Series preview: Gophers vs. Minnesota State Mankato

  • Updated: January 24, 2013 - 11:04 PM
gophers hockey gameday

VS. MINNESOTA STATE MANKATO • 7 P.M. FRIDAY, MARIUCCI ARENA • 7 P.M. SATURDAY, VERIZON WIRELESS CENTER TV, radio: BTN (Friday), FSN Plus (Saturday), 1500-AM

Gophers at a glance: The top-ranked Gophers (17-3-4, 9-3-4 WCHA) join St. Cloud State at the top of the WCHA standings after earning three of four points last weekend against North Dakota. They split with Minnesota State Mankato earlier this season, winning 3-2 at Mariucci Arena and losing 5-3 in Mankato. After scoring nine goals last weekend, the Gophers lead the nation with 93 goals and have scored four goals or more in their past nine games. Junior F Erik Haula is on a 16-game points streak and leads the Gophers with 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists). Freshman G Adam Wilcox, who has started 21 consecutive games, leads the WCHA in goals-against average (1.72), victories (16) and winning percentage (.818). Junior D Nate Schmidt (four goals, 19 assists) is the highest-scoring Division I defenseman.

Mavericks at a glance: After winning 12 of their past 16 games, the Mavericks (15-8-3, 9-8-1) are 14th in this week's USCHO.com poll. Gophers coach Don Lucia said they are both good and deep, and he believes they have improved since the teams met in early November. The Mavericks have gone 6-4 in their past 10 games against the Gophers. Freshman G Stephon Williams earned his fourth shutout of the season in last Saturday's 4-0 victory over Alaska Anchorage. Williams is 12-6-2 this season and his 1.80 goals-against average is second-best in the WCHA behind Wilcox, and his .925 save percentage ranks fourth. Sophomore forwards Matt Leitner (10 goals, 19 assists) and Jean-Paul Lafontaine (eight goals, 16 assists) lead the Mavericks in scoring. Sophomore D Zach Palmquist got two goals and an assist in last weekend's tie and victory against Alaska Anchorage and has 11 points in the past 12 games.

RACHEL BLOUNT

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