GAME PREVIEW: MERCYHURST AT
NO. 5 GOPHERS
7:10 p.m., Friday, first round of the Ice Breaker tournament at Mariucci Arena
TV/radio: Fox Sports North; 1500-AM.
Gophers at a glance: The Gophers will be the host of the Ice Breaker tournament for a third time. The last time coach Don Lucia's team was the host of the season kickoff event (2007), the Gophers were the champions. This year's young team will be tested immediately by Mercyhurst, and again on Saturday by New Hampshire or Clarkson. Last Saturday's 5-1 exhibition victory over Lethbridge hinted that the Gophers young lineup can score. Five different players had goals, including three freshmen. Expect to see a lot of line shuffling as Lucia tries to see who skates well together.
Lakers at a glance: Mercyhurst enters Friday with a lot of hype around the program but is coming off an exhibition loss. The Lakers lost to the University of Guelph (Ontario) 4-3. The score, however, wasn't representative of the play, however, as Mercyhurt held a 45-18 shots-on-goal advantage. The Lakers will be eager to make up for the loss, especially after receiving the most first-place votes in the Atlantic Hockey coaches' preseason poll and picked to tie for second. Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin, starting his 25th season, also has been tabbed as one of the coaches to watch by College Hockey News'.
Clarkson and New Hampshire will play in the Ice Breaker opener at 4 p.m.