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Long road trip to Michigan next

Gophers at a glance: Minnesota (4-0, 12 Big Ten points) begin a stretch of four games in seven days in the state of Michigan, starting with the Spartans. … Senior forward Brannon McManus (leg injury) won't play against Michigan State and his status is uncertain for the Dec. 8-9 series at Michigan. … Senior forward Scott Reedy leads the Gophers with three goals, one more than junior captain Sammy Walker. Senior goalie Jack LaFontaine is 4-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average, .961 save percentage and one shutout. … Sophomore defenseman Matt Staudacher is the U's lone Michigander. "I get to get back and get in that pure Michigan air,'' said Staudacher, a Fenton, Mich., native.

Michigan State at a glance: The Spartans (2-1-1, 1-1-0-1, 2 Big Ten point) are led by senior forward Mitchell Lewandowski, has 44 goals and 46 assists in his career. Junior defenseman Dennis Cesana is a preseason All-Big Ten first-team selection. He had 22 points on seven goals and 15 assists last season, third most among conference defensemen. Junior forward Mitchell Mattson of Grand Rapids, Minn., is tied for the team lead with three points. … Junior Drew DeRidder has started all four games for the Spartans, posting a 1.46 GAA and .943 save percentage. …. Like the Gophers, the Spartans have been strong in the circle, winning 144 of 233 faceoffs for a nation's-best 61.8%. The Gophers are right behind at 61.5% (139 of 226).

Randy Johnson