Gophers preparing for a tough nonconference weekend

The last time the Minnesota womenâÄôs hockey team faced this weekendâÄôs opponent, the Gophers won their second straight NCAA national championship. That was in 2005. Minnesota beat Harvard 4-3 in that game to take home the trophy . The No. 2 Gophers (11-2-1 overall, 10-1-1-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association ) are set to host No. 9 Harvard (4-2-2, 4-2-2 Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference ) at 6:07p.m. Friday night and 4:07 p.m. Saturday. Harvard is the last ranked non-conference series the Gophers have; the next and last non-conference series comes in early January when the Gophers travel to Niagara University. Since it has been three years since the Gophers have faced off against the Crimson, preparing for the games will be a bit different. Senior captain Gigi Marvin said the Gophers donâÄôt know a lot about Harvard because they arenâÄôt in the WCHA. Head coach Brad Frost said the biggest difference in trying to prepare for non-conference games rather than a conference matchup is the fact that Minnesota just doesnâÄôt know much about the opposition. âÄúWe donâÄôt have a lot of video to watch, so normally we would,âÄù Frost said. âÄúI coached with [Harvard head coach] Katey [Stone] and know how her team plays regardless of personnel and they play a very fast game and are very offensive and work very hard on both ends of the rink.âÄù Thanksgiving wonâÄôt get in the way of the GophersâÄô preparations for the weekendâÄôs games. Minnesota will skate at 9 a.m. to allow players to go home or go to teammatesâÄô homes. âÄúItâÄôs just important for them to get home with their families or other playersâÄô families and to have a nice day with the people that are important to them,âÄù Frost said. First-year Kelly Seele r said the Gophers knew what the schedule was like this week and started getting ready to go early on. âÄúYou just get prepared earlier in the week and start from Monday,âÄù she said. âÄúSo we were more focused this week than any other week because we have that day off.âÄù Part of that preparation is meshing with the new lines. Frost drastically changed up his lines last weekend to spark his offense and he said the lines will be juggled for the upcoming series. Seeler said the lines are meshing well with one another even though they are never permanent. âÄúWe are working hard in practice, realizing what we need to work on for the weekend,âÄù Seeler said. âÄúHarvard is a very good team. I think we have what it takes to come out with two wins.âÄù