Players to Watch: SCSU

The rivalry that pits the Gophers against the Huskies is a bitter one. Both teams boast some of the most talented players in the nation. Let's take a look at a player from each squad who could become a difference-maker in this heated series.

Gopher freshman center Erik Haula has wasted no time making a splash for Minnesota. The Shattuck-St. Mary product who originally hails from Finland has made an immediate impact on the Gophers' first-line offensive attack. In four games he has a goal to go with five assists for six points, second on the team.

He is also shown to be a solid player when taking the faceoff. His 45 wins and 44 losses for 50.5% is the highest on the team among players who have taken at least 10 faceoffs. This skill is essential to running an effective powerplay in the opponents' end of clearing the puck on a penalty kill.

Other facets of Haula's game are equally impressive. He is a kid who shows great speed and hustles all the time. Haula is a great passer who always looks for the open man. He also plays with a toughness that shines through after the play around the net where he will protect his teammates and his goalie. Haula's game is made for a breakout series against St. Cloud.

The Huskies have one of the most talented players in the conference in senior forward Garrett Roe. Roe has had three great campaigns with the Huskies.

He has tallied 45, 48 and 49 points in his past three seasons. Last year he scored an impressive 20 goals to go with his 29 assists. Roe has also been a thorn in the side of the Gophers throughout his career.

In 11 games against Minnesota he has seven goals and four assists for 11 points. Roe is off to a relatively slow start this year, tallying only three assists. This lack of scoring coupled with the Gophers versus Huskies rivalry should bring out the best of Roe.

At just 5-foot-9, Roe is not the biggest player on the ice but plays with an edge that is hard to match. He is a quick, scrappy player who can find ways to put the puck away. The Gophers will need to keep Roe in check if they want to come away with a conference win this weekend.

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