Gophers Talk St. Cloud State

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Members of the Minnesota men's hockey team met with the media before practice on Wednesday. The third-ranked Gophers have a big home-and-home series coming up against in-state WCHA rival St. Cloud State on Friday and Saturday. Here is what head coach Don Lucia and some of his players had to say about this weekend's opponent, who has battled injury problems and departures from the team throughout the season:

Don Lucia, Head Coach
"They've been a team that's been splitting a lot, but they've been splitting the last month with Denver and Western Michigan and North Dakota and a lot of good teams. They've got most of their players available from the last time we played them. Their goaltender (Mike Lee) is probably going to be back this weekend--he's been hurt. Their D core is one of the strengths of their team. They're very offensive and those guys are all available. They certainly have enough up front with (Jared) Festler, (Ben) Hanowski, (Travis) Novak, (Nic) Dowd, and (David) Eddy and some other guys that can generate offense. All the guys that got points the last time we played them but one are back this weekend."

Nick Bjugstad, Forward
"They've lost a lot of guys, which is unfortunate, but they've found a way to win. That's good for them. They've got a good team, a good goaltender, and good coaching, so we've got to make sure we bring it every game."

Zach Budish, Forward
"We split with them earlier in the year. They're a good team. They've adjusted well with their injuries. They lost two of their three captains, their starting goalie (Mike Lee), and probably their top offensive player (Drew LeBlanc), so they've adjusted well and guys have stepped up. They've had a pretty good season so far, so it'll be a tough test. It's an in-state rivalry and they're a good team."

Nate Condon, Forward
"You never know who's going to come out and have a heck of a game for anyone. St. Cloud's got a lot of good players and they got players coming back from injury here and there. It's not going to be the team we're used to playing against, but then again everyone's a Division I college player and they deserve to be here so it's going to be a tough game."

Taylor Matson, Foward
"They've got ten healthy forwards, so they're looking for some lines with some chemistry. Everyone's good in college hockey--even the players that don't play every single night. Everyone comes from junior experience and they're well-coached players so we're looking forward to it."

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