The Gophers are now 4-0 this season after sweeping the
Bemidji State Beavers on the road this past weekend. Minnesota is 4-0 to start a season for just the second time in the last 13 years. In fact, the last two
times the Gophers started 4-0 they ended the season with a trip to the Frozen
Here is what we learned this weekend:
Warning To The Nation
Sam Warning looks like a scoring dynamo this season. His nine points through the first two weeks are tied for the most in the nation. He was named the number one star both games in Bemidji after collecting five points on the weekend. His two goals Saturday night marked the second two-goal effort of his career. Sam was challenged in the offseason to become a consistent scorer this season. In the first two weeks, he has delivered. Warning has a goal in every game this season. His five goals on the season are tied for second best in the country.
Sam Warning might be the headliner, but the whole junior class has raised their game. Defenseman Ben Marshall and forward Travis Boyd each posted a goal and an assist this weekend. Boyd's impact is especially noteworthy due to his struggles last season. It is obvious Travis' strong start on the scoresheet has carried over to his strong forechecking and overall energy on the ice. He was awarded the hard hat for his performance Friday night. Ben Marshall has not been shy to jump into the play during his career, and he has found success early in this season, giving the Gophers more scoring punch from the blue line. Kyle Rau has been as steady this season as Gopher fans have come to respect from the captain.
Freshman Chemistry On Display
The appearance of freshmen Justin Kloos and Taylor Cammarata in Gopher sweaters this season was highly anticipated. This weekend, we began to see the chemistry these two diminutive forwards developed together playing for the United States Hockey League's Waterloo Black Hawks last season. Justin Kloos notched his second goal of the season on Saturday and Cammarata tallied four points this weekend after being held off the scoresheet during the Ice Breaker. Taylor scored his first college goal on Saturday by scooping up and deposited a Kloos' shot, which rebounded of the end boards. Taylor helped set up Kloos in the third period with good work behind the net to find Nate Condon, who quickly feed the puck right to Kloos for Justin's second goal of the season.
Spread The Wealth
The spread of scoring was mentioned last week, but thirteen different Gophers have now found the back of the net this season. Seventeen different Gophers have registered at least a point. A pair of unheralded defensemen joined the list of point producers this weekend with great stretch passes from the defensive zone that led to Gopher goals on the rush. Senior Jake Parenteau assisted on Travis Boyd's crucial goal that evened the score early on Friday's game. Freshman Jake Bischoff collected his first collegiate point with an excellent outlet pass that led to Sam Warning's second goal on Saturday.
What Needs Work
The Gophers need to make a more concretive effort to stay out of the penalty box moving forward this season while the penalty killers continue to improve. Games have been called tight early this season, so Minnesota must adjust. The penalty killers got the job done all four times Saturday night, but in the two games before the Gophers went shorthanded a total of 10 times and yielded four goals. Special teams usually take time at the beginning of the season, but the team could help themselves by eliminating the number of penalties. Minnesota has given up only three goals while at even strength this year.
The next four games will tell us a lot about just how good the Gopher team is. A trip to South Bend, Ind. to take on Notre Dame is on the horizon, but the Gophers will need all their focus on next weekend when Boston College comes to town. The always-talented Eagles will come to Mariucci with plenty of confidence after a 9-2 victory over Wisconsin Friday night. Jonny Gaudreau's seven points in three games leads Boston College in scoring. The showdown with Boston College brings together two of the nation's best teams and best freshman classes.
Story By University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh Brennock