No. 2 Gophers Host No. 10/11 Wolverines
Feb. 13, 2014The No. 2 Minnesota men's hockey program returns to action this weekend with a Big Ten Conference series against No. 10/11 Michigan at Mariucci Arena. The first-ever series as Big Ten rivals starts Friday at 8:04 p.m. CT on the Big Ten Network (Dan Kelly, Ben Clymer, Fred Pletsch) with Saturday's finale set for 7:10 p.m. (Doug McLeod, Ben Clymer, Kevin Gorg). Both games will also be available via stream on BTN2Go.com. The Gopher Radio Network and flagship station 1500 ESPN will carry the radio broadcast (Wally Shaver, Frank Mazzocco).
Minnesota and Michigan -- two of college hockey's most iconic and successful programs -- have met 259 times in history with the Gophers boasting a 128-117-14 all-time record. In recent action, Minnesota holds a 7-3-0 record in the last time games with the last meeting taking place on Nov. 28, 2010 in a 3-1 win for the Gophers. Only three active Gophers have played the Wolverines -- Nate Condon, Justin Holl and Tom Serratore as freshmen. Michigan has two active players who have competed against the Gophers -- Mac Bennett and Luke Moffatt. Among the five total players, only Condon has registered a point in the series with a goal.
Reilly Leads the Big Ten
Sophomore Mike Reilly leads all Big Ten defensemen in points (22, tied for eighth nationally) and goals (eight, tied for fourth nationally). With 36 points (11 goals, 25 assists) in 65 career games, Reilly is averaging more than half a point per game for his career (.554). The defenseman is one of three Reilly brothers on roster (Connor, Ryan) while the family patriach (also Mike) played for the Gophers as well.
Taylor Cammarata's goal in last Thursday's battle with Wisconsin gave the Minnesota freshmen class 37 goals on the season. The Gopher rookies lead the nation in goals per game as a class at 1.32 while only Boston College has more goals from its freshmen class at 38 this season.
This weekend's series will see the Big Ten's top three freshmen take on each other in Minnesota's Justin Kloos and Hudson Fasching and Michigan's JT Compher. Justin Kloos (9-15--24) and Compher (10-14--24) are currently tied for the Big Ten rookie scoring lead while Fasching (9-13--22) trails the duo by just two points. The three skaters are also the leading freshmen goal scorers in the brand new conference.
Nate Condon has skated in 145 consecutive games for Minnesota entering the weekend and is the program's most veteran player at 146 games (36-58--94). Condon has only missed one game in his four years with the program -- Oct. 9, 2010 against UMass (the second game of his freshman season). Condon needs just six points to reach the 100-career point milestone.
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 57-9-5 all-time when the forward tallies a point including an incredible 36-4-4 mark since the beginning of the 2012-13 season. Additionally, the Gophers are 28-2-0 all-time when Rau tallies more than one point in a game (6-0-0 this season) and are 6-0-0 when he tallies more than one goal in a game (1-0-0 this season).
Defense Chipping In
Twenty-two of Minnesota's 97 goals this season have come off the sticks of defensemen with the blue-line crew ranking second nationally in the nation in goal scoring. Only Denver has more goals from its defense with 24 this season.
Home Sweet Home
The 2013-14 season marks the 20th campaign in which the Gophers have called Mariucci Arena home. The facility was officially opened on Aug. 21, 1993 with an alumni game. Since opening Mariucci Arena, Minnesota is 286-113-45 on home ice. Since the start of the 2011-12 season, the Gophers are 44-10-6 on home ice including an 11-1-3 mark this year (Minnesota's outdoor game at TCF Bank Stadium was technically scored as a home game, but does not factor into this record).
The Rest of the Way
Minnesota closed out the 2013-14 nonconference season with an 11-2-3 record -- the fourth best winning percentage among all NCAA teams at .781 (first among Big Ten teams) with 11 nonconference wins tied for first nationally with Notre Dame. The Gophers now play eight-straight Big Ten games to close out the rest of the season, starting with this weekend's series against the Wolverines. Minnesota then hosts Penn State (Feb. 28-Mar. 1) and closes out the regular season at Ohio State (Mar. 7-8) and Michigan (Mar. 14-15). Minnesota then competes at the inaugural Big Ten Tournament at Xcel Energy Center (Mar. 20-22) before hosting the the NCAA West Regional at the X (Mar. 29-30).
Wilcox Moves Up the Record Book
Adam Wilcox's 19-save shutout on Feb. 1, 2014 against the Spartans was his third of the season and sixth overall as a Gopher. The South St. Paul, Minn., native is now seventh all-time at Minnesota in career shutouts and needs one more 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.
Wilcox Against the Best
In 66 career games played, Adam Wilcox has posted a 43-12-10 overall record. Out of those games, 30 have been played against nationally ranked foes with the sophomore netminder recording a 17-10-3 record against ranked teams. Wilcox and the Gophers take on another nationally ranked opponent this weekend in No. 10/11 Michigan -- the team's third and fourth-straight games against nationally ranked opponents after playing 11 of the previous 12 games against unranked foes.
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 363-186-64 record in 15 seasons at Minnesota and boasts an overall coaching record of 642-341-93 Only Doug Woog (1985-99) has more wins at Minnesota with 390.
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.
A New Era of Gopher Hockey
The 93rd season of Gopher Hockey brings a new era to the program as Minnesota will compete in the new Big Ten Conference for the 2013-14 season. Six conference teams are set for the first campaign in the Big Ten with Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State joining the Gophers. Prior to the 2013-14 season, the Gophers were members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and helped found the conference in 1951.
Bound for Sochi
With Thomas Vanek signed on to skate for Austria at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, Minnesota now has four alums heading to Sochi, Russia next month. Vanek will make his Olympic debut while Blake Wheeler, Paul Martin and Phil Kessel will skate for the U.S. team. Minnesota is tied with Wisconsin for the most alums on Olympic rosters with four each. Additionally, former Gopher All-American and current Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards will serve as an assistant on the U.S. men's team while former Gopher and Hobey Baker Award winner Robb Stauber will serve as goalie coach for the U.S. women's squad.
Condon, Rau Named Captains
Senior forward Nate Condon and junior forward Kyle Rau will lead the 2013-14 Gophers as team captains. Minnesota's top two returning scorers from a year ago, Rau finished second overall on the team with 40 points (15 goals, 25 assists) while Condon posted 31 points (12 goals, 19 assists). A native of Wausau, Wis., Condon is just the third-ever native of Wisconsin to play for Minnesota and the first non-Minnesotan to be named captain since current Gophers assistant coach Grant Potulny (2002-04).
Gophers in the Draft
Minnesota lists 14 student-athletes on this year's roster that have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft including four incoming freshmen. Taylor Cammarata was selected in the third round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders (76th overall), Hudson Fasching was selected in the fourth round of this year's draft by the Los Angeles Kings (118th overall and Michael Brodzinski was selected in the fifth round (141st overall) by the San Jose Sharks. Additionally, freshman Jake Bischoff was selected 185th overall in the seventh round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders. Brady Skjei is the highest drafted Gopher on this year's team with the defenseman being taken 28th overall by the New York Rangers in 2012.