Gophers get commitment, have Hobey finalist

Even while most eyes are focused on the start of the NCAA basketball tournament, the Gophers men's hockey team got good news on two fronts this week. The Gophers received a verbal commitment and found out they have a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.

While the conversations following the Minnesota State High School Hockey tournament last weekend surrounded a certain Centennial High School goalie that shut out all opponents during his championship run, the University of Minnesota hockey team got a commitment from one of his teammates, Centennial defenseman R.J. Anderson.

Anderson, who had 29 goals and 56 assists this season, is a junior and made the all-tournament team. He led the state in scoring by defensemen and could be headed for a year of junior hockey before teaming up with the Gophers, who are attempting to become the three-time defending national champions this year.

The men's hockey team got more good news this week when it found out that Keith Ballard is one of the 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award. The field of 10 will be pared down to three finalists on March 31, with the winner announced on April 9.

… According to the Star Tribune's Sid Hartman, the Minnesota Lynx are looking to move up in April's draft to select Gopher Lindsay Whalen. The Lynx currently hold the No. 7 overall pick.

… Whalen is expected to be back in a starting role on Sunday when the seventh-seeded Gophers face the 10th-seeded UCLA Bruins on Sunday at Williams Arena. Whalen broke her hand a month ago.

… Dixie State (Utah) swingman Vincent Grier is set to visit the Gophers this weekend, according to Hartman. Grier is a 6-foot-5, 200-pound left-hander.

… The Gophers wrestling team, ranked No. 7, is preparing for nationals this weekend in St. Louis.

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