Friday, February 8, 2008

Weekend Series Prep: Minnesota at Denver

Series: Minnesota leads the all-time series 90-61-11 in a series dating to 1951.
Drop of the puck: Friday: 8:37 p.m; Saturday: 8:07 p.m. central time
Television: Friday night on Big Ten Network; Saturday is live on FSN North.

Announcers: Frank Mazzocco and Doug Woog
PTFG Prediction: Denver is coming off being swept at Mankato - I say Minnesota gets a win this weekend - split.


Pairwise: Denver 5, Minnesota 18 Denver 7, Minnesota 20
USA Today: Denver 7, Minnesota (receiving votes)
Krach: Denver 5, Minnesota 13


Star Tribune: Roman Augustoviz talks about all the overtime games recently.

Star Tribune: Dean Spiros profiles Roseau's Aaron Ness, who is headed to the U next season.

Pioneer Press: Bruce Brothers talks about the goal-scoring drought.

Minnesota Daily: Brian Deutsch breaks down the pivotal weekend series.

Weekend outlook:

Gophers at a glance: Minnesota has played the past three weekends against teams above them in the standings, coming away with a 1-2-3 record. Not good enough to move up - but not bad enough to fall to far out of it.

Going into the weekend, Minnesota is in seventh place with 16 points, but trails Wisconsin and Minnesota-Duluth by only three points for fourth place. Then again, St. Cloud State is only two points behind Minnesota in ninth.

With eight games left, the time is now for the Gophers to make a run for one of the top five spots in the league.

While the offense has sputtered of late, freshman goaltender Alex Kangas has been outstanding in recent weeks since landing the regular starting goaltending job. Since the holiday break, Kangas has made nine starts and owns a 1.71 goals against average and .934 save percentage, though he only has a 2-3-4 record. For the season, Kangas ranks 15th nationally with a 2.16 goals against average and 14th with a .923 save percentage.

The Gophers will be without forward Tony Lucia for tonight's game. Lucia must sit out a one-game suspension for taking a fighting penalty in a game last Saturday night against North Dakota. Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol, who flicked off official Don Adam in Saturday's game, was suspended two games by the WCHA,

Did you know? The Gophers have scored a total of eight goals over their past six games despite putting 172 shots on goal for an average of 28.7 shots per game. Opposing goaltenders have compiled a .953 save percentage over the span.

Denver at a glance: Brock Trotter, the University of Denver's leading scorer, has signed a contract with the Montreal Canadiens. That means Denver will be without the player who had 31 points in 24 games this season. Trotter did not play last weekend when the Pioneers lost to MSU-Mankato 3-2 and 5-1.

The Pioneers have hit a rough stretch with losses in four of their last five games. Denver has allowed 22 goals over their past five games (4.40 per game) after surrendering just 37 goals in their first 21 games (1.76 per game).

Senior Peter Mannino, a four-year starter, has started all but one game in goal this season and owns a 2.25 goals against average with a .916 save percentage.

Did you know? The Gophers did not play at Denver last season and are making their first trip to Magness Arena since Nov. 18-19, 2005.

Denver swept Minnesota in a home series for the Gophers, 4-1 and 5-1, back in early November.