Men's hockey vs. Boston U preview

Minnesota is back in the national rankings, while BU is finally healthy. That's why this weekend's series at Mariucci Arena between two college hockey powerhouses should be a dandy. Read more to find out how the series breaks down and what to expect.

WHAT:Minnesota vs. Boston University

WHEN:Friday and Saturday at Mariucci Arena, 7:05 p.m. both nights.

TV/RADIO:Both games televised on Fox Sports Net North. Friday's game will be broadcast on KCCO 950 AM, while Saturday's will be on WCCO 830 AM.

ABOUT THE TEAMS

Both the Golden Gophers (9-8-1, 4-7-1 WCHA) and Terriers (5-5-4, 2-4-2 Hockey East) are returning to action following their breaks for the holidays. BU has not played since Dec. 13, while Minnesota's last game was on Dec. 21. The Maroon and Gold, winners of seven of their last eight, re-entered the national rankings this week at No. 15 in the USA Today poll and No. 14 in the USCHO poll.

MINNESOTA AGAINST BU

The Terriers hold an 11-10-0 (.524) all-time record vs. Minnesota in a series dating back to 1963. The teams have not met since March 30, 1995, when BU downed the Golden Gophers, 7-3, in the national semifinals in Providence, R.I. The Terriers currently hold a four-game winning streak vs. Minnesota. The Maroon and Gold's last win in the series came 16 years ago to the day, in a 5-3 victory on Jan. 2, 1988. The Terriers are 6-4-0 in the last 10 games vs. UM. Minnesota is 4-2-0 all-time at home vs. BU.

SERIES FACTS/TIDBITS

• Minnesota has won seven of its last eight games • Minnesota is 5-1 against non-WCHA teams this year • Minnesota is nationally ranked for the first time since Nov. 3 • BU has no winning streak during the 2003-04 season

MINNESOTA NOTES

The Gophers will play without leading scorer Thomas Vanek, who is in Finland competing in the world junior championships for his home country of Austria. The Gophers have 10 players who have scored at least 10 points, including Troy Riddle (10-10-20), Matt Koalska (5-13-18), Gino Guyer (7-7-14) and Tyler Hirsch (3-11-14). Vanek leads the team with 22 points on 12 goals and 10 assists.

Kellen Briggs will likely start in goal for Minnesota. Briggs has a 2.73 goals against average this season. Backup Justin Johnson shut out Princeton in the Dodge Holiday Classic in his last action.

BOSTON U NOTES

Every year there is a team that is affected by injury problems. Case in point, Boston U. The Terriers, however, are healthy for the first time all season, and that is a dangerous thing. Head coach Jack Parker's 685 career victories are the most all-time of any active coach in college hockey. Parker has coached the Terriers to two NCAA titles, five Hockey East titles, four ECAC titles and 18 Beanpot Titles. In other words, BU is a heavyweight in the world of college hockey.

Parker, who has coached 30-plus seasons, is featured in College Sports Television in its next installment of Coach, airing Friday at 7 pm Eastern time, 4 pm Pacific Time.

The coach series delivers in-depth perspective on college sports' legendary coaches as provided by the former student-athletes, who were their star pupils. Coach explores the special bonds great coaches develop with their players, and how the lessons learned by the players endure long after their playing days are over.

Leading Boston offensively are Roseau native Dave Klema, who has 11 points (2 goals, nine assists), and Kenny Roche (4-6-10). Senior Sean Fields is the Terriers' likely starter between the pipes. Fields has a 2.81 GAA.

COMING HOME

In addition to Klema, two other Terriers have Minnesota roots. Adam Dunlap is a sophomore defenseman from Minnetonka who played at Breck. Thomas Morrow is a freshman from Afton who played at Hill Murray High School.

THIS WEEKEND AROUND THE WCHA

Friday

UND at SCSU

Wisconsin at MSU-Mankato

Bowling Green at UMD

St. Lawrence at Denver

Wayne State at Colorado College Saturday

UND at SCSU

Wisconsin at MSU-Mankato

Bowling Green at UMD

St. Lawrence at Denver

Wayne State at Colorado College

Gopher Illustrated Top Stories