Pregame: Gophers hockey vs. Colorado College (Friday, WCHA Final Five)

by Drew Claussen

No. 1 Gophers vs. Colorado College 
7 p.m.
Xcel Energy Center 
TV: FSN Radio: ESPN 1500 AM

Minnesota lines
Kyle Rau – Nick Bjugstad – Christian Isackson
Sam Warning – Erik Haula – Zach Budish 
A.J. Michaelson – Nate Condon – Justin Holl
Tom Serratore – Travis Boyd – Seth Ambroz

Jake Parenteau – Nate Schmidt
Seth Helgeson – Ben Mashall
Mike Reilly – Mark Alt 

Adam Wilcox 
Michael Shibrowski 
Ryan Coyne 

Colorado College lines 
Alexander Krushelnyski – Rylan Schwartz – Charlie Taft
Archie Skalbeck – Scott Winkler – William Rapuzzi
Hunter Fejes – Jordan DiGiando – Andrew Hamburg
Peter Maric – Jeff Collett – Jared Hanson 

Peter Stoykewych – Mike Bovin
Aaron Harstad – Eamonn McDermott
Ian Young – Joe Marciano 

Joe Howe 
Josh Thorimbert 


March madness has unfolded in a big way so far in the WCHA Final Five. The rematch that many wanted to see between North Dakota and Minnesota was dashed when Colorado College defeated UND in overtime on Thursday night. Wisconsin seems to be catching fire at the right time, the Badgers trounced Minnesota State-Mankato 7-2 on Thursday and defeated top-seeded St. Cloud State 4-1 today. Wisconsin will be making its first appearance in the tournament's title game since 2000. 

It'll be interesting to see how the crowd is at the Xcel Energy Center tonight. The contest is basically a home game for the Gophers, but odds are there will be a lot of North Dakota fans, who will more than likely be cheering against Minnesota, in attendance as well. 

Sam Warning is scheduled to make his return to the Gophers' lineup after sitting out last weekend's series with Bemidji State because of an unspecified injury. 

With Warning back, Don Lucia has juggled his lines yet again. Of note it that fact that Brady Skjei is scratched. Nate Condon is the center of the third line with A.J. Michaelson and Justin Holl. Both Holl and Michaelson have stepped their games up as of late. 

This is Minnesota's 18th appearance at the Final Five. Minnesota has 14 WCHA playoff titles, with a win this year the Gophers can tie Denver for most titles in league history. 

The winner of tonight's game will play Wisconsin tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the championship game. 

Minnesota will get the Colorado College's best effort tonight, the Tigers need the automatic bid given to the winner of the conference tournament to make this year's NCAA tournament. If Minnesota does win, it will face a similar situation with bubble-team Wisconsin tomorrow too.