Golden Gophers Brady Skjei of Lakeville and Hudson Fasching of Burnsville. Also on the roster is Minnesota State-Mankato player Zach Stepan of Hastings. Team USA head coach Don Lucia of the University of Minnesota made the travel roster public yesterday, hours before the team left for Europe. Lucia will be assisted by St. Cloud State head coach Don Motzko. Team USA will play two exhibitions in Sweden before beginning competition late next week.
Two players from the WCHA have received one-game suspensions, including Bemidji State Phillip Marinaccio. Marinaccio was hit with the penalty based on an illegal check he delivered to a player from Alaska in a game on December 14th. He will serve the one-game ban on January 3rd when the Beavers play Northern Michigan. Alabama-Huntsville's Ben Reinhardt will also sit out one game based on an illegal check he delivered to a player from Minnesota State-Mankato on December 14th. He will serve the one-game penalty on December 27th against Wisconsin.
It is now official. The University of Minnesota men's basketball team will open next season by playing Louisville at a U-S Coast Guard base in Puerto Rico. The season-opening game is set for November 14th and will be played at Air Station Borinquen. The contest will be nationally televised and features Louisville head coach Rick Pitino facing his son Richard Pitino, who coaches the Golden Gophers. The game is part of the "Armed Forces Classic" series.
The Golden Gopher men's and women's basketball teams are each preparing games tomorrow at Williams Arena. The Minnesota men are hosting Nebraska-Omaha for an 8 p.m. game at the Barn on Friday. Minnesota is 9-and-2, while U-N-O is 8-and-3. Meanwhile, the Gopher women host UCLA for a noon game at Williams Arena on Friday. That is the opening game of a three-team, round robin tournament the U of M is hosting. Game Two of the weekend is Saturday at 2 p.m. and features UCLA against Auburn. Auburn then plays Minnesota on Sunday at 2 p.m. The Gopher women are 9-and-2. UCLA is 4-and-5. Auburn is 7-and-3.