Minnesota-UMD Preview

Both the Bulldogs and Gophers open their WCHA schedules this weekend with Minnesota making their second Amsoil Arena appearance.  UMD is unbeaten in seven of their last nine games against the Gophers, posting a 5-2-2 record during that stretch.  Meanwhile, UMTC (as they are not-so-affectionately called in Duluth) brings a young, confident group up Interstate 35 – of the 15 underclassmen on the roster, only two didn’t record a point last weekend against Sacred Heart.

Records and Rankings:

UMD – 1-1-0; ranked ninth in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.

Minnesota – 2-0-0; ranked 14th in both polls.

Players to Watch:  Gopher forward Zach Budish recorded a goal and two assists last weekend, his first action since a moped accident ended his 2010-11 season early (Budish had six points in seven games before the knee injury a year ago).  For UMD, center Travis Oleksuk will try to continue the early-season success he’s had during his time in a Bulldog jersey – of his 26 career goals, 15 of them have come before New Years, including a goal both nights last weekend.

Key Numbers:

41 – The average number of shots Minnesota goalie Kent Patterson saw in four games last season against UMD.  He saw 40 shots last weekend…total.

11 – Points Jack Connolly has in his last eight games against the Gophers (5 goals, 6 assists).

0 – The number of losses the Bulldogs have when JT Brown has a multi-point game (9-0-1).  UMD is 19-4-4 when Brown has at least one point since he came to Duluth (6-7-2 when he doesn’t).

Quote of the Week:  “It’s important to go up there and make a statement that the Gophers are back.” – Mark Alt, Minnesota defenseman.

Elsewhere in the WCHA:  Bemidji State at Colorado College; Wisconsin at Michigan Tech; Denver at Boston College (Friday) and Boston University (Saturday); UMass-Lowell at Minnesota State; Maine at North Dakota; Nebraska-Omaha vs. Alaska Anchorage (Friday); Mercyhurst vs. Alaska Anchorage (Saturday); Nebraska-Omaha at Alaska (Saturday).

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