The Gophers' next two opponents, Alaska Anchorage in the 49th state and Wisconsin at Mariucci, both will play the U after a bye week. So both should be well-rested, healed up and full of energy to play the maroon and gold.
This is supposed to be the weak part of the WCHA schedule, Michigan Tech, Mankato State and UAA. None have been contenders in the WCHA for a while. But so far the Gophers are 2-2-0.
And the Seawolves won't be a pushover easy. Especially at home, Sullivan Arena.
UAA is coming off a 3-3, overtime tie with North Dakota at The Ralph. The Seawolves (2-2-2, 0-1-1WCHA) have beaten Canisus 2-0 and tied Air Force 3-3 at home and have a 6-3 win over Merrimack at a neutral site.
Remember Canisus? The Golden Griffins pushed the Gophers to the limit at Mariucci recently. The U won 1-0.
Coach Dave Shyiak has two goalies that he usually rotates for a third season: juniors Rob Gunderson and Chris Kamal.
Gunderson is 1-0-2 and played in the last game against UND. He stopped a season-high 30 shots in that game.
The other goalie is Chris Kamal, who has had success against the Gophers. As a freshman, he beat the Gophers three times at Mariucci, twice in the WCHA playoffs. Both have decent goals-against averages but low save percentages.
Gunderson's stats are 2.85, .889. Kamal's 3.00, .8-96. Kamal is 1-2-0.
Sophomore forward Scott Allen leads the Seawolves in goals with four. He scored the first goal in UAA's tie with North Dakota on a deflection in the opening period.
Senior forward Tyler Currier had the second goal for UAA, short-handed early in the third. The Seawolves have four short-handed goals in six games. Senior forward Jordan Kwas gave UAA the lead at 3-2 at 10:25, but North Dakota, after pulling its goalie, tied the score on defenseman Derek Forbort's goal at 18:52.
UAA had a season-high 30 shots on goal, 27 in regulation.
Both Gophers' games in Alaska start at 10 p.m. and are not on television.
* UAA has six players from Anchorage and one from Minnesota, sophomore defenseman Derek Docken of Northfield.
* After this season, the Gophers will join the new Big Ten Conference while the Seawolves will stay in what is left of the WCHA. It's doubtful coach Don Lucia will schedule many -- if any -- nonconference games in Alaska, even though he got his coaching start there at Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Fairbanks.
STATUS QUO FOR U IN POLLS
The Gophers, despite a split with Minnesota State Mankato, remained No. 2 in the USCHO.com national ratings behind Boston College. But they are 102 points fewer points that the Eagles who had 48 first-place votes to the Gophers zero.
Third remains Denver after a split with S. Cloud State. The Huskies moved up three spots to No. 15.
Other WCHA teams in the top 20 are No. 6 North Dakota, No. 19 Colorado College and No. 20 UMD.
The USA Today poll was the same at the top, with BC at No. 1, followed by the Gophers and DU. UND for No. 6, too.