No. 1 Gophers Head to No. 3/4 Notre Dame
Nov. 6, 2013After a week off to rest, the No. 1 University of Minnesota men's hockey program returns to action this weekend with a nonconference series at No. 3/4 Notre Dame. Friday's series opener is set for 7:10 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Network, MyTalk 107.1 FM) while Saturday's game is slated for a 6:05 p.m. CT start time (1500 ESPN). Both of this weekend's games will also be available online at NBCSports.com.
Notre Dame Notables
Minnesota is 23-13-3 all-time against Notre Dame in 39 games and 5-4-1 all-time at Notre Dame. The Gophers will get their first look at Compton Family Ice Arena this weekend (opened Oct. 21, 2011; capacity: 5,022). This weekend's series marks the third-straight season Minnesota and Notre Dame have met in the regular-season after meeting only three times between the 1990-91 and 2010-11 seasons. Minnesota and Notre Dame have met just five times since 1980 after playing each other five times during the 1980 calendar year. The two programs may meet again in 2014-15 with Notre Dame set to host the 2014 Ice Breaker Tournament and Minnesota competing with Minnesota Duluth and RPI.
October to Remember
The state of Minnesota boasts the only two Division I programs in the nation to remain unbeaten after the first month of the season in No. 1 Minnesota (5-0-1) and No. 3/4 St. Cloud State (5-0-1). In fact, the 5-0-1 start for the Gophers is the program's best October since the 2001-02 season when Minnesota went 5-0-0 to start the season in route to the first of two straight NCAA titles. The Gophers also went 7-1-0 in 2011-12 when the team returned to the NCAA Frozen Four and earned its first of two-straight MacNaughton Cups.
Freshmen in the Big Ten
The three top scoring freshmen in the Big Ten call the University of Minnesota home. Justin Kloos leads all conference rookies with nine points (two goals, seven assists) followed by Hudson Fasching in second with eight points (three goals, five assists) and Taylor Cammarata in third with six points (two goals, four assists).
Last Time Out
Nine different Gophers totaled nine goals in Minnesota's last series -- a 3-3 overtime tie and a 6-1 win over then-No. 5 Boston College on Oct. 25 and Oct. 27. Sam Warning, Kyle Rau and Justin Kloos paced Minnesota with three assists each while Adam Wilcox moved to 5-0-1 on the season after playing in net for both games.
Coaching Milestone Watch
With a 349-182-60 coaching record in 15 seasons at Minnesota, Don Lucia's next win will mark his 350th as head coach of the Gophers. Now in his 27th overall season as a head coach, Lucia boasts a career coaching record of 628-337-89. Only Doug Woog (1985-99) has more wins at Minnesota with 390.
Junior Sam Warning ranks second in the nation in points per game (2.00) with 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in six games -- behind only Mark Naclerio of Brown (2.25 ppg, 3-6--9, four games). Warning leads the Big Ten in points and goals while the junior is tied for the league's assist lead at seven with teammates Kyle Rau and Justin Kloos.
Condon Against Notre Dame
Senior Nate Condon leads active Gophers with four points (one goal, three assists) in two games against the Fighting Irish. The Minnesota captain recorded his 50th career assist on Oct. 27 against Boston College and now has 83 points (33 goals, 50 assists) in 124 career games.
Ranking Minnesota in the Big Ten
Through six games this season, the Gophers lead the Big Ten in winning percentage (.917), goals scored (29), goals scored per game (4.82, also first in the nation), fewest goals against (10), goals against per game (1.67) and fewest shots on goal allowed (160). The Big Ten also features three nationally ranked teams in Minnesota (1/1), Michigan (2/2) and Wisconsin (13/12).
Skjei Lights Up
In 42 career games, sophomore defenseman Brady Skjei has tallied five points (two goals, three assists). The New York Rangers first-round pick in 2012 (28th overall) had a notable weekend against Boston College, snapping a 15-game point drought with an assist in Friday's 3-3 overtime tie and then breaking a 39-game goal-less streak with a goal in Sunday's 6-1 win.
A 1981 graduate of Notre Dame, Don Lucia was a four-year letter winner for the Fighting Irish from 1977-81. In 124 career games, Lucia tallied 30 points (seven goals, 23 assists) as a defenseman. Additionally, Lucia's son, Mario, is a sophomore forward for Notre Dame this season.
Lucia Against Notre Dame
Don Lucia will coach his ninth and 10th game against his alma mater this weekend. Lucia is 6-2-0 all-time against the Fighting Irish including a 3-1-0 mark as head coach of the Gophers.
Spreading the Wealth
Six games into the 2013-14 season and the Gophers have recorded a point from all 20 skaters who have hit the ice so far this year including 15 different goal scorers. Additionally, the Gophers scored nine goals against Boston College in their last action with each one coming from a different Gopher.
Wilcox Against the Best
In 45 career games played, Adam Wilcox has posted a 30-8-6 overall record. Out of those games, 21 have been played against nationally ranked opponents with the sophomore netminder recording an 12-6-3 record against ranked teams including the tie and win two weeks ago against Boston College.
Hockey City Classic Tickets On Sale Now
TCF Bank Stadium and the University of Minnesota will host the state's first outdoor college hockey games of the modern era on Jan. 17, 2014. The Gopher men's program will host Ohio State at 8 p.m. with the Minnesota women's program taking on Minnesota State earlier in the day. Minnesota has partnered with Intersport, who also hosted the 2013 Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field in Chicago, to put on the event. Tickets for the general public go on sale Tuesday, Oct. 22 and can be purchased at MyGophersports.com or by calling 612-624-8080.
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.