Last season was a strong bounce-back year for the Gophers. But it was not that long that performances like they had on Friday in a 3-2 loss to Nebraska Omaha were pretty typical.
Remember until last season they had a four year stretch during which they finished seventh, fifth, seventh and fifth in the WCHA. There's a lot of losses in there.
At times, they showed little spark at home. Hopefully, that team is not back again.
But Saturday's game should tell us something about the Gophers. Can they bounce back well? Can they make adjustments? Can they beat a tough foe? Both the Gophers and the Mavericks have played two of the softest schedules in the country until this series.
One team knew it had to pick up its intensity for this series. Maybe the other has learned that.
The Gophers' shots against UND, 10-4-7--21. The Mavericks had 27 shots, 11 in the third period.
UNO was 1x3 on the power play, the Gophers 0x4.
The stars of the game were:
* First star: Josh Archibald, a UNO forward from Brainerd. He had a goal and two assists. He had five shots on goal.
* Second: Ryan Walters, the left wing on Archibald's line. Walters had five shots on goals and two assists. He went to St. Thomas Academy, then left his junior season to play in the USHL. At one time, he had committed to the U, but changed his mind when the Gophers asked him to play a third year in the USHL.
* Third: Nate Schmidt, the Gophers defenseman.
UNO's record is now almost identical to the Gophers. The Mavericks are 9-3-1 and in second in the WCHA with 11 points, the Gophers are 9-3-2 and tied for third with 10.
* Visitors were 3-2-1 on Friday. ... In this week's WCHA picking contest, I had 5-1/2 games right, 1/2 wrong (ties count as a half point) and so did blogger Matthew Semisch from Omaha.