Gophers head to Colorado Springs for decisive conference series

The Minnesota menâÄôs hockey team is facing a crucial weekend of conference play. With just one point between Minnesota and Colorado College in the Western Collegiate Hockey Conference, the Gophers will head to Colorado Springs this weekend for a two-game series. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:37 tonight and 8:07 p.m. Saturday. But that one point is more than just a spot in the standings. Minnesota is currently in sixth place in the conference, which means that this one point is also in the way of home ice advantage in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. But wins for either of the teams won’t secure all that much this weekend as just 10 points separates the ninth and first place team. “This is the tightest race I’ve seen, and I’ve been here 10 years,” Colorado College coach Scott Owens told the Star Tribune. “It’s not just at the top [of the conference], but there in the middle.” The Gophers split the series with the Tigers earlier this season, taking the first game 4-1 before dropping game two, 1-0. Things have certainly changed since that time however. Minnesota was ranked No. 2 in the country at the time while Colorado College held the No. 10 spot in the nation. The Gophers have since dropped to No. 14 and are coming off of its first win in almost a month. The Tigers have also fell in the polls as they are currently ranked No. 18 in the latest USCHO poll and are coming off of an exhibition loss to the US Under-18 team. The Gophers though are confident that they can come away this weekend with two much needed wins. “I think we feel pretty good about ourselves,” he said. “When we’re playing well, we feel like we’re tough to beat.” But as Minnesota hits the road, coach Don Lucia was overall pleased with the position that his team was in after last weekendâÄôs win over Alaska Anchorage. âÄúAs always, we control our destiny,âÄù Lucia said last Saturday. âÄúWe gotta win games.âÄù