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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There's a trophy at stake Saturday, so 'U' beats Irish

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under College hockey Updated: January 6, 2012 - 6:02 PM

The Gophers don't play Notre Dame until Saturday this weekend. That's right, they just have one game.

Why you ask? It's a bonus game -- above the 34 limit the NCAA puts on college teams. The Gophers get to play the extra game because revenue from it helps support the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth, Minn.

That money is easier for a program to hand over if it doesn't come from a regular game.

But I procrastinate. You want to know who will win this game. Here are my predictions for this weekend:

Notre Dame at the Gophers: Coach Don Lucia was hoping to play this game outside, at TCF Bank Stadium. In hindsight it's probably best the game is inside where it is cold. If it were outside, the players might need swimming trunks and fins. Temps are April-like.

The Irish are a solid team, with a lot of veterans from last season.  Nine forwards, five defensemen and all three goalies on the Frozen Four team were juniors or younger.

But the Irish should run into a riled up Gophers team, unhappy with its 3-2 loss to Northeastern in the Mariucci Classic final. Are you supposed to win your own tournament? One other unnoteworthy fact, the Gophers are 4-0-0 against Frozen Four teams, sweeping both UMD and North Dakota. That's a trend right. ... GOPHERS WIN

Minnesota Duluth at Western Michigan: No. 1 at No. 8 in uscho.com poll. 'Dogs have 14-game unbeaten streak (11-0-3). ... UMD WINS, TIES

Cornell ay Colorado College: Another matchup of rated teams, No. 13 at No. 6. ... SPLIT

Minnesota State at St. Lawrence: Two teams trying to get .500. ... SPLIT

RIT at Wisconsin: Badgers make the WCHA proud. ... BADGERS SWEEP

Alabama Huntsville at Denver: Chargers are 1-21-0. Maybe they will win another game but not this weekend. ... DU SWEEPS

Clarkson at North Dakota on Sat.: Another one-game set. The nickname-less UND tune up for the invasion of the Gophers next weekend. ... UND WINS

 

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