Coach Don Lucia said on his weekly radio show on Monday night on 1500ESPN that one of the keys to the Gophers having such a successful year last season was how well they played against in-state foes.
He is right there. The Gophers were 9-1-0 against the other four in-state teams. They play a home and home series this weekend with Minnesota State Mankato.
The U of M's scores with in-state teams last season:
10/14/11 at Minnesota Duluth W, 5-4 (OT)
10/15/11 at Minnesota Duluth W, 5-4
11/18/11 at St. Cloud State L, 4-3
11/19/11 vs. St. Cloud State W, 5-0
12/02/11 vs. Minnesota State W, 4-2
12/03/11 vs. Minnesota State W, 3-2
01/27/12 vs. St. Cloud State W, 2-1
01/28/12 at St. Cloud State W, 3-2
02/17/12 vs. Bemidji St W, 3-0
02/18/12 vs. Bemidji St W, 4-1
Their one loss was to SCSU in a game the Gophers could easily have won.
Asked by an e-mailer if the Gophers will play North Dakota, Lucia said not in the next couple of season. He said the Gophers could not schedule UND as a nonconference opponent, but university rules, until it abandoned the Fighting SIoux nickname.
Now that UND has, he espects the Gophers will play UND in three, four years.
Lucia said the Gophers will continue playing the four in-state schools in the next few seasons plus three Hockey East schools, Boston College, Northeastern and Notre Dame.
He said the team's goaltending has been solid, he likes the 36 shots on goal and the 20 against per game but said the power play needs to improve.
The power play is 3 for 20, which is 15 percent. The Gophers are averaging 1.5 shots per power play.
Opponents are 1 for 12 on the power play, so the penalty killers are doing well.
* Minnesota State Mankato lost twice at St. Cloud State last weekend, the scores were 5-1 in both games. Junior defenseman Evan Mosey scored the two third-period goals for the Mavericks. Mosey's second goal of the weekend was short-handed.
The Mavericks are coached by Mike Hastings, the ex-Gopher coach in his first season at MSU Mankato.
* The Gophers were No. 2, behind Boston College, in both major polls, but fewer and fewer voters consider them No. 1 material. The 'U' only got three first-place votes in the USCHO.com poll and zero in the USA Today poll. What the Gophers' 1-0 win over Canisius wasn't impressive?
Denver is No. 3 in both polls and got six first-place votes in the USCHO.com poll and five in the USA Today poll.
* Ex-Gophers Max Gardiner is the first line center for Penn State. The sophomore, who played in the USHL for one season after leaving the U, has two goals this season.