Observations from Minnesota's 2-1 Loss to No. 11 Colorado College

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New Tiger In Net
Over the past two years, Plymouth, Minn.-native Joe Howe had started all four contests against Minnesota for the Tigers. However, sophomore Josh Thorimbert looks to have stolen the job from the third-year netminder. In his four career starts against the Gophers, Howe was 0-4-0 and conceded 18 goals in 202:54. Thorimbert fared much better in his first start, shutting UM out through 58:43 and earning a 38-save victory on Friday.

Time to Rebound?
Minnesota is 7-5-0 on Friday nights in the 2011-12 season, but has not been swept since ending last year with a WCHA first round playoff defeat at the hands of Alaska-Anchorage thanks to a 9-2-1 Saturday ledger this season. The Gophers haven't been swept in the regular season since Dec. 3 and 4, 2010 at Minnesota State.

This series could be different, though, based on the recent history of Minnesota and Colorado College. Eight of the last nine series between the schools have seen one team earning all four points. The Gophers have had five sweeps and CC has had three. Outside of a split on Dec. 13 and 14, 2008 at Mariucci Arena, Minnesota hasn't played to a split with the Tigers since the beginning of the 2005 calendar year.

Trailing After Two
Though the Gophers are especially good in the third period, outscoring their opponents 40-15 (26-8 in the WCHA), they don't specialize in coming back in the final frame. Minnesota is now 1-6-1 when trailing after 40 minutes entering the final frame. Colorado College improved to 12-0-0 when leading after two periods with the win.

Still Looking for Revenge
Over the winter break, Minnesota top-line forwards Nick Bjugstad and Kyle Rau missed two games apiece to play for the United States at the World Junior Championships. In the tournament, where the U.S. failed to reach the medal round, Rau and Bjugstad's team was beaten 3-2 by Team Canada, who was captained by Colorado College sophomore Jaden Schwartz. Schwartz scored a goal in the game.

Bjugstad looked to have gotten a bit of payback by scoring the game-tying goal with 1:17 left, but Tim Hall won the game for CC less than a minute later. Both Schwartz and Rau were held off the scoresheet.

The State of Hockey will celebrate Hockey Day in Minnesota on Saturday. The Gophers will be part of a schedule full of hockey on Fox Sports North. Minnesota's game will begin at 5 p.m. Last year on Hockey Day, the Gophers dispatched Denver 7-3 to avoid being swept at home. The win improved UM to 3-2 on Hockey Day in Minnesota, a tradition that officially began in 2007.

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