Top line continues to shine for Minnesota

The Minnesota menâÄôs hockey team skated to another three points again this weekend, but there was one Gophers line whose offensive presence was standout. MinnesotaâÄôs top line of Ryan Stoa, Jay Barriball and Jordan Schroeder combined for 12 points this weekend, more than 60 percent of MinnesotaâÄôs total offensive production. âÄúTheyâÄôve had a good year,âÄù Gophers head coach Don Lucia said. âÄúObviously, theyâÄôve had a big impact every game from an offensive standpoint.âÄù Stoa has also been a leader when playing shorthanded this season. Although he was not able to capitalize on shorthanded opportunities this weekend, he has two shorthanded goals so far this season. A strong penalty-killing unit, of which Stoa was a strong presence, kept Minnesota in the game both Saturday and Sunday. Minnesota spent 38 minutes on the penalty kill this weekend, and SundayâÄôs game against Michigan Tech tested the Gophers defense down to the last minute of play. A slashing penalty by R .J. Anderson saw the Gophers skating with a two-man disadvantage for the remaining 56 seconds of the game. Schroeder was also a force in the faceoff circle this weekend, winning 18 faceoffs between Saturday and Sunday. The ability to win faceoffs gave the team a foothold Saturday in a game where Lucia said Minnesota was not in control. To recognize the importance of faceoffs this weekend, one need only look at the final two seconds of overtime Saturday, where Michigan Tech drew a faceoff near the Minnesota goal. Malcom Gwilliam was able to get control of the puck and tally a shot on goal before the buzzer sounded, making a final push toward a win. Stoa said SchroederâÄôs laidback personality helps bring the team together. âÄúHeâÄôs a character,âÄù Stoa said. âÄúHeâÄôs always got a smile on his face. He makes the game fun.âÄù