No. 4/5 Gopher Close Out First Half at No. 19 Colorado College
Dec. 5, 2012
The No. 4/5 Minnesota men's hockey team continues its final campaign in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association this weekend with its final regular-season series against No. 19 Colorado College. Friday's series opener is set for 7:30 p.m. MT while Saturday's finale is scheduled for 7 p.m. Both games are at World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo. Minnesota boasts an all-time record of 161-85-7 against the Tigers with the two programs splitting a pair of 2-1 league games last season at Mariucci Arena.
Last Time Out
The Gophers split with Omaha last weekend in a pair of 3-2 games on Minnesota's home ice. The Gophers lost at home for the first time all season and snapped a nine-game unbeaten streak at Mariucci Arena on Friday night. The loss also ended a six-game unbeaten streak for Minnesota and goaltender Adam Wilcox. The Gophers bounced back on Saturday with a 3-2 win of thier own -- the fourth-straight 3-2 game between the two squads and the first time in the series' seven-game history that the home team came out victorious. Adam Wilcox became the first goalie in the WCHA this season to earn nine wins while the Gophers handed Omaha goaltender John Faulkner his first loss of the year.
M. Reilly, Skjei Named to Prelim. World Jr. Roster
Gopher freshmen Mike Reilly and Brady Skjei were two of 27 players selected to attend the 2013 U.S. National Junior Team training camp on Dec. 16-18 in New York. The final roster for the team will be announced Dec. 23 with the team competing at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Ufa, Russia. Gophers assistant coach Grant Potulny will serve in the same capacity for the U.S. team under Phil Housley.
Juniors Get It Done
Minnesota's junior class paved the way last weekend, recording 10 of the team's 15 points and 4-of-5 goals over the two-game series with Omaha. Junior Erik Haula paced Minnesota last weekend with a goal and two assists. The junior class has tallied more than half of Minnesota's points this season (75-of-141) and leads the Gopher ranks in goals (28-of-49) and assists (47-of-92). Four of Minnesota's top five scorers are juniors including team scoring leader Erik Haula (7-12--19) and leading goal scorer Nick Bjugstad (8-5--13).
Haula Stays Hot
Erik Haula's two-point night on Saturday pushed the junior's point streak to 10-consecutive games with a tally. The last time the forward failed to notch a point was Minnesota's 1-0 nonconference win over Canisius on Oct. 28. Haula has actually tallied in 13 of Minnesota's 15 games this season with the only other exception coming in the team's 3-5 loss to Michigan Tech on Oct. 19.
Isackson Ends the Goal Drought
Sophomore Christian Isackson snapped a 12-game goal drought with his first period tally on Friday night. The scoreless streak dated back to the season opener on Oct. 12 -- a 5-1 win for the Gophers over Michigan State. Isackson, who has nine points (two goals, seven assists) this season including an assist on Saturday, tallied a natural hat trick in Minnesota's 7-0 exhibition win over Lethbridge to kick off the 2012-13 season.
Prior to taking over the Gophers program in 1999, Don Lucia served as head coach at Colorado College from 1993-1999. During his tenure in Colorado Springs, Lucia led the Tigers to three WCHA titles and four-straight NCAA tournament appearances. Colorado College was the NCAA runn-er-up in 1995-96 and returned to the Frozen Four in 1996-97. Lucia posted a 166-68-18 (.694) record at Colorado College and is 26-18-1 against the Tigers (22-16-1 with Minnesota).
Roll with Rau
A point from Kyle Rau is a good omen for the Gophers this season. The team is 10-0-0 when the sophomore forward tallies a point including an assist in Minnesota's 3-2 win over Omaha on Saturday at Mariucci Arena. Rau ranks second on the team in points this season with 14 (six goals, eight assists).
The Wilcox File
The statistics are starting to add up for rookie netminder Adam Wilcox. The South St. Paul native leads the WCHA and ranks fifth in the nation this season with a 1.61 GAA. Wilcox (9-2-2) ranks tied for eighth in the nation this year with a .769 winning percentage. Wilcox's .925 save percentage ranks third in the league behind Denver's Juho Olkinuora (.934) and Wisconsin's Landon Peterson (.933). Wilcox made his 12th-straight start for the Gophers on Saturday.
More on Wilcox
Wilcox and the Gophers had their six-game unbeaten streak snapped on Friday night.The rookie had allowed just seven goals during Minnesota's streak (4-0-2) and has now allowed only 22 goals against in 14 total games this season. Wilcox has allowed one goal or fewer in seven games this season including a pair of shutouts and has allowed more than two goals just twice.
It didn't take long for sophomore Sam Warning to contribute in his return to the Gophers lineup. The forward picked up an assist on Zach Budish's first period goal on Friday night after missing nine games with an injury. Warning had a pair of assists in Minnesota's season-opening sweep over Michigan State and now has three assists on the season.