Gophers coach Don Lucia blew up his forward lines last Saturday for the second game in Denver. It almost worked. The Gophers lost 4-3 in overtime.
But back home at Mariucci, to face Bemidji State on Friday, he is back to basically the four lines he has used almost all of the season.
1st/ Kyle Rau-Nick Bjugstad-Zach Budish. ... Rau missed last Saturday's game because he was suspended. Bjugey still leads the team with 21 goals but has only one in the past five games. Budish had a "dirty" goal from near the blue paint in Denver.
2nd/ Sam Warning-Erik Haula-Jake Hansen. ... Haula played left wing either on the first or second line last weekend because he was a little banged up. He's better now and back at his normal spot. Warning provides speed, Hansen grit on the other wing.
3rd/ Nate Condon-Taylor Matson-Nico Sacchetti ... Condon and Matson are team's two best penalty killers, Lucia says, and now that they are on same line again, can go out on a kill together. That's a plus. Sacchetti's recent play has earned him a spot in the lineup. He has played only 12 games.
4th/ Tom Serratore-Travis Boyd-Seth Ambroz. ... Serratore will play against his uncle, the BSU coach. Boyd was left home on the road trip to DU. Lucia said he was missed as a penalty killer. Ambroz has usually played on third line this season but he hasn't been scoring. He has only four goals and three assists.
Seth Helgeson-Justin Holl. ... Holl took a late penalty last Saturday and DU tied the game on the ensuing power play in the last two minutes
Ben Marshall-Mark Alt. ... Both have played 31 games as have three of the other four starting D-men
Jake Parenteau-Nate Schmidt. ... Schmidt has fallen off his point per game pace; he has 28 points in 31 games. Maybe he can have a big weekend against BSU. Trouble is Beavers have top penalty kill in WCHA and Schmidt's gets most of his points on the pp
Kent Patterson. .... Had an off game last Friday, when Gophers lost 5-3 to Pioneers. Winning goal by Jason Zucker came from the goal line extended, a real tough angle. Still has solid 2.20 goals-against average
THREE KEYS TO BEATING BSU
1. Gophers need to play with intensity -- from the start -- and throughout the game. Last Friday, they played well the first 10 minutes, which is what the coaches preach, then looked pretty sorry the next 10 minutes of the opening period. DU pelted Kent Patterson with 19 shots and led 3-1 after the first 20 minutes.
2. Get the top line going. Nick Bjugstad had three of his eight goals against Bemidji State on the last weekend of the regular season a year ago. He has 21 goals this season, but only one in his past five games. Time for him and Rau to break out for him. Rau has been pretty quiet lately, too.
3. Patterson has to be sharp. Kent is going up against Dan Bakala, the defensive player of the week in the WCHA. Bakala has been real good for the Beavers lately. Patterson has to match him save for save, give the Gophers a chance. BSU has the top PK in the league, so it's unlikely the Gophers will score a lot of goals.