Gophers Hit the Road for Columbus
March 5, 2014
The top-ranked Minnesota men’s hockey program returns to action this weekend with a Big Ten Conference series at Ohio State. Friday’s series opener is set for 6:30 p.m. CT on FOX Sports North PLUS (Doug McLeod, Tom Chorske) while Saturday’s finale is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. CT on ESPN News (Clay Matvick, Sean Ritchlin). Radio broadcasts for both games will be on the Gopher Radio Network and flagship station 1500 ESPN (Wally Shaver, Frank Mazzocco).
Ohio State Notes
Minnesota enters the weekend series with a 14-1-0 all-time record against the Buckeyes including two wins at home earlier this season. The Gophers topped Ohio State 1-0 on Jan. 17 at TCF Bank Stadium in the 2014 Hockey City Classic and followed up with a 4-2 victory at Mariucci Arena this next evening on Hockey Day Minnesota. Sam Warning tallied a hat trick in the game and is Minnesota’s active leading scorer against the Buckeyes with three goals and three points. Minnesota is 2-0-0 all-time at Ohio State.
Last Time Out - Penn State
Minnesota (23-4-5 overall, 12-2-2-0 Big Ten) closed out the home schedule with a two-game conference sweep over Penn State last weekend. The Gophers scored five-straight goals on Friday night to come back and win 5-1 over the Nittany Lions before outlasting Penn State with a 2-1 win on Saturday. Senior Heroes The Gophers celebrated Senior Night on Saturday with a pair of seniors paving the way to a 2-1 victory. Michael Shibrowski set a career-high with 26 saves in goal for Minnesota and moved to 2-0-0 on the season. Meanwhile, Tom Serratore scored his first goal since Nov. 22, 2013 (a span of 14 games for the senior as well as two returns from injuries) for the eventual game winner. The forward has seven points (three goals, four assists) this year.
Warning Hit Century Mark
Sam Warning skated in his 100th game as a Gopher on Saturday night in a win over Penn State. The junior has as 70 points (26 goals, 44 assists) in his college career and leads the team this season with 31 points. His 31 points, 12 goals and 19 assists this season are all career highs.
Boyd, Wilcox Earn Big Ten Honors
Travis Boyd led all Big Ten skaters last week with four points (one goal, three assists) to earn Big Ten First Star of the Week honors while Adam Wilcox made 30 saves in a 5-1 win to earn Big Ten Third Star of the Week accolades -- the sophomore has earned a Big Ten-best five weekly honors.
Fasching Paces Big Ten Rookies
Hudson Fasching leads all Big Ten rookies with 12 goals this season and ranks second in points scored by conference newcomers (one off the Big Ten lead). Originally drafted by Los Angeles in the fourth round (118th overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Fasching’s rights were traded to Buffalo on Wednesday at the NHL trade deadline.
Nate Condon has skated in 149 consecutive games for Minnesota entering the weekend and is the program’s most veteran player at 150 games (38-59--97). 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, who tallied Minnesota’s first shorthanded goal in nearly a year on Friday night (Erik Haula on March, 3, 2013 in a 2-1 win over Wisconsin), needs just three points to reach the 100-career point milestone.
Minnesota is the least penalized team in the Big Ten, averaging just 9.3 penalty minutes per game. In fact, the Gophers rank 54th out of 59 team in the NCAA this season in penalty minutes per game.
There’s No Place Like 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 290-113-45 (.696) on home ice. Since the start of the 2011-12 season, the Gophers are 48-10-6 (.790) on home ice including an 15-1-3 (.853) 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 one loss at Mariucci Arena this season marks the fewest losses at the venue in its 20-year history.
The Gophers freshman class has contributed 45 goals this season -- the most of any rookie class in the NCAA this season. The Minnesota newcomers have tallied .398 of the team’s 113 goals this season and are averaging 1.41 goals per game -- the highest ratio of any freshman class in the nation this year.
Wilcox Stands Out in Net
Sophomore Adam Wilcox is a nominee for the Hobey Baker Award and the new Mike Richter Award (given to the nation’s top goaltender) as well as an All-America candidate. In 69 career games played, Wilcox has posted a 46-12-10 overall record. Out of those games, 32 have been played against nationally ranked foes with the sophomore netminder recording a 19-10-3 record against ranked teams. Wilcox (21-4-5) is third in the nation and first in the Big Ten with 21 wins this season, seventh nationally in goals against average at 1.94 and sixth nationally in save percentage at .932.
Best Offense is a Good Defense
Minnesota has given up an NCAA-low 61 goals against this season and rank first nationally with an average of just 1.91 goals against per game. Additionally, 22 of the Gophers’ 113 goals this season have come from defensemen including Mike Reilly, who leads all Big Ten defensemen and ranks tied for fifth among NCAA blue liners with eight goals this season. Reilly also leads all Big Ten defensemen with 24 points this season and ranks 10th nationally in the category.
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 60-9-5 all-time when the forward tallies a point including an incredible 39-4-4 mark since the beginning of the 2012-13 season. Additionally, the Gophers are 29-2-0 all-time when Rau tallies more than one point in a game (7-0-0 this season) and are 6-0-0 when he tallies more than one goal in a game (1-0-0 this season).
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 four-straight Big Ten games to close out the rest of the season on the road, starting with 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).
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.
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.