Gophers men’s hockey series preview
Friday, Sunday vs. St. Cloud State • MARIUCCI ARENA • 6:05 p.m. (FSN, 1500-AM) both nights
Preview: The Friday-Sunday holiday weekend series features Don Lucia, already the Gophers’ all-time winningest coach, going for his 400th victory with the program against one of his former assistants, Huskies coach Bob Motzko. St. Cloud State is at No. 7 in the latest USCHO.com poll; the Gophers are unranked. The Gophers (4-5), only 2-3 at home this season, are coming off a home-and-home split with Minnesota State Mankato two weeks ago. The Huskies (9-3) split with North Dakota last weekend.
Players to watch: Gophers captain Justin Kloos, who scored the game-winner in the last meeting between these two schools last November, has scored in three games in a row: even-strength, shorthanded and another on a power play. Last November against the Huskies, Kloos’ overtime goal gave him a hat trick and the Gophers a 4-3 victory. For St. Cloud State, junior Niklas Nevalainen was named NCHC defenseman of the week, and defenseman Jon Lizotte was named the NCHC rookie of the week for their play against the Fighting Hawks.
Numbers: The Huskies rank third in the nation in scoring, averaging 4.17 goals per game. They are just as strong defensively, ranking sixth by giving up only 1.67 goals against per game. Their scoring margin of 2.5 is second-best in the nation. … Gophers sophomore F Leon Bristedt saw his career-best five-game point streak and four-game goal streak end in the Minnesota State series finale. He had seven points in that stretch and leads the team with five goals.