The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

May 7, 2013

For WCHA fans, Wild hero Zucker has been fun to watch for awhile

Watching the dramatic conclusion of Sunday’s Minnesota Wild game, I couldn’t help but think I’ve seen something like that before.

Jason Zucker’s overtime goal gave the Wild the 3-2 win over the top-seeded Blackhawks and made the series relevant again after Friday’s drubbing at Chicago.

Since the breakup of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association began two years ago, I’ve argued in this column that it’s time for Minnesota State fans to go to the Verizon Wireless Center, first and foremost, to see the Mavericks, not their opponent.

Another reason to buy a ticket? You never know who you’re going to see.

Of course teams such as Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin were going to be big draws, and fans have lamented that those teams wouldn’t be coming back to Mankato very much, if at all, once the league split up into the Big Ten, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference and the “new” WCHA.

Amid those complaints, I was often stumped as to why fans didn’t include a few other teams in that list, namely Denver.

The Pioneers never seemed to be a big draw at the civic center, despite winning a pair of national championships in the early 2000s and having some of college hockey’s top talent.

Zucker was one of those players in 2010-11 and ‘11-12. A second-round draft pick of the Wild in the summer prior to the start of his college career, Zucker had two outstanding seasons at Denver. He scored 45 goals and 91 points in 78 games. In eight games against Minnesota State, he had five goals and six assists for 11 points. That included an overtime goal that ended the Mavericks’ season in ‘10-11.

He only played two games in Mankato, but I recall the impression he made in that series. I sure wanted to see him play again, whether he was in a Pioneers jersey or a Wild uniform. I figured others would want to come out to the rink and see what all the hype was about with him. I surely wasn’t the only one who thought if things work out as expected, it’s going to be fun to watch this guy once he gets to St. Paul.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
Outdoors

Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
Live Moondogs coverage
Shane Frederick's Twitter updates
Chad Courrier's Sports Report
Latest NCAA basketball news
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Byron Scott Reportedly New Head Coach Of Los Angeles Lakers - @TheBuzzeronFox SportsNite: Botched play Gruden: Full-speed practices key for fundamentals Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France College Football Playoff Prognosis: Notre Dame Fighting Irish College Football Playoff Prognosis: Nebraska Cornhuskers Jake Peavy traded from Red Sox to Giants Browns wants Johnny Football to buckle down How Losing Joe Bergeron Affects Texas What will Pierzynski bring to St. Louis? Cristiano Ronaldo -- TEAMING UP WITH LIL WAYNE ... Rapper Starting Sports Management Biz McNabb: Two games is not acceptable for me Ortiz, Price Feud Is Upsetting To Children - @TheBuzzeronFOX MLB Trade Deadline Talk: Price, Stanton, Kemp Tony Romo will be a full-go for camp Teammate's Advice For Johnny Manziel & Josh Gordon - @TheBuzzeronFox Helfrich praises Mariota's commitment to improve World Cup Hero Mario Gotze -- HALF-NAKED MUD BATH ... With Hot Model GF RG3 answers critics, grateful for coaches' support