Minnesota Sports Briefs: Gopher bowl game Friday nightMinnesota Sports
-- The University of Minnesota Golden Gopher Football team is in Houston continuing to prep for the Meineke Car Care Bowl against Texas Tech on Friday.
HOUSTON - The University of Minnesota Golden Gopher Football team is in Houston continuing to prep for the Meineke Car Care Bowl against Texas Tech on Friday.
The Gophers last played in a bowl game in 2009 when they took part in the Insight Bowl against Iowa State. The Gophers went through their final 'on-field' practice yesterday and today will have a walk through at Relaint Stadium, home of the NFL's Houston Texans. Kick-off Friday is at 8 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.
Texas Tech got a boost at practice yesterday when tight end Jace Amaro worked out with his teammates. Amaro had missed the Red Raiders final six games after suffering an injury in a win over West Virginia on October 13th. Amaro had 23 catches in the first six games of the year, including four touchdowns.
The United States national junior men's hockey team has named its final roster and two players with Minnesota connections have made it. University of Minnesota defenseman Mike Reilly of Chanhassen is on the squad, as is Wayzata native Mario Lucia. Lucia is the son of Gopher coach Don Lucia and a freshman player at Notre Dame. Gopher defenseman Brady Skjei of Lakeville took part in tryouts, but did not make the final roster. Team USA is playing in the World Juniors Championship in Ufa, Russia. South St. Paul native Phil Housley, a U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer and currently the head coach at Stillwater High School, is coaching the team and will be assisted by Gopher assistant Grant Potulny. So far so good for the U.S. as they blanked Germany 8-0 this morning. They play Russia on Friday.
The Xcel Energy Center continues to sit empty as the NHL lockout lingers. The Minnesota Wild was to have played their 34th regular season game last night. The Dallas Stars were to have visited St. Paul for the game. The owners and players have been unable to work out a labor deal, leading to the cancellation of regular-season games through January 14th as well as the Winter Classic and All-Star Game.