Two of the Gophers’ top forwards watched last weekend’s games against Colgate at a McDonald’s in Canada.
Kelly Terry and Sarah Davis had left the team over the weekend for the Canadian national camp, but they have returned and will play in this weekend’s series against St. Cloud State.
Head coach Brad Frost said the Gophers will switch up their lines because the duo will be “within the top two lines.”
Terry said the pair talked about how excited they were to get back. They had to go across the street from the hotel to get an Internet connection.
“We were going to do whatever it [took] to watch our team,” Terry said. “We were definitely disappointed that we couldn’t be there with the girls, but we had a bunch of messages and texts after the game, so we felt like we were a part of it.”
This week, they will be.
Davis and Terry had 34 and 30 points last season, respectively, and they will be expected to aid an already strong offense.
The Gophers outscored Colgate last weekend 18-0.
St. Cloud State, their first WCHA opponent, allowed 5.36 goals per game last year, worst in the league.
The Gophers went 6-0 against the Huskies last year and outscored them 41-2.
But junior captain Bethany Brausen said she thought the Huskies had improved in all facets of the game, based on the recruits they brought in.
She said Minnesota will use the confidence it gained last weekend entering conference play to try and build on that performance.
Frost said that the team had only five practices before its first game.
“Now it’s just a matter of continuing to develop those strategies a little more and [getting] everybody a little more comfortable as we get going throughout the year,” Frost said.
Brausen said the team is “fine-tuning” this week.
“[We’re] making sure that we’re forcing the other team to do things they don’t want to be doing — making bad passes, forcing bad shots,” she said.
The Huskies are the Minnesota’s first conference opponent of the year; Colgate plays in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Frost said that the biggest difference between the conferences is the familiarity the teams have with each other because of how often they play.
“They always play us extremely tough,” Frost said. “They’re a fast team [and] they’re very physical.”
The series is St. Cloud State’s first of the year, which Brausen said might help the Huskies turn their “nervous energy into excitement.”
But the Gophers have game experience this season, which is especially important for the freshmen, who Brausen said stepped up last game and played with a lot of confidence.
Freshman forward Hannah Brandt led the Gophers with five goals and four assists in the first two games.
Frost said that with Davis and Terry back, some of the freshmen wouldn’t play as much.
“We’ll have to see just how the game plays out before we determine how much ice they’re going to get,” Frost said.
Last weekend, senior Noora RÃ¤ty and freshman Amanda Leveille split time in goal, recording one shutout each. Frost said he hasn’t decided whether they will split time again this weekend.
Minnesota will raise its 2011-12 national championship banner before Friday’s game.