Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 1/23/13
MINNEAPOLIS Departing for the holiday break in December, Minnesota Gophers junior forward Nate Condon was given an assignment from hockey coach Don Lucia. "Go home and find 10 goals laying around the house when you're on break," Condon recalled Wednesday of Lucia's pre-break message. With just three goals in the season's first 17 games, Condon wasn't giving Minnesota the secondary scoring it needed from a player often assigned to the second line. So, Condon returned home to Wausau, Wis. to find his scoring touch. The search didn't involve looking under couch cushions or digging through closets. Condon, with six goals in the past seven games for the top-ranked Gophers (17-3-4, 9-3-4 WCHA) found his goal-scoring ability in a place that can only come from being at home. "I think I found them all laying in my mom's cooking when I was home," Condon joked.Condon helped secure three points for Minnesota last weekend against North Dakota and a tie atop the WCHA with St. Cloud State. Condon, who's scored in three straight games, was named the conference's offensive player of the week after being named the No. 1 star in each game last weekend against UND. Once mired in a slump, Condon is now fourth on the Gophers in scoring with nine goals and is tied with defenseman Nate Schmidt for fourth with 23 points as Minnesota heads into a weekend home-and-home series against Minnesota State. The Gophers will host the Mavericks (15-8-3, 9-8-1) on Friday night and play in Mankato on Saturday. "The key for us is can Condon's line play the same way as they did last weekend," Lucia said. "I thought (Zach) Budish was outstanding, his wall play, his sense of urgency, made a great play on the tying goal by Condon. I thought Sam Warning had a good game. That's what you have to have. You have to have other guys contribute night-in and night-out too. That's what we had last weekend." Lucia expected more out of Condon, and he's been getting it since the break. Condon played on a wing the first 15 games this season and fell as far as the fourth line before the holiday break. When Minnesota returned, Lucia put Condon with the top line of Nick Bjugstad and Kyle Rau and the goal-scoring streak began. A switch to center, where's he's played seven of the past nine games, hasn't stopped Condon's momentum and he's found his rhythm while playing with Budish and Warning on the second line the past five games. "It was great," Condon said. "Sam's a real skilled guy, a real fast player and pushes the puck up and down the ice and then you've got Zach who is going to, just like our tying goal on Saturday, is going to muscle the puck and work in the corners, and he creates a lot of space for Sam and I to work the puck around. It's been working well for us." Condon's emergence has helped Lucia ease in Erik Haula, who's first on the team with 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists), from an injury. Haula, who said he's more comfortable at center, returned last weekend after missing three games and played wing on a line with Bjugstad and Rau. "It was a little adjustment period playing wing and stuff, but they're two good players," said Haula, who had a goal and two assists last weekend. "I think we need a couple more days to get adjusted with ourselves and get used to playing with each otherI would say we have the ability to be a pretty good line, but like I said, it's not always easy to set a new line and get it going right away." Lucia said Haula will play this weekend, likely in a similar role on a wing, and then benefit from the Gophers' bye the following week and return closer to 100 percent for a series Feb. 8-9 at St. Cloud State. A return to health by Haula, doesn't mean changes are in the works for Condon's line. "The way Condon's played at center that gives us some more options," Lucia said. "It's something I thought about doing, quite frankly, the whole year. Now, like I said, Condon's playing the way he is and Warning, now that is an option. When Erik's 100 percent healthy, we could easily move Nick to right wing and have Erik at center and Kyle at left wing and see if they can develop some chemistry as a threesome, but that's something we'll experiment with, or we can always put Erik back to center and put Condon up there with him too." Lucia might just be cooking up some scoring ideas of his own. Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Kobe Bryant has great response to Tyronn Lue story

Report: St. Louis Blues no longer interested in Jonathan Drouin

Doc Rivers: Warriors have 'swagger' of defending champion

Damian Lillard added as a finalist for 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

Celtics legend Paul Pierce prepares for what ‘could be’ his last game in Boston

Free-agent WR Josh Morgan accidentally shot himself, charged with crime


Jon Beason retires after nine NFL seasons

Brewers Association sends Peyton Manning case of craft beer

Report: Police recommend charges against LeSean McCoy

Heat interested in Kings’ 3-point specialist Omri Casspi

Rick Pitino thinks Louisville should be fined $10 million for scandal

Browns LB Armonty Bryant indicted on felony drug charge

Johnny Manziel’s grandpa on ex-girlfriend: ‘The girl has her problems’

Andy Dalton reunited with missing luggage thanks to social media

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

Mario Williams recognizes Bills may release him

Terrell Owens says Cris Carter 'begged his way' into HOF

QUIZ: Name every WWE Heavyweight Champion

Three NHL players who can cement their legacies like Peyton Manning

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker