The top-ranked Gophers open up a six-game home stand this
weekend by welcoming Minnesota State to Minneapolis. The Mavericks were the
surprise team in the WCHA last year and beat the Gophers twice, including once
at Mariucci Arena. Gopher players and coach Lucia met with the media Wednesday
afternoon to discuss last week at Notre Dame and what to look for this weekend.
Minnesota State was picked to win the WCHA at the start of
this season and they have found recent success in Mariucci. "We are going to
have our hands full. They have good team speed. Even though their record is
4-4, I think that is attributed to injuries," Lucia said. The veteran Gophers
will know not to take the Mavericks lightly. The last 10 meeting between the
two programs have been split evenly.
Last week, the Gophers split a pair of games at Notre Dame. After
a disappointing outcome on Friday night, the Gophers responded to collect a
victory on Saturday. "I thought we did not have a good push back in the second
and third periods," Lucia said, reflecting on Friday night. "I give our guys a
lot of credit for rebounding and finding a way to win on Saturday."
This was the first week that freshman were made available to
the media. Based off their hot start, they were front and center Wednesday. "For
the most part they were all gifted scorers a year ago. That is why we put them
in positions to have success," Lucia said. The freshman accounted for all five
goals Saturday at Notre Dame.
The freshmen themselves were quick to say how the
upperclassmen have helped them learn the finer points of the college game. Hudson
Fasching has been the star of the freshman class to this point. He has 11
points on the season, which ranks second on the team. From the start of the
season Hudson has been on the score sheet playing alongside Kyle Rau and Sam
Warning, "I have worked hard and I am on a pretty good line right now,"
Fasching said. (Rau and Warning) have been tremendous, they are great leaders."
Fellow freshman Justin Kloos' strong work ethic has been
acclaimed by upperclassmen this year. Justin has stepped into the second-line
center role and has posted 10 points so far. "The older guys and captains have
led the way and allowed us to show what we are capable of," Kloos said.
Kloos' line mate Taylor Cammarata has nine points in his
last six games. He played with Kloos with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL last
year, and it has helped his comfort level as a Gopher. "It took us a little
time last year to get used to each other. It clicked about ten games in, and it
has been clicking ever since," Cammarata said.
Both of this weekend's games at Mariucci will start at 7:00
p.m. and can be seen live on FSN Plus. Friday's game can be heard on 1500 ESPN,
and Saturday you can hear Wally and Frank on MyTalk 107.1.
Story by University of Minnesota Communications Intern Josh