The Minnesota Golden Gophers hockey team will look to bounce back from a lackluster effort against North Dakota in Las Vegas when they take on #4 Minnesota State in a home and home series this weekend. The Gophers and Mavericks will play at Mariucci Arena on Friday night and will then travel down 169 to the Verizon Center in Mankato for Saturday night’s tilt.
The Gophers lost last Saturday 3-1 to North Dakota in the US Hockey Hall of Fame Game. The Gophers got the first goal of the game early in the second period and then decided to just stop playing. North Dakota outshot the Gophers 20-2 from the end of the major penalty the Fighting Hawks served to start the second period until Minnesota pulled Mat Robson at the end of the game. That’s...not good. Bob Motzko did not appear happy on the bench during the performance. He made that rather clear in his media availability this week,
#Gophers Bob Motzko said on his radio show that while he didn't see much of the Penn State games that ended Minnesota's season last year, he imagines that there was some resemblance to the play in the North Dakota game in Las Vegas.— Eric Vegoe (@evegoe) October 31, 2018
That is not a comparison you want to see.
Minnesota will get to get back to their winning ways this week when they take on the #4 team in the country. MSU-Mankato started their season with a sweep of Boston University in Mankato, they split a pair against North Dakota in Grand Forks and then swept Alaska back in Mankato last weekend. Junior Parker Tuomie has been the biggest offensive threat for the Mavericks this season with 11 points in six games. He is tied for the team lead in goals with senior Max Coatta with four.
The Mavericks have split time in net so far this season. Freshman Dryden McKay has started four games this season going 3-1. He has a 3.52 goals against average and a .878 save percentage. The other two games have been started by senior Mathais Isrealsson. He is 2-0 with a goals against average of 0.5 and save percentage of .950. Of course those two games came last week against a very overmatched Alaska team that only recorded twenty shots on goal in two games. The Gopher offense is just a slightly bit better.
With an assist last weekend Freshman Sampo Ranta has points in each of his three games as a Gopher. Hopefully he can continue to stay hot and put up points this week against a tough team.
Minnesota has historically had no problem with the Mavericks, but this is a much tougher team recently then in the past. The Gophers hold a 37-14-6 all-time record against Minnesota State going back to 1997-98. The most recent time these two teams faced off was two seasons ago when the Gophers and Mavericks split a home and home pair in 2016.
Hopefully the Gophers get back to playing like its the late 90’s against the Mavericks this weekend.
#8/10 Minnesota Golden Gophers vs #4 Minnesota State Mavericks
When: Friday/Saturday 7PM
Where: Mariucci Arena, Minneapolis, MN/ Verizon Center, Mankato, MN
TV: Fox Sports Plus (Friday), Charter Cable 191 and 826 (Saturday)
Radio: 1130 AM, 103.5 FM, I Heart Radio App