Observations from Minnesota's 4-3 loss to St. Cloud

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Home-and-Home
The Gophers have not been swept in the regular season since Dec. 3 and 4 of last year when they dropped two games against Minnesota State in Mankato. For the second straight weekend, however, Minnesota will look to bounce back from a Friday night loss to avoid a being swept. So far in 2011-12, the Gophers are 5-0-0 in Saturday games, but are only 2-2-2 all-time in the second game of home-and-home series against St. Cloud in which they lost the first game on the road. The last time Minnesota won such a game was on Jan. 18, 1997 when UM beat the Huskies 6-4 at Mariucci Arena after losing 5-2 at SCSU the night before.

Marshall Still Creating Offense
One bright spot from the loss on Friday was the offensive play of defenseman Ben Marshall. Though he was on the ice for two Husky goals, Marshall did his best to make up for his mistakes, creating multiple odd-man rushes with fellow rookie Seth Ambroz. He generated many chances from the point in the offensive zone, as well. Marshall ended up recording an assist on Tom Serratore's goal with 5:01 left. He also assisted in the Gophers' last loss a week ago when Jake Hansen scored in with 1:09 to go.

Penalty Kill Struggles
Penalty killing is one facet of the game the Gophers will need to improve upon on Saturday if they want to earn a split. Last weekend against Minnesota State without top-scoring senior captain Drew LeBlanc for the first time in a long time, SCSU went 0-for-8 on the man advantage and allowed two MSU shorthanded goals. On Friday, SCSU went 2-for-5 with the advantage. Two power-play markers helped the Huskies pull away in the second period. The Gophers previously had an 89.5 percent (51-for-57) penalty-kill percentage and SCSU was 8-for-43 (18.5 percent) on the power play. Though UM didn't fare well a man down, Minnesota did hold it's opponent to 20 or fewer shots on Friday after not being able to do that once in 2010-11. SCSU put 18 shots on target.

Against Freshman Goaltenders
For the second straight weekend, Minnesota is up against a rookie goaltender. Last week, Wisconsin's Joel Rumpel backstopped the Badgers to a 3-1 home win over the Gophers and on Friday, St. Cloud's Ryan Faragher was equally impressive in front of a raucous home crowd of 5,772, saving 40 of the 43 shots he saw. Minnesota did bounce back to beat Rumpel and the Badgers last Saturday in a 4-1 win and will look to do that again tomorrow night at Mariucci Arena against Faragher.

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