Jordan Schroeder, Cade Fairchild, Mike Carman, and Mike Hoeffel have 32 of Minnesota’s 57 points versus St. Cloud State with the current roster. Of those 32 points, Schroeder and Fairchild have 15 assists in 15 combined games. Those are just a few of the stories I’m following as I get set to wrap them all in one and take you inside the numbers.
Recenty, the Gophers series with the Huskies, while being one of two home and home series that the Gophers have on their schedule, has been dominated by the boys from Minnesota (winning seven of the last ten). The Huskies haven’t won a game in this series since their 3-1 win at Mariucci Arena on January 11th, 2008. Going back one more year to the second Husky win in the last ten, you have to go to February 24th, 2007 for a 5-3 victory over the Gophers. I’ll give you a guess on where that game was held. If you guessed Mariucci Arena, you’d be correct.
As we know, Jay Barriball and Taylor Matson are omitted from the team stats due to injuries. Five veteran Gophers have zero goals versus St. Cloud and it might surprise you just who is on this list. David Fischer, Ryan Flynn, Kevin Wehrs, Aaron Ness, and Jake Hansen make up the unfortunate five, but with the way that the team gelled in last weekend’s tilt with UND, anything can happen.
One statistic that is very telling to a former goalkeeper such as myself is shots allowed versus shots taken. Minnesota is a +2 in this comparison (31.6 per game-29.2 shots allowed) while St. Cloud State is -2 (29.4 shots allowed versus 27.7 shots taken). When all is set and done, don’t expect these games to be high scoring (sans the 8-2 St. Cloud classic that the Gophers took last January), and expect the defenses to reign supreme here.
My prediction: The Gophers will take 3 points from a team ranked in the polls near the top, and move up into the poll themselves. If that happens, and the Gophers don’t move in, I’ll be scratching my head.
All in all, this series could really define the Gophers season. If they play well, expect them to carry momentum all the way to a home playoff berth, and if not, we’ll be on the road in the first round. I’ll leave you with a thought. Defense can win championships. It’s not always about the offense.
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Until Friday, I’ll see you at the rink!