Minnesota closes out the regular season with a trip to Bemidji State to take on the Beavers. Members of the team met with the media Wednesday to discuss the key points of this weekend.
The Gophers enter the weekend with a realistic opportunity to claim the their second-straight MacNaughton Cup. They sit just two points behind league-leader St. Cloud State, but they are more focused on rounding their own game into shape for the postseason.
"We want to play well. We do not control whether we get a piece of (the MacNaughton Cup). You certainly don't want to leave points on the table. Our focus is playing well on Friday night and see where we are at," head coach Don Lucia said.
Forward Nate Condon added, "It is about getting our game going and playing up to the level we can."
The WCHA standings are historically tight heading into the
final weekend. Minnesota can still finish anywhere from first to seventh in the
The WCHA standings are historically tight heading into the final weekend. Minnesota can still finish anywhere from first to seventh in the conference.
"It is the most dramatic in my 20 years in the WCHA," Lucia said. "Like many people have said, this is probably the way it should be in the final year of the conference configuration the way it is."
Bemidji State plays a style focused on keeping the puck along the boards and chipping the puck off the glass when possible. It can be frustrating to play against for a team predicated on speed and skill, like the Gophers.
"The most important thing for us is we have to be patient," Lucia said.
The team had a disappointing effort last Friday night against Denver. The team knows they will have to be better, "I think it was a good lesson for us," Justin Holl said. " I think we were more ready to play on Saturday, and it showed what we can do when we are engaged." It is on the players to perform at the level they are capable of.
"We do not want to play like we did last weekend. We know we let ourselves down," Condon said.
Friday night's game at the Sanford Center is at 7:30 p.m. and will be carried live on Fox Sports North. Saturday's regular-season finale is at 7:00 p.m. and can be seen on Fox Sports North Plus.
Story By University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock