Members of the men's hockey team meet with the media Wednesday ahead of this weekend's series at Mariucci Arena with Michigan State.
The Spartans were in the NCAA tournament a year ago and are sure to provide the Gophers with a stern test. "We are opening with a real quality opponent. (Michigan State) has a good nucleus returning with their starting goaltender and six of their top nine forwards from the end of last year," head coach Don Lucia said. He went on to say the experience this year's squad has makes them ready for the tough test in week one.
Lucia sees this weekend's games as a good chance to test the team and find out what works best. "We will be experimenting this weekend, we will probably play quite a few new guys from Friday to Saturday night. Both goalies will play this weekend," Lucia said.
One of those masked man expected to see time this weekend is junior Michael Shibrowski. He is ready and excited for the challenge. "I have to go out there and do my job, and everyone will do their job. We put together a win as a team," Shibrowski said. Freshman Adam Wilcox will also likely see time in net for Minnesota.
Michigan State got the better of the Gophers in East Lansing, Mich. last season, earning a win and a tie. Extra motivation is definitely there. "Only coming away with one point was a tough pill to swallow. There is a bit of a revenge factor," junior defenseman Nate Schmidt said.
With the start of the Big Ten play next season, the elements for a rivalry are present. "(This matchup) lays the foundation of a rivalry for years to come" Schmidt said. Coach Lucia thinks agreed, adding he anticipates there will be a rivalry with all Big Ten teams.
Friday night's game is at 6 p.m. and Saturday night's game is at 8 p.m.
-Article by Minnesota student intern Josh Brennock