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Wildcat rookie Brock Faber finds new home on power play – Twin Cities



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Brock Faber was a team captain, All-American and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year at the University of Minnesota. As a junior, he had four goals and 23 assists, including four in four NCAA Tournament games as he helped the Gophers advance to the 2022-23 national championship final.

But in 97 career college games, there’s one thing he’s never done: earn a role on the Gophers’ power play.

When asked about it during training camp, Faber said part of it was because college players are expected to play more minutes than NHL players, and he was playing PK. But part of that, he says, is that early in his hockey career, “I knew I wasn’t the type of player who was going to fill up the stat sheet.” »

Faber, a rookie from Maple Grove, got his first point on the power play in Sunday afternoon’s 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at the Xcel Energy Center. He played for the first time on the unit in last Thursday’s 6-1 win at Nashville.

“I always knew I could, didn’t I?” And I always hoped that I would be able to participate in the power play at some point in my life,” Faber said this week. “At the same time,” he added, “it’s never something that’s kept me up at night.”

Faber had the second assist on Marco Rossi’s one-timer from the slot, giving Minnesota a 2-0 lead in the first period. Playing the left point, he found Freddy Gaudreau in the left corner and Gaudreau passed to Rossi.

“For me, it was the other two that made the good plays,” he said. “It was a little different for me being on the power play, but, you know, I’m loving every second and hopefully I can keep this going.”

Faber also had the first assist on Rossi’s opening goal, a deflection of Faber’s shot from the point. On the other end, he calmly defused a one-on-one breakaway with Chicago rookie phenom Connor Bedard with a second-period poke check.

This week, Faber and Huxley Eyewear announced a custom line of eyewear designed by Faber. A portion of each sale is donated to the Hendrickson Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by longtime youth hockey coach Larry Hendrickson whose mission is “to enrich the lives of people with disabilities and their families thanks to hockey.

Spurgeon Okay

Wild coach John Hynes said after Sunday’s game that he had no immediate concerns about Jared Spurgeon, who appeared to hurt his left knee midway through the first period.

“As of right now, no,” Hynes said in his post-match press conference.

Spurgeon rushed to keep a puck in the offensive zone when he tangled with a Chicago player and appeared to hyperextend his knee against the boards. He turned around and stayed on the floor before being helped to the trainer’s room, but returned with about a minute left in the period.

The veteran captain missed the first 14 games of the season after suffering an upper-body injury during a preseason game in Chicago on October 5.

“All I know is he came back and played great, so I don’t have anything more than that,” Hynes said.

He has some game

Jake Middleton has built a reputation as a big, no-nonsense defender, capable of killing forechecks and penalties with his size and stick. But he added something to his quiver this season.

Middleton leads all Wild defensemen with four goals after his highlight-reel goal in a 6-1 victory last Thursday in Nashville.

When asked if he was a big scorer in a previous iteration, Middleton laughed. “No,” he said. “Never.”

Against the Predators, Middleton slid the puck into the slot and pushed a backhand shot the other way to give the Wild a 2-0 lead with 6 minutes left in the second period.

“I’ve seen it, I’ve done it,” he said. “You could put pylons on the ice without a goalie and I don’t think I could do it again.”

But Middleton likes the way new coach Hynes, now 3-0 since replacing Dean Evason, wants his defenders to join the race.

“We’re using the net front D a lot more on breakouts, trying to get out of the zone quicker,” Middleton said. “It takes a lot of trucking on the ice as the fourth man, and we’re just getting opportunities there.”

Briefly

Defender Zach Bogosian was left out on Sunday, replaced by Jon Merrill in a duo with Alex Goligoski. Bogosian left Saturday’s practice early and did not return. “It’s day to day right now,” Hynes said.


Gam

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