Series Preview: St. Cloud State

The Gophers look to regain control in the WCHA as they take on the conference leaders, the St. Cloud State Huskies. Minnesota will travel to the National Hockey Center for a crucial two-game series.

St. Cloud State (17-10-1 overall, 14-5-1 WCHA) vs. Minnesota (18-4-4 overall, 10-4-4 WCHA)
St. Cloud, Minnesota – National Hockey Center
Friday 7:30 p.m. CT – FOX Sports North PLUS
Saturday 7:00 p.m. CT – FOX Sports North PLUS

PREGAME NOTES

Storyline
The No. 1 Gophers enter another series with a ranked opponent as they take on the No. 8 Huskies in St. Cloud. The Huskies currently are in the lead of the WCHA standings but Minnesota has two games in-hand on their rival. With just a few weeks left in the season, the race for the MacNaughton Cup will be heated at the National Hockey Center.

Season to Date
The Huskies (17-10-1 overall, 14-5-1 WCHA) hold a number of impressive wins on the year. They earned an early sweep of Minnesota State, a sweep of Colorado College and splits with Duluth, North Dakota, and Nebraska Omaha. St. Cloud is 5-0-1 in their last six games after a three-point weekend in Grand Forks (N.D.) and sweeps against Denver and Bemidji State.

Coaching Preview
Bob Motzko is in his eighth season leading the Huskies and has amassed a 154-119-35 overall record and is 104-84-28 in the WCHA. His accolades include back-to-back WCHA Coach of the Year honors in 2006 and 2007. He has also led the Huskies to the NCAA tournament in 2007, 2008, and 2010.

Last Meeting
The Gophers earned a home-and-home sweep of St. Cloud last January. Ben Marshall, Erik Haula, and Sam Warning scored to give complete the sweep at the National Hockey Center despite two goals from Ben Hanowski.

Series History
The Gophers are 51-27-12 all-time against the Huskies but are just 17-14-6 when playing in St. Cloud.

Players to Watch
Drew LeBlanc – LeBlanc, who hails from Hermantown (Minn.), is having an All-American season. He currently leads the nation with an incredible 30 assists. His 38 points on the year is good for second in all of college hockey.

Ben Hanowski – Little Falls (Minn.) native Ben Hanowski is without a doubt one of the most dangerous scorers in the WCHA. Playing in just 23 games this year, his numbers are a bit down from last season but he has still tallied 12 goals and 10 assists.

Background
Location: St. Cloud, Minnesota
Enrollment: 17,231
Conference: WCHA
Mascot: Huskies
Colors: Cardinal Red and Black
Coach: Bob Motzko (8th Season)


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