Gophers return from break with another Mariucci Classic letdown, 3-2 loss to Merrimack. Read Friday night's game story.

Three of the Gophers' young guns were plucked from the lineup for international competition over the winter break. Last year it was two and nearly ever year at least one standout is called upon to represent their country at the annual World Junior Championships.

Though it's a good opportunity for the athlete and their country, it appears to have hurt the Gophers' performance in their own tournament. After Friday night's 3-2 loss to Merrimack, they fall to the consolation game for the second straight year. The loss also means they won't win the Mariucci Classic for the sixth time in the last eight years. 

"It's kind of an odd stat. ... Nothing that can really explain that," Gophers sophomore forward Connor Reilly said. "I know some guy on their team asked me on the ice, 'How many does this building hold?' I go, '10,000.' He goes, 'Wow.' He was amazed. So you can tell a lot of these teams that come to this tournament they get fired up and their excited to be here."

Whatever the reason may be, things haven't worked out for the host Gophers over the last several years. Here's a look at the results over this disappointing stretch:

Year             Champion            Runner-up           Third place       Fourth place
2013-2014     Colgate                 Ferris State          Minnesota          Rensselaer
1012-2013     Minnesota             Boston College     Air Force            Alabama-Huntsville
2011-2012     Northeastern         Minnesota             Princeton           Niagara
2010–2011    Bemidji State        Union                    Minnesota          Ferris State
2009-2010     Northern Mich.      Minnesota             Bowling Green    Clarkson
2008-2009     Minnesota            Northeastern          Western Mich.    Brown
2007-2008     Boston College     RIT                       Minnesota          Air Force
Note: The Gophers won eight straight Mariucci Classics before the 2007-2008 season. 

Friday’s box score.

Postgame video
(To view on mobile devices, click on player's/coach's name)

Gophers sophomore forward Connor Reilly

Gophers senior forward Seth Ambroz

Gophers coach Don Lucia

Gophers junior forward A.J. Michaelson