Hockey team thinks win streak vs. MTU

Michael Rand

On November 11, 1995, the Gophers hockey team lost to Denver 6-4 at Mariucci Arena. Little did Minnesota know that it would be Feb. 2 until it lost again.
What came between the two losses was 18 wins and a tie.
Although it’s unlikely the Gophers will embark on such a streak this season, some players have thought about how nice it would be to have another run like the one which began nearly a year ago.
“It’s something I’ve thought about a little bit,” sophomore Mike Anderson said. “I would love to get on a roll right now. We keep playing better with each game.”
Minnesota has a modest three-game winning streak after claiming the last game of the Wisconsin series two weeks ago and sweeping North Dakota last weekend.
According to senior Dan Hendrickson, the secret to keeping the Gophers on the winning track is pretty basic.
“I don’t think you can really plan a streak,” he said. “You just have to take things day by day, period by period, shift by shift. You don’t look at it by the next ten games. Things start rolling and one thing leads to another.”
Players aren’t necessarily conscious that they’ve strung together a series of wins, Hendrickson said, but they are aware they’re playing well.
“It’s fun to be at the rink and it’s exciting,” he said. “Things are a little more easy-going.”
Most players don’t realize what they’ve accomplished until it’s over.
“After you get over ten games you read about it in the papers or hear people talking about it,” Hendrickson said. “Until it’s finally over, you don’t really sit back and realize what kind of streak you put together.”
If the Gophers are to continue their recent winning ways, they will have to do it against a dangerous Michigan Tech team. Minnesota is 3-2-1 in its last six regular-season matchups with the Huskies.
Recent history suggests Saturday afternoon’s game will be close and Sunday’s will be a blowout. None of the last six series openers between the teams has been decided by less than two goals. The average difference in the finale of those series is four goals.
The Huskies may have an advantage at the goalie position this weekend — something that cannot normally be said about a Gophers opponent.
Michigan Tech’s Luciano Caravaggio has started five games, going 4-1 with 2.33 goals against average. He has split time with David Weninger, who has a 1-3 record but a respectable 3.30 goals-against average.
On the other hand, Steve DeBus, who has started all eight of Minnesota’s games so far, has inflammation in his left rotator cuff and may miss this weekend’s series. Gophers trainer Bob Broxterman said DeBus is day-to-day and will be re-evaluated before Saturday’s game.
Minnesota’s No. 2 goalie, Erik Day, is also nursing a sprained knee, which he sustained Monday in practice. Day skated in sweat pants on Thursday and is expected to be back in the net for today’s practice.
If neither goalie can play, third-stringer Willie Marvin, a redshirt freshman, will get the nod. Neither Day nor Marvin has ever started a game for the Gophers.
“I’m looking forward to the possibility of playing,” Marvin said.
Slap shots
ù Nick Checco and Casey Hankinson were not injured in a car accident Wednesday morning, as was reported in Thursday’s Minnesota Daily. The players, along with Tom Nevers, played a practical joke at the Daily’s expense.
However, Checco has been bothered by an ankle injury. He is listed as probable for this weekend’s series.
ù The Gophers are expected to announce today the formal signing of Apple Valley center Erik Westrum, Duluth East defenseman Dylan Mills, Rochester Mayo forward Matt Leimbeck and former Grand Rapids center Aaron Miskovich (most recently of the USHL’s Green Bay franchise).
NCAA rules prohibit Gophers coaches from commenting on the players until they’ve officially signed.