GAME PREVIEW: NO. 3 GOPHERS AT BEMIDJI STATE
7:37 p.m. Friday and 7:07 p.m. Saturday at the Sanford Center
TV/radio: Fox Sports North Friday and FSN Plus Saturday; 1500-AM both nights.
Gophers at a glance: Coach Don Lucia had plenty of good things to say about his team after opening weekend at Mariucci Arena. However, none of that matters on the road, he said. The Gophers make their first road trip this weekend and Lucia is eager to see how his young team responds. “It’s easy to play at home in front of your own crowd. Now, how are you going to react to the first time on the road?” Lucia said. The series at Bemidji State will provide an early look at how his small but fast team functions on a smaller ice rink. Last week, eight different players scored the Gophers’ nine goals. Lucia expects variety in scoring regularly, but will that change this weekend? The Gophers have never lost in Bemidji (4-0-1).
Beavers at a glance: Bemidji State maintained several in-state and former WCHA rivalries, but it’s made for challenging start. The Beavers opened the season 0-1-1 at then-No. 9-ranked St. Cloud State, and will host the No. 3 Gophers this weekend. Though the Beavers left St. Cloud winless, they only gave up five goals there. Lucia expects Bemidji State, 6-22-8 last season, to be a more confident team with the talent it has this season. It’ll take something special to defeat the Gophers, though. They own a 14-1-1 record against the Beavers. The Gophers won four consecutive meetings between the teams to close out their WCHA rivalry last season.