[Ed. note -- Front Page'd]
A little Minnesota preview, due to the sports pack and their games starting late, I've been able to watch a good amount of their games.
Minnesota won the RS WCHA crown, amassing a 20-8-0 record in conference and were 28-13-1 overall. In the WCHA Final 5 (their conference tournament) they lost to NoDak in the semis 6-3. Due to BC's tough OOC & tournament play, we have a ton of common opponents, Minnesota-Duluth, Vermont, North Dakota, Michigan State, Michigan Tech, Notre Dame, Northeastern, Denver and Boston University.
Offensively, they'll remind BC fans most of Maine with one big line. Their big line of Haula, Rau, & Bjugstad, all of whom are underclassmen, has scored 40 percent of Minnesota's goals and are the only players who have more than 15. The team is #1 nationally in goal scoring at 3.67 per game and have the 5th best power play at 23 percent. Unlike Maine, they break up their big line and have two balanced units.
Defensively, they are led by sophomore Nate Schmidt who was 2nd nationally in points (3-38-41), who has an interesting story as he only played 13 games as a FR. He is however, slightly undersized at 5-11, 195; I'd look for York to try to matchup the Kreider-Hayes-Straight line against him to get the cycle going below the dots. According to their fans they consistently trot out three pairings. Nationally, they are #8 in goals allowed per game at 2.21 and 36th in PK at 81%.
In between the pipes, they have senior 1st team all-WCHA Kent Patterson, who has started every game. The second year starter has taken all but 21 minutes this season for the Gophers with a 2.23 GAA and .911 save %. Despite the 1st team status, he is susceptible to off nights, and has allowed more than 3 goals in 4 games in February and March.
Should be a fun game as both teams like to get up and down.