The Gophers met with the media Wednesday ahead of this weekend's showdown with the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs.
Minnesota Duluth enters this weekend in the midst of a tailspin. Last Saturday's tie with Bemidji State represents the Bulldogs first point earned in seven league contests. Despite this, the Gophers are well aware of the dangers of playing in-state opponents.
"They have a lot of Minnesota kids, so it will be some of their biggest games of the year," forward Travis Boyd said. Head coach Don Lucia cautioned not to judge the Bulldogs on their record. "They have not scored on a consistent bases throughout their lineup, but their top end is very good. I think their team speed is as good as anybody."
With just three weeks left of the regular season, the Gophers still have work to do if they want to assure home-ice advantage in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. To do this, Minnesota must find consistency. "We have to put a good weekend together, and a good weekend is two nights, not just one," Boyd said.
Captain Zach Budish said the key to a good weekend comes before gametime. "We have had good weeks of practice leading up to Friday games, and we have won the last couple of Friday games. Saturday, maybe we haven't had the same intensity coming out or preparation during the day."
Minnesota players and staff had a chance to reflect on their
experience at the Hockey City Classic. Here are some thoughts:
Lucia - "I think it was a great experience for us. I think the players will remember it the rest of their lives. From our standpoint it was a positive experience, except for the score."
Budish -- "It was a once in a lifetime event. The people at the Hockey City Classic did a great job putting it on. It was a big stage for us and we had a blast. Obviously, coming out with a loss was not what we planned for."
Jake Parenteau -- "It was really cool, a once in a lifetime experience. I will cherish it for a long time."
Boyd -- "We were all in the moment. Playing on that stage is something no one has done on that big of a stage before."
Story by University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock