In their final game before an unplanned extended break due to COVID-19 issues elsewhere, Minnesota scored early and often against Michigan State, winning their fourth game in a row in a sweep of their weekend series.
The Gophers host the final game of the Michigan State series.
Needing wins with the Big Ten season winding down and the desperate to stay atop the standings, the Minnesota Gophers got a good, not great, effort on Friday versus Michigan State.
The game features the top and bottom teams in the Big Ten race.
The Minnesota Gophers will have to wait until next season to try and get back on the winning track at Penn State. On Thursday that school announced cancellation of their Feb. 27-28 hockey series versus Minnesota due to on-going issues with positive COVID-19 tests among the Nittany Lions.
Michigan State has not scored many goals or gotten many wins this season, but the Spartans' non-secret weapon is in goal, where junior netminder Drew DeRidder has backstopped the team for three years, and nights of 30-plus saves are routine.
While the Minnesota Gophers are 700-some miles away at a rink in Ohio, radio voices Frank Mazzocco and Wally Shaver have gotten used to calling the action from afar during the pandemic. Also, two Gopher legends honored for their work in the 1990s, the Gophers take two of the Big Ten's three stars, and a college hockey wardrobe malfunction in the Upper Peninsula.
Minnesota Gophers senior forward Brannon McManus was an established hockey player before he took his first strides on a sheet of ice. He learned to play the game on wheels in his native Southern California, before coming to the State of Hockey for prep school and a successful college career.
Episode 68: The Rink Live video podcast for Feb. 15, 2021
Minnesota Gophers goalie Jack LaFontaine responded to his worst game of the season with his best weekend as a collegian, shutting out Notre Dame for the second consecutive night, as his team swept a road series and re-established itself atop the Big Ten standings with six games to play.
Minnesota leads the all-time series 33-24-5 but was swept by the Irish in the last series at 3M Arena at Mariucci in mid-January.
After a humbling weekend versus Wisconsin, the Minnesota Gophers found exactly what they needed at Notre Dame on Friday, turning in an end-to-end, start-to-finish effort to get back into the win column, sparked by Jack LaFontaine's fourth shutout of the season.
Minnesota Gophers coach Bob Motzko believes you can only effectively lose your cool a few times each season. One of those times was Monday, when he worked the boys hard in practice after a rough outing against Wisconsin. The Gophers head to Notre Dame in second place, looking to get their groove back vs. defensive-minded Irish.
A 5-foot-9, 155-pound center from San Jose, Reese Laubach called his commitment to Minnesota State "a dream come true."
Seemingly everything that could have gone wrong for the Minnesota Gophers went wrong on Saturday, in their most lopsided loss of the season. Dylan Holloway had a goal and five assists for the Wisconsin Badgers, which took over first place in the Big Ten with an 8-1 win in Minneapolis.
Dryden McKay made 20 saves and Reggie Lutz scored twice to lead Minnesota State to a 5-1 victory Saturday and a sweep against rival Bowling Green State at Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center.
The BIg Ten rivals conclude their series Saturday night.
Nine players recorded at least one point and Dryden McKay stopped every shot he faced as No. 4/6-ranked Minnesota State shut out rival Bowling Green in the opener of a two-game series at Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center in Mankato.
Wisconsin blew open a tie game in the later stages of the third period with a trio of goals, handing Minnesota its fourth loss of the season and pulling within one win of overtaking the Gophers atop the Big Ten standings on Friday night in Minneapolis.
The teams split a series last month in Madison as the Badgers stopped Minnesota's 10-game winning streak to start the season.
Even with a pandemic, the unofficial state holiday known as Hockey Day Minnesota will still happen in 2021, with an adjusted and reduced schedule of events. Also: One of the Gophers' Big Ten rivals is taking an unplanned paused, and Gophers hockey TV ratings are through the roof.
Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center won't be packed this weekend, but that doesn't mean the intensity on the ice will be any less than it has historically been when Minnesota State and Bowling Green go head to head.
Max Johnson, Taylor Schneider and Garrett Daly all played at least one year of varsity hockey together at Lakeville North. Ryan Edquist and Jack McNeely were part of that group, too. Those five guys will be on the same ice again this weekend, with Johnson, Schneider and Daly's Bowling Green Falcons coming to Mankato to face Edquist and McNeely's Minnesota State Mavericks.
Cole Caufield is leading the Big Ten offensively and draws plenty of notice from fans and opponents whenever he steps on the ice for the Wisconsin Badgers. The Badgers travel to play at Minnesota this weekend with a chance to take over 1st place in the conference, and their coach hopes the attention paid to Caufield frees up some other sources of offense.
Rivalries in the WCHA don't get much better than the one on tap this weekend when Bowling Green visits Minnesota State Uniersity, Mankato. The teams have played 11 series over the past seven years. Eight of them have resulted in splits.
Dryden McKay began his junior hockey career at 16 years old. He was cut, traded, and played for four different teams in four seasons. He committed to Division I Holy Cross as an 18-year-old, then realized that a better fit might exist for him athletically and academically. He committed to Minnesota State a year later and has been a perfect fit with the Mavericks.
Minnesota State University junior goalie Dryden McKay and sophomore forwards Nathan Smith and Cade Borchardt are among 50 Division I college hockey players listed on the initial ballot for the 2021 Hobey Baker Award.
Minnesota finishes up its two-game series in Columbus.
Minnesota State University outshot Bemidji State more than 3-to-1, but the Mavericks played without their entire top line and its senior captain and struggled to find offense, losing for the second time this season.