The Gophers are not talking about the MacNaughton Cup, but it is there for them. All they have to do is win at least one game against the Badgers at Mariucci. Wisconsin is having a down season, sitting at .500 with a 15-15-2 overall record.
On the road, the Badgers are 3-8-1 with two of those winning coming last weekend when they swept Bemidji State 4-2, 4-2. This weekend ... GOPHERS WIN AND TIE
Minnesota Duluth at St. Cloud State: The Bulldogs are on the Gophers' heels, two points back. So the Gophers wouldn't mind if the Huskies got a few points this weekend. SCSU is coming off a split with Michigan Tech. UMD swept Colorado College last weekend and have a five-game unbeaten streak. ... BULLDOGS WIN AND TIE
Denver at Nebraska Omaha: Denver swept the Gophers three weekends ago in the Mile High City, the Gophers swept UNO last weekend. So using the Gophers as a barometer, DU is the better team. That said, the Mavs hardly ever get swept at home and it's hard to image it will happen to them in back-to-back weekends. SPLIT
Minnesota State at North Dakota: The Fighting Sioux are playing well and have put themselves in a position to get an at-large NCAA tournament bid if they keep winning and they will this weekend. ... SIOUX SWEEP
Michigan Tech at Colorado College: Huge series for these two teams. Tech still has a chance for home ice for the first round of the playoffs and has 26 points. CC is tied for fifth with UNO with 27 points and obviously catchable for Tech. ... SPLIT
Bemidji State at Alaska Anchorage: UAA has locked up 12th place while the Beavers are only one point behind ninth-place Wisconsin so it is a bigger series for them. ... SPLIT
THREE KEYS FOR GOPHERS
1. Get some production from second or third line. With Bjugstad out, somebody has to pick up the scoring. Both the second and third lines are intact. What better time for someone out of those six to get a goal or two?
2. Be aggressive, go to the net, draw penalties. The Badgers have the worst penalty kill in the league at 75.8 percent. The Gophers need to score a couple power play goals.
3. Get a lead. Like most college teams, the Gophers play better when in front. So they need to come out with some fire and jump. No reason not to. The Cup is in town. It's Senior Night on Saturday. They are playing against one of their big rivals.