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Gophers Hope To Rebound After First Winless Weekend

Gophers Hope To Rebound After First Winless Weekend

The Gophers concluded arguably their toughest stretch of the season with a winning record, though the final set of that stretch – last weekend at Michigan State – was the team’s first winless weekend of the season. Still though, they went 4-3-1 over their past eight games, and now look forward to seven-straight home games, including a pair this weekend against the struggling Minnesota State Mavericks.

Minnesota certainly didn’t play poorly against the Spartans in East Lansing last weekend. They put up a total of 82 shots in the two games but MSU netminder Drew Palmisano outplayed Gopher goalie Kent Patterson on both nights, as that was the difference on the weekend. Palmisano made several big saves, including a game-saver on Kyle Rau late in Friday’s 4-3 win. Then in Saturday’s 4-4 tie, Patterson again wasn’t as brilliant as he’s often been this season.

Sophomore Nick Bjugstad had a four-point weekend and he continues to be aruglaby the top forward in the nation. Fellow second-year player Erik Haula scored his first goal in a while via a power play tally on Saturday, and Zach Budish also notched his fourth of the year. Despite being denied on Friday night, Rau hit the double-digit mark in goals by getting his tenth of the season on Saturday, which is great for any freshman for a whole season, let alone before the month of December.

Big-picture wise, the Gophers are still in great shape. As previously noted, they ran the gauntlet of playing North Dakota at home, two games at Wisconsin, a home and home vs. St. Cloud State, and then the two at Michigan State and went 4-3-1 over the stretch. Granted the way it ended was negative, but all in all fans have to be happy with the record against several of the team’s top rivals and/or perennial powers.

On the season, the team remains in first place in the WCHA, one point ahead of Minnesota Duluth who has played eight of their ten league games at home compared to the Gophers having played just three at Mariucci vs. WCHA teams.

Now, the Gophers head into a part of their schedule where they can cement their status as a NCAA Tournament team, and it starts this weekend with two games vs. Minnesota State at Mariucci Arena.

The Mavs are just 3-10-1 on the season and ride a five-game winless streak into this weekend’s games. Most recently they lost and tied at home against Anchorage and gave up ten goals on a total of 37 shots on the weekend to a UAA team that had scored more than two goals in a game just five times prior to those games.

Prior to their games vs. UAA, the Mavs lost a pair to the Bulldogs in Duluth by a combined score of 12-5. They have one road win on the season – at Michigan Tech – and have been outscored by a 34-17 margin in their eight games away from Mankato.

This is a series that the Gophers must get four points from. Minnesota’s WCHA schedule is a little tougher than normal, i.e. they only have two games (instead of four) against annual bottom-feeders Alaska Anchorage, Michigan Tech, Bemidji State (just one year in the league, so maybe not “annual,” but not a powerhouse for sure), and Mankato. So they need to take advantage of the games against said teams, especially ones at home.

Minnesota State is horrible across the board and there’s no reason why the Gophers shouldn’t come away from this series with four points.

Looking ahead for the Maroon and Gold, they host Michigan Tech next weekend before the holiday break. They then play host to the annual Mariucci Classic tournament by playing Niagara and then either Northeastern or Princeton, and then play their final non-conference game of the year on January 7 when they host Notre Dame in the Hall of Fame game. It’s reasonable to assume the team could be riding a six-game winning streak heading into their showdown with the Irish, which would put Minnesota’s record at 17-4-1, virtually locking them into that all-important NCAA berth.

Both games start at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and will air live on FSN; however, Friday's game will air on an alternate channel. Info on that can be found here: http://bit.ly/slrcoI

Written by: Cardinal on Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Buzzer Beater!


Gophers’ Holl Scores with 0.6 Seconds Left to Propel Minnesota to National Championship Game

Philadelphia, PA – Just another classic moment in the Minnesota-North Dakota rivalry.

Whenever you say Minnesota-North Dakota, you know you're in for something special. These two teams have fought numerous battles over the years, with names like Broten and Wheeler etched in Gopher lore for the miracle-goals they’ve scored to beat North Dakota on a grand stage. Tonight, Minnesota fans will add Justin Holl’s name to that storied list, after his shorthanded goal with 0.6 secon...

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Gophers Beat Huskies 4-0 WHOOOOO


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Saint Paul, Minn. – The Gophers hit a pothole last week in the Big Ten Tournament losing to Ohio State, but their ‘Fab Five’ seniors made sure they booked a spot in the Frozen Four with a 7-3 win over Robert Morris and a dominating 4-0 win over St. Cloud State in the West Regional.

“The focus this weekend was tremendous,” said Minnesota coach Don Lucia. “On the bench, I don’t know if I’ve seen it this focused and communicated and dialed in as we were for the game tonight. Again, that is a credit to our captains and right on ...

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Gophers Survive, Advance Versus Robert Morris


Condon's Two Goals Pace Gophers Over Colonials

Minneapolis – “This time of year, nobody’s going to give up.”

Kyle Rau’s words rung true tonight, as Minnesota had to fight hard to beat a pesky Robert Morris squad. Although Minnesota won 7-3, the game was much closer than the score indicated, with Robert Morris coming back from a 4-goal deficit in the second period to close within two and make the game very interesting into the third period.

Minnesota came out like a house of fire, registering a 5-1 shot advantage just 90 seconds into the game. However, a couple of ...

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