preview: Gophers at Bemidji State
When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, 7 p.m. Sanford Center
TV, radio: Friday, FSN; Saturday, FSN Plus; 1500-AM both days
Gophers at a glance: The teams’ final regular-season series in the WCHA represents a clash of styles: the playmaking and skill of the No. 2 Gophers vs. the grind-it-out game of Bemidji State. The Gophers (22-7-5, 14-7-5 WCHA) are 10-1-1 against the Beavers, including a 2-0-1 mark in road games. Coach Don Lucia said his players must remain patient and cannot allow the Beavers to frustrate them; their ability to strike quickly in transition and their special-teams prowess also will be important. The Gophers continue to lead the nation in offense (3.59 goals per game) and power-play efficiency (.254). Freshman G Adam Wilcox, who stopped 65 of 67 shots in last weekend’s split with Denver, is 21-6-5 this season; he is tied for the second-most victories in the nation and is four short of Kellen Briggs’ team record for most victories by a freshman.
Bemidji State at a glance: After a string of 12 games without a victory, the Beavers (6-18-8, 5-14-7 WCHA) have gone 1-1-2 in their past four, including a 2-2 tie at No. 5 North Dakota last weekend. G Andrew Walsh has been strong during that stretch, with a .944 save percentage and 1.74 goals-against average in his past five games. Walsh, a sophomore, has a .916 save percentage and 2.58 GAA overall this season. The Beavers have given him little scoring support; their 2.06 goals per game is second lowest in the WCHA and ranks 56th of 59 Division I teams. They also have been shut out five times this season, the highest single-season total in the program’s 56-year history. Senior F Brance Orban leads the team in scoring with eight goals and 13 assists. Bemidji State has played 11 overtime games this season (0-3-8), and its eight ties equal the program record.