Gophers Host North Star College Cup
Jan. 22, 2014
The No. 1 University of Minnesota men's hockey team returns to action with the inaugural North Star College Cup this weekend at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Four of Minnesota's five Division I hockey programs will compete for in-state bragging rights at the event with Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State and No. 5 St. Cloud State joining the Gophers. The Bulldogs and Mavericks open things up at 4:10 p.m. CT on Friday followed by a top-five meeting between the Gophers and Huskies. The consolation game for the North Star College Cup is slated for 4:10 p.m. on Saturday followed by the championship game at 7:10 p.m. All four games will be broadcast on FOX Sports North.
About the North Star College Cup
The North Star College Cup came to fruition on March 23, 2013 when Minnesota's five Division I men's hockey programs announced their intentions to maintain in-state rivalries despite a split in conference alignments. While all five programs previously competed in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, 2013-14 marks the first season in which the Gophers compete in the Big Ten Conference while St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth have moved to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Minnesota State and Bemidji State continue to compete in the WCHA. The changing landscape of college hockey provided the impetus for non-conference rivalries between the five programs, and the North Star College Cup ensures those rivalries will remain intact. The University of Minnesota will serve as the event's permanent host with three of the other four institutions participating on a rotating basis over an initial four-year schedule.
Minnesota is unbeaten in its last 10 games, dating back to Nov. 24, 2013 in a 2-6 loss to Minnesota Duluth. The Gophers are 8-0-2 during that stretch (including wins in each of the last five games) while the unbeaten streak is tied for the longest active streak in the nation with Boston College. It is the longest unbeaten streak in the Minnesota record book since the team went 22 games without a loss during the 2006-07 season (Oct. 13-Jan.7) -- the Gophers were 19-0-3 during that stretch.
Record Setting at the Hockey City Classic
The 2014 Hockey City Classic was held at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus last Friday with 45,021 fans cheering the Gophers to a 1-0 win over Ohio State in the first outdoor college hockey game in Minnesota in more than 80 years. The turnout stands as the largest crowd ever for a hockey game in the state of Minnesota.
Warning Earns Conference Praise
Sam Warning earned Big Ten Second Star of the Week after tallying the first natural hat trick in Big Ten Conference history last Saturday in a 4-2 win over Ohio State. With Minnesota down 2-0 to the Buckeyes, Warning scored three-straight goals including the eventual game winner for his first career hat trick and the first natural hat trick at Minnesota since Jay Barriball on Oct. 9, 2010 in a 5-4 Gophers win over UMass. Warning's 26 points, 10 goals and 16 assists are all career highs for the junior, who ranks second in the conference in points and second nationally in plus/minus at +21. Warning now has five goals in the last three games.
At Home at Xcel Energy Center
The Golden Gophers are 20-12-0 (.645) all-time at Xcel Energy Center heading into the weekend. And the team will be no stranger to the venue the rest of the season. In addition to this weekend's inaugural North Star College Cup, Minnesota will compete at Xcel Energy Center for the inaugural Big Ten Tournament March 20-22 and will host the 2014 NCAA West Regional at the venue on March 29-30.
Brother vs. Brother Action
When No. 5 St. Cloud State and No. 1 Minnesota play each other this Friday as part of the North Star College Cup at Xcel Energy Center, brothers Michael (Gophers) and Jonny (Huskies) Brodzinski will face off on opposite sides of the ice. In addition to playing each other this Friday, the Brodzinskis were both selected within seven picks of each other in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft -- Michael by the San Jose Sharks with the 141st overall pick and Jonny by the Los Angeles Kings at 148th overall.
Best in the Nation
With a 17-2-3 overall record, the University of Minnesota leads the nation with a .841 winning percentage this season. The Gophers' two losses are also the fewest in the NCAA this season.
Lucia Earns 350th Win at Minnesota
Don Lucia earned his 350th win as head coach of the Gophers in Minnesota's 5-4 win over Notre Dame on Nov. 9, 2013.Lucia owns a 361-184-62 record in 15 seasons at Minnesota and boasts an overall coaching record of 640-339-91 Only Doug Woog (1985-99) has more wins at Minnesota with 390.
No player on Minnesota's roster has been more of a lightning rod for the team's success that junior captain Kyle Rau. The team is 56-8-4 all-time when the forward tallies a point including an incredible 35-3-3 mark since the beginning of the 2012-13 season.
Wilcox Against the Best
In 60 career games played, Adam Wilcox has posted a 41-10-8 overall record. Out of those games, 27 have been played against nationally ranked foes with the sophomore netminder recording an 16-8-3 record against ranked teams. A Third Team All-WCHA selection last year, Wilcox and the Gophers will have their first ranked opponent in the last eight games on Friday against No. 5 St. Cloud State.
Wilcox Moves Up the Record Book
Adam Wilcox's 21-save shutout on Friday night at TCF Bank Stadium was his second of the season and fifth overall as a Gopher. The South St. Paul, Minn., native is now tied with Robb Stauber, Murray McLachlan and Tom Newman for seventh all-time at Minnesota in career shutouts. Wilcox needs two more shutouts to tie Kent Patterson, Steve DeBus, John Blue and Jim Mattson for third all-time at Minnesota. Kellen Briggs holds the Gophers record for career shutouts at 13 with Adam Hauser in second at eight.