The Gophers are going to play a short-handed St. Cloud State team this weekend.

The Huskies were down to 10 healthy forwards last Saturday after two were injured last  in the third period of a 3-2 home loss to North Dakota.

Sophomore forward Cory Thorson suffered what looked like a shoulder injury. He was skating in a jersey with a red cross on Wednesday, meaning don't hit him, according to KVSC radio. There is a good chance he can play against the Gophers, KVSC reported.

Senior center Jordy Christian suffered what appeared to be a leg injury in the final period. He was not at Wednesday's practice.

So the Huskies moved two defensemen into their open spots. Here are Wednesday's lines, according to KVSC:

Ben Hanowski-Travis Novak-Jarrod Rabey ... Hanowski has 12 goals and 15 assists for a team high 27 points. ... Novak has seven goals and 17 points. ... Rabey is a freshman defenseman with three goals and five assists. ... St. Cloud Times reporter Mick Hatten said these three also were together for Tuesday's practice

Dave Eddy-Nic Dowd-Jared Festler ... Huskies' second line. Festler has 11 goals, Dowd seven and Eddy six. ... Dowd had a goal and three assists against UND last weekend.

Garrett Milan-Brandon Burrell-Joey Holka ... Milan, a 5-6 freshman, has five assists, no goals in 15 games, Holka, a 6-3 freshman, has one goal and one assist in 21 games. ... Burrell is a sophomore defenseman who has played two games.

Joe Rehkamp-Nick Oliver-Brooks Bertsch ... an all-freshman line. Bertsch has three goals and two assists for five points in 17 games, Oliver has two goals in 24 games. Rehkamp joined the team at midseason.

Comments: Sure seems like the Gophers should be able to take advantage when the the third and fourth lines are on the ice for St. Cloud State.

Why is St. Cloud State so thin at  forward?

Thorson, Christian are hurt now. And much earlier, Drew LeBlanc, one of the team's three captains, suffered a broken leg in his 10th game. He is skating but won't play against the Gophers.

Two other forwards, Cam Reid and Mitch MacMillan, left the program. Reid's departure was announced Jan. 8. He left to join the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL.  MacMillan, who left in mid-December, has transferred to North Dakota where his brother plays. He will be eligible there next January.

Those injuries and unexpected losses have forced Huskies coach Bob Motzko to scramble a bit. Sam Zabkowicz, another defenseman,  has been moved up to forward at times this season.

Injured Mike Lee, a junior goalie, is also close to returning to the lineup. He played in only five games before needing hip surgery. He is practicing again but has not received medical clearance to play in a game.

Freshman Ryan Faragher has done well replacing him. He is 8-10-3 with a 2.75 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage.

A .500 TEAM

St. Cloud State has been remarkably up and down this season. The Huskies have got a victory or a tie every WCHA weekend, but have never swept anyone. Last weekend, SCSU beat North Dakota 3-1 in the first game, but lost the second game 3-2 after a kicked-in goal by Hanowski was disallowed in the last minute.

"We get the big win on Friday night, 3-1," Motzko said. "Our penalty killing stayed outstanding,. We got great goaltending by Ryan Faragher [41 saves]. But we are not able to come back and sustain it Saturday. ... [North Dakota] played a whale of a game. They were more determined than us."

Do the Huskies have enough to beat the Gophers again?

"We are going to have to play a sound defensive game, give ourselves a chance," Motzko said. "We are going to have to find a way to be opportunistic. They don't give a lot up at home. They have done that all year long. We got shut out there the last time we played, 5-0. The big thing for us is to give ourselves a chance defensively in their building. Be very smart. Keep a limit on their special teams, on their power play. And then we have to find a way to get some pucks by their goalie."

The Huskies are 10-12-4 overall and 7-8-3 in the WCHA, which puts them in a tie for seventh place with Michigan Tech.


St. Cloud State 4, Gophers 3

Nov. 18 at National Hockey Center, att--5,772

Ben Hanowski gave the Huskies a 1-0 lead four minutes into the game on a power play and had two assists. Dave Eddy had three assists. Jared Festler scored the game-winner. His power play goal at 7:12 of the second period gave SCSU a 4-1 lead.

Cam Reid and Nic Dowd had the other goals for the Huskies, who were outshot 43-18.

Nick Bjugstad scored a power play goal for the Gophers in the middle of the third period. The Gophers made it close with two goals, 1:53 apart late in the third period by Tom Serratore and Kyle Rau.

Ryan Faragher had 40 stops for SCSU, Kent Patterson 15 for the Gophers.

Nov. 19 at Mariucci, att-10,044

Gophers 5, St. Cloud State 0

Bjugstad had a goal every period for his first career hat trick. His last two goals came on power plays. So in two games against SCSU, he had four goals and one assist [on Friday].

Kent Patterson made 30 saves in the shutout, his sixth of the season. He has not had one since.

Hanowski had a great game for the Huskies with 11 shots on goal, seven in the second period.