Men’s hockey pre-game: Minnesota vs. Denver

by Max Sanders

For the second straight Friday Minnesota was shut-out, this time against No. 4 Denver. Behind 30 saves from junior Marc Cheverie, the Pioneers cruised past the Gophers 3-0.

The shut-out by Cheverie was his second in a row against Minnesota. The Pioneers goalie shut the Gophers out the last time the two team’s met last season in a 4-0 Denver win on Nov. 22.

Minnesota head coach Don Lucia did not make quite as many lineup changes as he did last weekend before the second game against North Dakota, but there are some notable adjustments and key absences in the Gophers lineup. 

Minnesota First Line:

Left Wing-Mike Hoeffel

Center-Jordan Schroeder

Right Wing-Patrick White

Lucia clearly has yet to decide the line or position of his top player, Jordan Schroeder. The sophomore played last night at the left wing position and the Gophers did not generate any momentum or production from any of their forwards, Schroder included. Lucia decided to put Schroeder back in his natural position to try and generate some scoring. A key absence from tonight’s game is Schroeder’s linemate, Jay Barriball. Barriball entered this weekend with 99 career points, but finds himself among the "extra players" section of tonight’s lineup.

Freshman Zach Budish has played his way into the second line. Lucia raved about Budish’s play after last night’s game, so he earns a spot at the right wing of the Lucia-Carman second line.

The third line consists of Hansen-Matson-Sachetti.

Senior captain Ryan Flynn has been moved from the second to fourth line, where he joins Nick Larson and Josh Birkholz.


Minnesota Defensive First Line:

Left-Nick Leddy

Right-David Fischer

While the Gophers have started the year 0-2-1, defense has not been the problem. Leddy and Fischer have provided solid defensive effort, as have the other four defensemen, and Lucia has not made much alterations to his defensive unit all season.


Second defensive line: Fairchild-Ness

Third defensive line: Helgeson-Wehrs


Kent Patterson

Lucia talked earlier in the week of a Kangas-Patterson weekend split, so this comes as no surprise. However, Kangas was shaky all night last night, and Patterson is coming off an extremely solid effort last weekend against North Dakota. If Patterson performs simliarly to last weekend’s 31 save effort, he could make a strong case to supplant Kangas as the team’s No. 1 option between the net.


Denver First Line:

Left Wing-Rhett Rakhshani

Center-Tyler Ruegsegger

Right-Anthony Mainani


No change at all to coach George Gwozdecky’s lineup. After a solid team effort including two goals from team captain Rakhshani the Pioneers enter tonight’s contest looking for the fourth win on the year and second Western Collegiate Hockey Association victory.


Denver Defensive First Line:

Left-Patrick Wiercioch

Right-William Wrenn


Marc Cheverie

In the first two series of the year, Denver has split goalies in each game. However, after his second consecutive shut-out against Minnesota in a 30 save effort, Cheverie earned tonight’s start. The goalie blocked every effort last night made by the Gophers, and will look to put forward a third-consecutive solid effort against Minnesota tonight.


Last night’s scores from around the WCHA Conference:

No. 18 Minnesota Duluth 3, St. Cloud State 3: Final/OT

No. 17 Wisconsin 6, Minnesota State 0: Final

No. 2 North Dakota 5, Alaska-Anchorage 0: Final

No. 19 Colorado College 4, Michigan Tech 1: Final