Minnesota welcomes Boston College to Mariucci Arena this weekend for a two-game series. The No. 1 Gophers will face a stiff test from No. 5 Boston College. The Eagles come to the Twin Cities soaring high after dispatching Wisconsin, 9-2, last Friday night in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Coach Don Lucia and members of the team met with the media Wednesday afternoon to discuss the clash with another member of college hockey's elite.
Boston College features another crop of dynamic playmakers this season. "They are going to be skilled and fast. We need to play our game and use our speed to hang with them all weekend," defenseman Brady Skjei said. Lucia knows the Gophers must value puck possession. "(Boston College's) transition game is really good. If you make a mistake with the puck you are going to pay."
Boston College's ability to post nine goals against Wisconsin caught the eyes of Gopher coaches and players. "They scored nine five-on-five goals, which is not easy to do," Lucia said. "(Our defensemen) are going to get tested this week. They are going to get tested taking care of the puck coming up the rink and down low defending."
Minnesota goaltender Adam Wilcox was surprised to see Boston College's overwhelming success against the Badgers and knows he will be tested. "I have to be on top of my game. I have to be communicating with the defensemen and be good right in front of our net."
This week, Minnesota took over the nation's number one ranking in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll from Miami University. The players and coaches did their best to downplay early-season rankings. "It is something to look at, but not something to put too much on right now," Wilcox said.
The early success of the top-two lines is based on the immediate contribution of the freshmen. Lucia said the genesis of Hudson Fasching playing on the top line started in the summer. "He showed me something at the World Junior camp when I had the opportunity to be on the ice with him that week,"-- second-line center Justin Kloos has really impressed line mate, and captain, Nate Condon with his commitment to do all the little things. "(Justin) is obviously talented offensively, but the big thing with him is that he is a big, hard worker."
This weekend's series takes place on Friday and Sunday with Gopher football home Saturday afternoon. Friday's hockey contest is at 7:10 p.m. CT and can be seen nationally on the Big Ten Network. Sunday's game takes place at 1:10 p.m. CT and will be shown on Fox Sports North. Both games this weekend can be heard on 1500 ESPN and will be streamed on BTN2Go.com.
-Story By University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock