One hockey series Gophers fans should try to follow the next week or so is not between NHL or AHL teams. Instead, it is the second-round USHL playoff series between Sioux Falls and Omaha.
There are six future Gophers in the series, four of whom will be wearing maroon and gold next season.
On the Sioux Falls team are the Reilly twins, Connor and Ryan, Christian Isackson and Kyle Rau. All are forwards. Isackson and Rau will be with the Gophers for the 2011-12 season, the Reillys probably for 2012-13.
On the Omaha team are forward Seth Ambroz and defensemen Ben Marshall, two players expected to make an impact as freshmen at the U this coming season. Marshall was named to the USHL's all-rookie team on Friday.
Sioux Falls beat Omaha 5-2 on Wednesday in the first game of their series. The second is at 7 p.m. Friday in Omaha.
Here is a look how those six players are doing:
* Seth Ambroz, 6-2 or 6-3 right winger, 211 pounds, power forward for Omaha
Third season with Lancers, turned 18 on April 1, from New Prague. Considered sure first round NHL draft pick at one time, has probably slipped into second round
24 goals, 22 assists for 46 points in 57 games, leads Omaha in scoring. Whopping 227 shots on goal -- second in USHL in regular season with 222 -- 8 pp goals, plus-1. Expected to be top six forward for Gophers right away
* Ben Marshall, 5-9, 170 defenseman from Mahtomedi. First full season with Omaha, turns 19 on Aug. 30
In 57 games, has 11 goals and 22 asists for 33 points, which ties him for fifth in scoring among D-men in USHL. A plus-18 player, was plus-20 in regular season, one of only 10 players that high on the plus side
Has 143 shots on goal -- second behind Ambroz on Lancers; has five game-winners and 13 points, including three goals on pp.
Drafted by Detroit Red Wings in 2010 in seventh round.
* Christian Isakson, 6-1/2, 184 right winger for Sioux Falls. Taken in seventh round of 2010 NHL draft by Buffalo
In 62 games, has 20 goals and 29 assists for team-high 49 points for Stampede
A plus-9 player with 178 shots, second on team, played high school hockey for St. Thomas Academy, 19 years old
* Kyle Rau, 5-8, 160. Forward who led Eden Prairie to Class 2A state title.
In 15 USHL games after high school season, has seven goals and eight assists for 15 points. Plus-5 player with 40 shots.
* Connor Reilly, 5-11, 160. He and twin brother played for Holy Angels through senior season.
Has 16 goals and 26 assists for 42 points -- third on team -- in 64 games. Plus-7 player with team-high 182 shots
* Ryan Reilly, 5-7 1/2, 146. Played in only 43 games with modest numbers, five goals, nine assists for 14 points.