Minnesota is preparing to play for an extended period of time without leading goal scorer Connor Reilly.
Reilly was injured by a knee-on-knee hit from Wisconsin’s Corbin McGuire in Saturday’s game in Madison. McGuire was given a major penalty for kneeing but wasn’t ejected and later scored the deciding goal in the shootout that awarded an extra point in the Big Ten standings.
The Big Ten on Monday suspended McGuire for one game.
Gophers coach Don Lucia called it “a bad, bad play” after the game and on his Monday radio show, he said Reilly would be out of the lineup for “a while.” Officially, he’s listed as out indefinitely with a lower-body injury.
Reilly, who leads the Gophers with 11 goals and is tied for fifth on the team with 16 points, missed the 2012-13 season with torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee suffered before the season started.
“I feel bad for Connor,” Lucia said on his show on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. “He’s been through more than any athlete should have to go through the last couple of years. Now he’s going to have to fight through another injury.
“Injuries are part of the game. I just feel bad that it happened to Connor of all people just from what he’s had to endure and go through, and the mental part of it through rehab and everything else.”
Reilly posted an update on Twitter on Monday:
Thanks to all of those for their support the past two days. It means a lot. I will hopefully be back on the ice soon! #Gophers
— Connor Reilly (@CReilly81) February 3, 2015
Lucia was asked Monday whether there should be a disqualification penalty for kneeing, given the injury risk involved.
“In that instance, it should have,” Lucia said. “They [the referees] missed it and that’s why he was given an extra game by the Big Ten. The right call would have been, for me, a disqualification penalty. He would have been out two-thirds of that game and the next game, and he wouldn’t have been in there to do the shootout in the end as it works out.
“It’s easier [to see] on TV. You have a different view on replay than what the referee does at the time it happened. They made the correct call with a five-minute major. It should have come with a disqualification penalty.”
“That’s a tough play. I’m not the kind of player that goes out looking to do stuff like that or anything,” said McGuire, who will miss the Badgers’ game at Penn State on Friday because of the league suspension. “I want to start off by saying my prayers are with Reilly. I hope that he’s OK and he can get back to playing soon if he is injured.”