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Minnesota Hockey: Both Men and Women Face Ranked Opponents This Weekend

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Familiar foes await both squads

Tyler Sheehy leads the Gophers in scoring so far this season
gophersports.com

Both the Gopher men’s and women’s hockey teams face ranked opponents this weekend after a week off. The Gopher men get a home and home series against #15 Minnesota State and the Gopher women travel to Grand Forks for a series at #9 North Dakota.

Gopher Men:

The Gopher men will look to break a 1-14 record against in-state foes this weekend with a series against the Mavericks. That lone win was over Minnesota State last November in Mankato. The Gophers will look to remain hot after taking a win and a tie from North Dakota two weekends ago. Minnesota is still led by sophomore Tyler Sheehy with ten points on the season. The Gophers will be trying to get coach Don Lucia to a major milestone as he currently has 698 wins in his career. With a Gopher sweep this weekend, Lucia would become just the seventh coach ever to record 700 victories.

The Mavericks come into the weekend with a 7-4-1 record on the season. They are currently in third place in the WCHA behind Bemidji State and Michigan Tech. The Mavericks are coming off of a series at Bemidji last weekend which saw the Beavers get a win and a tie. The Mavericks are led in scoring by freshman Marc Michaelis who has 13 points on the season. In net, senior Cole Huggins has seen the majority of the action and currently has a goals against average of 1.99, and a save percentage of 91.3%.

Minnesota needs at least a sweep this weekend, both for pairwise considerations for the NCAA Tournament, and for their own mental well being. The Gophers need to get out of their heads that they struggle against fellow Minnesota teams. That almost happened against St. Cloud State earlier in the season, but then the Gophers blew two third period leads. This Mavericks team swept SCSU earlier this season, so it will be no easy task for the Gophers, but Minnesota can definitely get it done.

How To Watch:

Friday: #7 Minnesota Golden Gophers @ #15 Minnesota State Mavericks

Where: Verizon Wireless Center, Mankato, MN

Time: 7:07 PM

TV: Fox Sports North

Video Stream: Fox Sports Go

Radio: My Talk 107.1 FM

Saturday: #15 Minnesota State Mavericks @ #7 Minnesota Golden Gophers

Where: Mariucci Arena, Minneapolis, MN

Time: 8:05 PM

TV: None

Video Stream: BTN + ($$)

Radio: 1500 ESPN

Gopher Women

The Gopher women are also back in action after a week off. The Gophers are coming off of a sweep of Minnesota State two weekends ago. The Gophers will bring a top line to Grand Forks of Dani Camaranesi, Kelly Pannek and Sarah Potomak all who rank at or near the top of the leaderboard for scoring nationally. In fact, the Gophers top line is outscoring sixteen of the thirty four TEAMS in the nation this season. They along with the rest of the Minnesota team will look to try and get past what has been a bit of an Achilles heel for the Gophers.

Minnesota has split four of the last six series against the Fighting Hawks in Grand Forks. When you realize this has accounted for almost 25 of their total losses in the last six seasons, its a testament to the way North Dakota gears up to play the Gophers. This weekend will be no different as for the third season in a row the Fighing Hawks are doing their Pack the Ralph Promotion against Minnesota selling all tickets for just $1. Its worked the last two years as the Fighting Hawks are 2-0 against the Gophers in Pack the Ralph games.

North Dakota will need to do it this season without the broad shoulders of goalie Shelby Amsley-Benzie. She has moved on to playing for the US National Team. The new starting goalie for the Hawks is no slouch however. Lexie Shaw has the third best goals against average (1.43) and save percentage (94.1) in the WCHA behind only Ann-Renee Desbiens of Wisconsin and Sidney Peters of Minnesota. Amy Menke leads the Hawks in points this season with 12.

If the Hawks will want to beat Minnesota, it will need to be low scoring games. The Gophers can put of points in bunches, and North Dakota can’t keep up. But if they can play tough defensive hockey, the ability to squeak out a 2-1 win is definitely there. North Dakota was swept by Wisconsin earlier this season, so Minnesota would love to try and keep pace with the Badgers heading into their trip to Madison in two weeks.

How To Watch:

#2 Minnesota Golden Gophers @ #9 North Dakota Fighting Hawks

Where: Ralph Engelstad Arena, Grand Forks, ND

Time: 7:07 PM Friday/ 4:07 PM Saturday

TV: Midco Sports Network (Friday)

Video Stream: UNDsports.com ($$)

Free Audio Stream: Here