Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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What bench-warmers will play in Mariucci Classic?

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers roster moves Updated: December 27, 2011 - 5:34 PM

The Gophers have played 20 games so far and 13 players -- seven forwards, five defensemen and one goalie -- have played in every game.

But two of those forwards, Nick Bjugstad and Kyle Rau, are gone this week competing in the World Junior Championships and won't play in the Mariucci Classic on Friday and Saturday. So what new faces will Gophers fans see this weekend?

Here is a look at the Gophers roster and some thoughts:

The 13 iron men so far

Forwards/  Bjugstad, Rau -- their streak ends Friday -- Erik Haula, Taylor Matson, Jake Hansen, Zach Budish and Nate Condon

Defensemen/ Nate Schmidt, Mark Alt, Seth Helgeson, Justin Holl, Ben Marshall

Goalie/ Kent Patterson

Played in 19 games: forwards Seth Ambroz and Tom Serratore

Played in 18 games: forward Sam Warning

Played in 17 games: forward Travis Boyd, defenseman Jake Parenteau

Played in 16 games: forward Nick Larson ... missed last game on Dec. 10 versus Michigan Tech with flu

Expect the 11 iron men still with the team to play ... also the six players who have missed only one to four games. That's 17 players, need two forwards more each night. Here are the candidates:

Forwards

Nico Sacchetti. Senior from Virginia. Played 104 games in his first three seasons Expected to be a goal-scorer. Has played in only five games, zero points. Role on team has diminished. 25 percent chance of playing

Christian Isackson. Freshman, played at Sioux Falls of USHL last season. Sidelined with infection for a while. Has size at 6-0, 185, potential. Pointless in five games. 60 percent chance

Joey Miller. Senior from Wayzata, alternate captain. Highly popular on team. Scored goal in last Gophers' game, his first game of season. 50 percent chance

Jared Larson. Sophomore forward from Apple Valley. Came to U via Fairbanks of NAHL. Played in eight games last season, none this year.  5 percent chance

Defensemen

OK, none are missing this weekend. But if Lucia wants to throw in somebody new, the candidates are:

Blake Thompson. Big defenseman (6-2, 212) from Eden Prairie who played at Waterloo of USHL last season. Has played in only three games. Had penalty problems in two of them. Coach Lucia impressed with him in last game. Out for a while with mono. 75 percent chance

Chris Student. Sophomore transfer from Northeastern, a team Gophers could play in second game of Mariucci Classic. Practiced with team all of last season -- when he was ineligible -- and first half of this season without playing when he could have. Has to be itchy to get on the ice. Had two assists in 24 games as freshman at Northeastern in 2009-10, 5 percent chance

Goalies

Patterson has played every minute of every game except when the Gophers pulled him for an extra skater. Who knows when his streak will end, but here are the other two goalies on the roster in case you don't know their names:

Mike Shibrowski. Sophomore from Benilde-St. Margaret's via Colorado College and Des Moines. Played half a season at CC, but got into only two games. Won only start, beating Mercyhurst 5-3 on Feb. 6, 2010. Was 21-16-5 for Des Moines of USHL last season. ... Backup to Kent Patterson, so if Patterson gets hurt or is ill, Shibrowski will play. 10 percent

Jake Kremer. Senior from Eden Prairie. Has only played in exhibition games. Practice goalie. Would get in only if Patterson and Shibrowski were both unable to play. 1 percent

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