Gophers Set for First Big Ten Series
Nov. 27, 2013
The No. 1 Minnesota men’s hockey program returns to action this weekend with the its first-ever Big Ten Conference series against No. 12/13 Wisconsin at Mariucci Arena. Friday’s series opener -- the very first conference game in league history -- is set for 4 p.m. CT with ESPNU and 1500 ESPN broadcasting the action live (BTN2Go.com will have the game available on tape delay at 11 p.m.). Saturday’s series finale is set for a 5 p.m. puck drop on FOX Sports North, BTN2Go.com and 1500 ESPN.
Minnesota is 157-87-21 all-time against the University of Wisconsin entering this weekend with the Gophers boasting a 91-27-8 record on home ice against the Badgers. Senior captain and Wausau, Wis., native Nate Condon leads all active Gophers with five points (two goals, three assists) in 12 career games against Wisconsin. In a series that dates back to 1922, this weekends’ series marks the first-ever meeting between the two teams as official members of the Big Ten Conference.
Gophers in the Polls
For the sixth week in a row, the Gophers rank No. 1 in both the U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) poll (963 total points, 22 first-place votes) and the USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine poll (492 total points (21 first-place votes). With No. 12/13 Wisconsin visiting Mariucci Arena this weekend, the Gophers will have faced a ranked team in five out of seven series after this weekend. Minnesota owns a 4-2-1 record against nationally ranked teams this season.
Wilcox Hits Career Mark
Adam Wilcox’s 36-save performance in Friday’s 6-1 win over the Bulldogs was a career high, beating his previous best of 35 set on Feb. 23, 2013 against UMD.
Rau Snaps Goal Drought
Kyle Rau snapped a nine-game goal drought last Friday with his second goal of the year -- his first was Minnesota’s first goal of the year in a 6-0 win over Mercyhurst on Oct. 11. Minnesota is now 51-8-3 all-time when Rau earns a point while the junior needs four points to hit 100 career points (35-61--96).
Brodzinski Earns Big Ten Laurels
There have been six weeks of college hockey action this season for the Gophers, and Minnesota has earned at least one Big Ten Star of the Week in all six of them. Freshman defenseman Michael Brodzinski is the latest Gopher -- earning Big Ten Third Star of the Week honors after tallying three points (two goals, one assist) in the nonconference series split with Minnesota Duluth last weekend. Brodzinski’s four goals rank second in the league among defensemen, behind only teammate Mike Reilly with five goals in 2013-14.
Freshmen Pace the Big Ten
Minnesota boasts the Big Ten’s top three scoring freshmen in Hudson Fasching (6-8--14), Justin Kloos (5-8--13) and Taylor Cammarata (3-8--1). Michael Brodzinski (4-3--7) now ranks tied for fifth in the league’s rookie scoring race while redshirt freshman Connor Reilly is in 10th at 2-3--5).
Rounding Out the Homestand
This weekend’s series is part of a six-game, three-week homestand for the Gophers at Mariucci Arena. The Gophers swept Minnesota State (4-1, 3-0) two weeks ago and split with Minnesota Duluth (6-1, 2-6) last weekend before closing out the stand with the first-ever league games against Wisconsin this weekend. The Gophers then finish up the first half of the season on the road with a conference series against Michigan State in East Lansing (Dec. 6-7).
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, the Gophers are 283-113-43 at their home rink. Recently, Minnesota went 14-3-3 at Mariucci Arena in 2012-13 while the team is 39-10-4 on home ice since the start of the 2011-12 season. The Gophers are 6-1-1 at home this year with Sunday’s loss to UMD snapping a 10-game unbeaten streak on home ice (9-0-1).