The home team has won 11 of 12 games in the Gophers-Northeastern series. The one exception was on Dec. 28, 1997 when Northeastern beat the Gophers 4-2 in the championship game of the Mariucci Classic.
To beat the Huskies tonight, the Gophers need to do three things:
1) Spread the scoring around. On Friday, five different Gophers scored as they beat Niagara 5-1. That's the formula with Nick Bjugstad (16 goals) and Kyle Rau (12) both away playing for their country in the World Juniors.
2. Win the special teams battle. That is always a big key in who wins and loses. The Gophers have some new combinations. They will have to lay well against a Huskies team that is 6-0-1 in its last seven games. The tie, by the way, was on Friday with Princeton. The teams tied 3-3, but Northeastern won a shootout 1-0 after 16 shooters to advance.
3. Get a goal or two from freshmen Seth Ambroz and Sam Warning. Both seemingly have been stuck on three goals for a wild. Warning had one of his best games Friday, with several good chances. Ambroz had a goal disallowed. As he walked by the media, the Gophers communications guy Paul Rovnak asked if anyone wanted to talk to Ambroz.
Nobody did, prompting Ambroz to joke about being sure to score a goal on Saturday. Both those players scored well in the USHL last season.
1st line/ Sam Warning-Erik Haula-Jake Hansen ... Haula had his 10th goal, Hansen his ninth on Friday. And the three combined for five assists. Warning and Hansen had two apiece, Haula one. That's seven points from the Gophers' top line this night. ... Haula had eight shots on goal.
2nd line/ Nate Condon-Taylor Matson-Seth Ambroz. ... Ambroz had four shots on goal but was a minus-one as was Condon.
3rd line/ Nick Larson-Travis Boyd-Zach Budish. ... Boyd, who didn't play Friday, replaced Christian Isackson at center on this line. Larson scored the Gophers' first goal on Friday, Budish their fifth on a power play.
4th line/ Joe Miller-Christian Isackson-Nico Sacchetti. ... Isackson drops down from the third line. Miller moves from right to left wing. Sacchetti from center on this line to right wing.
1st/ Seth Helgeson-Justin Holl ... Holl scored his third goal of the season on Friday
2nd/ Ben Marshall-Mark Alt
3rd/ Jake Parenteau-Nate Schmidt ... Schmidt had two assists on Friday, his 21st and 22nd of the season
Kent Patterson will start his 43rd game in a row dating back to last season