There's no question that Saturday will be a phenomenal day for hockey -- the Gophers take on North Dakota for the last time in the regular season as WCHA rivals and the Minnesota Wild are back in action with the team's season opener against Colorado.
What a great way to celebrate Hockey Day Minnesota!
The seventh annual Hockey Day Minnesota is currently underway with over 21 hours of Minnesota hockey on FOX Sports North all day today. Here's a couple quick notes about the Gophers and Hockey Day Minnesota.
Shining in the Spotlight
The Gophers (17-3-3 overall, 9-3-3 WCHA) are 4-2-0 all-time on Hockey Day Minnesota including an active two-game winning streak. Minnesota is 4-1-0 at Mariucci Arena on Hockey Day Minnesota. Here's the breakdown:
|Hockey Day Minnesota Results|
|1/20/2007||Minnesota vs. Denver||W, 5-4|
|2/9/2008||Minnesota at Denver||L, 1-4|
|1/17/2009||Minnesota vs. St. Cloud State||W, 8-6|
|1/23/2010||Minnesota vs. St. Cloud State||L, 1-4|
|2/12/2011||Minnesota vs. Denver||W, 7-3|
|1/21/2012||Minnesota vs. Colorado College||W, 2-1|
Playing on the Pond
The Gophers will play their first outdoor game in the modern era next month, but two Gophers already have outdoor hockey experience thanks to Hockey Day Minnesota.
Junior forward Nick Bjugstad suited up for Blaine against Aaron Ness and the Roseau Rams in 2008 at Baudette Bay. The Rams earned a 1-0 win, but the experience was a positive one for Bjugstad.
"It's a great event for hockey across the whole state. As a high school player, it was exciting to be on FOX Sports North and to play outside," Bjugstad said. "It was a great experience, especially playing against a top-notch team like Roseau."
Sophomore Kyle Rau also participated in Hockey Day Minnesota, leading Eden Prairie to a 4-3 road win over Hermantown in 2010.
"Hockey Day Minnesota is just one of those events that everybody in the state gets excited for, and it keeps getting better each year," Rau said. "It was a lot of fun to play outdoors, especially growing up and playing on all the outdoor rinks we have in Minnesota."