SERIES PREVIEW: GOPHERS
VS. MINNESOTA DULUTH
When, where: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Mariucci Arena
TV, radio: FSN Plus (Friday), BTN (Saturday); 1500-AM
Gophers at a glance: For the first time since Jan. 12, the No. 2 Gophers (20-6-4, 12-6-4 WCHA) will face an unranked opponent. Still, coach Don Lucia has cautioned his team that UMD is too fast and skilled team to be overlooked. The weekend affords an opportunity for the fourth-place Gophers (28 points) to gain ground in the WCHA standings, as the two teams immediately ahead of them -- Nebraska Omaha (second place, 30 points) and Minnesota State Mankato (third, 29 points) -- are both idle. For the first time since Jan. 25, the Gophers also are playing at home, where they are 12-2-2. F Seth Ambroz will sit out Friday and perhaps Saturday with an unspecified but not serious injury. Lucia said resting Ambroz this weekend is the best long-term choice.
UMD at a glance: It has been a tough season for the Bulldogs (10-16-4, 8-12-4), who enter their only series against the Gophers this season on a seven-game winless streak. Before last Saturday's 1-1 tie against Bemidji State, UMD had lost six consecutive games, its longest losing streak since the end of the 2005-06 season. It has been outscored 26-10 in the seven games since its last victory on Jan. 18. The Bulldogs are outshooting opponents by 6.63 shots per game -- the fifth-largest margin in the country -- but are averaging 2.43 goals per game while giving up 2.97. They also are finishing poorly; in its past 12 games, UMD has been outscored 18-5 in the third period. C Tony Cameranesi has 12 goals and 13 assists and is third among WCHA freshmen in scoring; his seven power-play goals lead all NCAA freshmen.