Mariucci Classic preview
Saturday-Sunday, 3M Arena at Mariucci
TV: Gophers on FSN Plus; other games streamed on BTN Plus.
Radio: Gophers on 103.5-FM, 1130-AM
Minnesota State Mankato vs. St. Cloud State, 4 p.m.
Mavericks at a glance: Minnesota State (15-2-1) has swept defending national champion Minnesota Duluth and secured a tie and a win over North Dakota, which took over the No. 1 ranking after the Mavericks split a series at Northern Michigan. Leading the scoring is the line of Marc Michaelis (10 goals, 12 assists, 22 points), Parker Tuomie (7-9-16) and Charlie Gerard (7-7-14). The Mavericks are lethal on the power play, converting 31.5% of their chances. Add in goalie Dryden McKay (14-1-1, 1.09 GAA, .955 save pct.), and the Mavericks have been nearly unbeatable.
Huskies at a glance: St. Cloud State (5-7-4) has been up and down, with its current 3-1 run coming after a stretch of one win in eight games. Forwards Sam Hentges (7-14-21) and Easton Brodzinski (6-9-15) and defenseman Jack Ahcan (4-11-15) have supplied most of the scoring. David Hrenak (3.04, .887) has started every game in goal. Coach Brett Larson is assisting with Team USA in the World Junior Championship, so assistants Mike Gibbons and Nick Oliver will lead the Huskies.
Bemidji State vs. Gophers, 7 p.m.
Beavers at a glance: Bemidji State (8-5-3) has been the surprise of the WCHA, sporting an 8-3-1 conference record. The Beavers have done it with their usual stingy defense (2.0 goals allowed per game, ninth nationally), a nation's-best penalty kill (94.0) and a productive offense (3.38 goals per game, 11th nationally). Goalie Zach Driscoll, a transfer from St. Cloud State, has a 1.70 GAA (fifth nationally) and .932 save percentage (10th nationally). Forwards Aaron Miller (9-11-20) and Adam Brady (8-8-16) pace the team in scoring.
Gophers at a glance: With nine freshmen seeing regular minutes, the Gophers (5-9-4) have taken their lumps against a difficult schedule in coach Bob Motzko's second season. In five of their losses and three of their ties, the Gophers have held a lead. They will be without leading scorer Sampo Ranta (7-4-11), who's with Finland in the World Junior Championship. Goalies Jack LaFontaine (3.14, .901) and Jared Moe (3.01, .898) have split starts.
Bemidji State vs. TBD, 4 p.m.
Gophers vs. TBD, 7 p.m.