The Gophers get their first road test of this season this weekend as they travel to the Sanford Center to take on the Bemidji State Beavers. This early-season clash will be the only regular-season meeting between these old WCHA foes. Today, coach Don Lucia and some of the players meet with the media to discuss the challenge that awaits the Gophers this weekend in Bemidji.
Minnesota is very familiar with the Beavers. After this weekend, the Gophers will have faced the Beavers in six of their last 10 games, dating back to last season.
"They play very well defensively. They are very structured," Coach Lucia said about what he expects to see from Bemidji this weekend. "It is their home opener, so they will be excited to play with an influx of new players." Minnesota seeks to continue their success against Bemidji. The Gophers are 14-1-1 all-time against their in-state foes.
Even through Bemidji State no longer shares a conference with the Gophers coach Lucia believes it is crucial to continue to play them and all the other Division I teams in the state.
The team is looking forward to getting away from the Twin Cities and developing a little team chemistry on the bus up to Bemidji.
"It is always fun to get away and get in a hostile environment. It will be a good experience for the young guys," forward Tom Serratore said. Coach Lucia likes what this trip provides the team. "I think early in the year that getting on a bus is good for everybody."
A trip to Bemidji means Gopher forward Tom Serratore goes up against his uncle - Bemidji State Head Coach Tom Serratore. "It is really exciting. It is go to see my family. My family flies up (to Bemidji) and my Grandpa comes down, so it is a good family atmosphere up there."
Sam Warning led the team - along with line-mate and roommate Kyle Rau -- with four points during the Ice Breaker. He wants to contribute more offensively this season as he takes on a larger role.
"Now that I am on the top line with Rau and Fasching, I need to be more of a goal scorer. I need to be on the stat sheet every weekend."
Friday's face-off in Bemidji is set for 7:37 p.m. CT and can be seen on Fox Sports North. Saturday's game is a 7:07 p.m. CT start time and will be broadcasted live on FSN Plus. You can listen to both games this weekend on 1500 ESPN.
-Story By University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock