Minnesota-Michigan Tech men's hockey preview

Things can get a little better this weekend or they can get a lot worse for the Gophers men's hockey team. Last place Michigan Tech is in town for two games. Read more about the series and find out what Goldensports.Net predicts will happen.

The Gophers hockey team is off to a rough start, but this weekend is a "golden" opportunity to get two wins and try and salvage the season when the Gophers take on Michigan Tech Friday and Saturday at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis.

Here is how the series breaks down:

Date: Friday-Saturday, Nov. 21-22, 2003

Location: Minneapolis, Minn. - Mariucci Arena (10,000)

Time:7:05 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Net (Friday only) Frank Mazzocco (play-by-play)/Doug Woog (analysts)

Radio: WCCO 830 AM (Friday) KCCO 950 AM (Saturday Wally Shaver (play-by-play), Glen Sonmor (analyst)

Records:

MINNESOTA (2-7-1, 1-6-1 WCHA)

MICHIGAN TECH (2-5-3, 0-4-2 WCHA)

WEEKEND STORYLINES

• MN: Worst 10-game start since 1971-72

• MN: Five-game winless streak

• MN: 5-0-1 vs. MTU in 2002-03

• MTU: Nation's top two scorers - Conner & Murphy

About the Michigan Tech Huskies

Under first-year head coach Jamie Russell, Michigan Tech looks to improve upon its ninth-place finish in the WCHA last season. The Huskies hold a 2-5-3 overall record this year with a 0-4-2 mark in the conference.

MTU is currently riding a five-game winless streak. Three weeks ago, the Huskies stayed close to league-leader St. Cloud State, tying 3-3 and losing 6-5. Michigan Tech is led by the nation's top two scorers in Chris Conner (12-6--18) and Colin Murphy (8-10-18). MTU is the only WCHA team to have at least four players with at least 10 points - Conner, Murphy, Taggart Desmet (4-7-11) and Jon Pittis (1-9-10).

Goaltending duties are split between freshman Bryce Luker (1-4-2, 4.10 gaa, .872 sv%) and junior Cam Ellsworth (1-1-1, 4.48, .853).

About the Minnesota Gophers

Minnesota's 2-7-1 start is its worst 10-game beginning to a season since going 2-8-0 to open the 1971-72 campaign. The 1971-72 team wound up posting an 8-24-0 overall record. In the past three seasons, the Golden Gophers began the year 7-1-2, 9-0-1 and 5-3-2 from 2000-02.

NOTES

Minnesota is in the midst of a five-game winless streak – its first slump of that length since losing two games to end the 1998-99 season and going 0-3-1 to open the 1999-2000 campaign.

GoldenSports.Net Prediction

Are the Gophers just in a slump or plain bad? The gut feeling is they are a good team playing bad. But Tech might just be what the doctor ordered. If this team is to salvage anything on the season they must win two games this weekend – no ties, no split, just wins baby! The feeling here is the Gophers keep the hopes alive, sweeping Tech, winning 5-3 Friday and 4-3 Saturday – finally holding on to a lead.

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