Shoot, shoot, shoot. Don't pass up scoring chances.

Get to the net. Get to the net.

The Gophers coaches kept telling their players to do those two things this week in practice. Sometimes teen-agers and young adult actually listen.

The Gophers beat Niagara 5-1 on Friday, scoring all their goals within the circles. They outshot the Purple Eagles 43-21. In shots attempted, the Gophers had a 72-37 dominance.

The maroon and gold defensemen also did a good job of getting shots to the net. Minnesota only had six shots  blocked to Niagara's 11.

But the Gophers will get a tougher test on Saturday. Northeastern is a Hockey East team on a seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1). 

The Huskies beat Princeton 4-3 on a shootout in their first classic game.

Truth be told, the Gophers probably should have had a couple more goals on Friday. One puck was cleared by a Purple Eagle just before it reached the goal line. Erik Haula hit a pipe in the third period. Sam Warning had two great chances in the slot, one off a turnover.

But it was a good start to the second half. The Gophers improved their resume as defenseman Nate Schmidt said.