To beat Vermont on Friday night, the Gophers need to:
1) Eliminate big mistakes on defense. They made several costly turnovers at UMD last weekend and it nearly cost the Gophers. Two plays I especially remember. Defenseman Nate Schmidt coughed up the puck at the attacking blue line and seconds later it was in the Gophers net. Defenseman Seth Helgeson, behind the extended goal line, had a clearing pass picked off in the lower right circle and it turned into a goal, too.
Vermont does not have a lot of firepower. No returning 10-goal scorers. So they could have a hard time scoring against Kent Patterson unless the Gophers help them.
2. Get an early lead. The Gophers have done that consistently this season. It relaxes everyone, builds confidence and puts doubts in the opponent's mind, especially since the Catamounts are playing their first game. Remember, too, who Vermont has in the nets. Rob Madore will be playing in his 100th game. If he starts out well, he would be hard to beat. He is a veteran's veteran. Played in Frozen Four as freshman, in NCAA regional as sophomore. He has won big games. Won't be rattled.
3. Keep the power play cooking. It was six for nine last weekend, that's incredibly hot. Hard to match, but one or two power play goals make it a lot easier to win. Move the puck, shoot the puck. Put pressure on the goalie. Get deflections, tips, rebounds.