Minnesota shows off some offensive firepower

Tentacle Boy

Paul Bangasser

Tentacle Boy

Minnesota menâÄôs hockey fans received the best of both worlds this weekend during the Gophers two-game series with Minnesota State. Friday night saw an all too familiar 3-3 overtime tie between the two teams that played three straight overtime games in last yearâÄôs Western Collegiate Hockey Association Playoff Series. Saturday night in MinnesotaâÄôs 6-3 win, fans caught a glimpse of the offensive firepower this team traditionally has but that was missing for nearly all of last season. Adding freshman forward Jordan Schroeder to the roster has helped bring some of that scoring back âÄì the center picked up his first two career goals Saturday night after notching his sixth assist of the season Friday. âÄúItâÄôs kind of a relief, the past couple game IâÄôve had some chances,âÄù Schroeder said of his first two goals for Minnesota. âÄúIt was a team effort [Saturday]. I canâÄôt really take all the credit for the goals cause they made some nice plays to set me up.âÄù With junior forwards Ryan Stoa and Jay Barriball around Schroeder on the Gophers top-line, the trio accounted for 12 points this weekend for Minnesota. âÄúYou could see that line has really good chemistry,âÄù Lucia said, adding that he pegged Stoa and Schroeder on the lineup already last summer. âÄúYouâÄôve got the left wing thatâÄôs big and strong and obviously Jordan has great vision and heâÄôs a special player,âÄù Lucia said. âÄúThey find each other and theyâÄôre both unselfish.âÄù Showcase feedback SaturdayâÄôs first-ever WCHA Minnesota College Hockey Showcase was organized to promote hockey in the land of 10,000 lakes. Apparently, the state has many lakes as it does hockey fans âÄì only 10,495 came out to watch the two games on Saturday. Minnesota-Duluth handled St. Cloud State 5-1 in an afternoon game at the X. After the event, Lucia had some suggestions should the event be held again. âÄúWhen you look at it now, itâÄôs the end of October. Probably for a lot of people, itâÄôs not hockey season yet,âÄù Lucia said. The tenth-year Gophers coach also brought up adding the event to each teamâÄôs season ticket packages. âÄúI donâÄôt think thereâÄôs any reason why, with the four teams that are in it, we shouldnâÄôt be able to fill the building.âÄù âÄúThe bottom line is when you do an event like this, you want to see the building full.âÄù Special teams update A night after going just 1-for-11 on the advantage, Minnesota rebounded strongly and converted four of its eight chances Saturday night. âÄúThe power play was huge [Saturday],âÄù sophomore defenseman Cade Fairchild, who added four assists Saturday, said. âÄúWhen that thing is clicking, itâÄôs going to be a tough one to stop.âÄù The penalty kill was again dominant for the Gophers, who allowed only one goal in 15 opportunities for the Mavericks including killing off all eight chances Saturday.