Hockey Preview: MSU

The Gophers enter this weekend following two games of very inconsistent play. Last Friday the Gophers got dominated by the Michigan State Spartans by a score of 2-5 but rallied on Sunday to take down 8th ranked Michigan. Minnesota will need to build on their solid game against Michigan to have a good chance this weekend in Mankato against the Mavericks.

Minnesota has been one of the most inconsistent teams in the conference so far this season. One night they will give up three quick goals in the first period and the next night they will shut their opponent down with stifling defense and top-notch goaltending.

The key to many of the Gophers' wins have come because of a high-scoring offensive attack. If they want to get the sweep this weekend, they will need to be strong on the defensive end.

Defensemen Aaron Ness has been the best player on the point this season and will look to continue this trend this weekend.

Last week, sophomore blueliner Seth Helgeson had a rough night against the Spartans but turned his game around to be a force on Sunday evening. Look for Ness and Helgeson to continue their strong play on the defensive end to limit the Mavericks' scoring chances.

If the Gophers can hold Mankato under three goals, they will have a good chance of skating away with a win.

The Mavericks of Mankato have had a rough start to their season. Entering this weekend, the team has a record 4-6-4. Despite the poor record, don't expect the Gophers to steamroll the Mavericks.

Over the past six games between the interstate rivals, the Mavericks hold a record of 3-2-1 over the Gophers.

One player who has extra fuel for this game will be former Gopher and current Maverick, Michael Dorr.

Dorr played in only two games for the Maroon and Gold during the 2008-2009 season before transferring to Mankato but has become a solid contributor since. This year he has three goals and six assists for nine points, tied for third on the team.

The Mavericks won't have any trouble finding motivation to play the Gophers which should make for an intense weekend in Mankato.

The Gophers should be able to build off their strong performance against Michigan and gain the sweep against Mankato. Look for a 4-1 victory on Friday and a closer game of 3-2 on Saturday.

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