WCHA playoffs, first round/Gophers vs. Bemidji State
Friday, Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday, 7 p.m.
TV: FSN (Friday and Saturday), FSN Plus (Sunday) • Radio: 1500-AM
Gophers at a glance: Last weekend’s road sweep of Bemidji State gave the No. 2 Gophers (24-7-5, 16-7-5 WCHA) five consecutive victories in the series. But the Beavers are no pushover, and coach Don Lucia predicted “there will be a lot of drama’’ throughout the first round of the league playoffs. ... D Nate Schmidt was named to the All-WCHA first team Thursday, while F Erik Haula made the second team. F Nick Bjugstad and G Adam Wilcox made the third team. ... The Gophers continue to lead the nation in scoring (3.64 goals per game) and power-play efficiency (25.2 percent) — the team’s best success rate since the 2003-04 season. Wilcox (23-6-5) is second in the nation in victories and needs two more to tie Kellen Briggs for the most victories by a Gophers freshman.
Bemidji State at a glance: The Beavers (6-20-8, 5-16-7) led Friday’s game against the Gophers early in the third period before falling 4-3, and they trailed by a single goal Saturday until the final 25 minutes of a 5-1 loss. Coach Tom Serratore said if the Beavers are to have a chance to win, they must: 1) score at least three goals, 2) get production from their top lines, 3) get opportunities on their power play, and 4) prevent the Gophers from scoring power-play goals. Scoring has been a challenge for the Beavers; their average of 2.06 goals per game is 11th in the 12-team WCHA. In five of their past six games, Bemidji State has led or been tied in the third period but went 1-3-2.