WHAT: The University of Minnesota men's hockey team begins the second half of its WCHA schedule this weekend with a two-game series at No. 5 Colorado College on Friday-Saturday, Jan. 9-10, in Colorado Springs. Friday's face-off is scheduled for 8:35 p.m., while Saturday's tilt begins at 8:05 p.m. (Central time). Both games will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net North and KCCO 950 AM.
ABOUT THE TEAMS: The 13th-ranked Golden Gophers (9-8-3, 4-7-1 WCHA) are unbeaten in nine of their last 10 games, and will be playing in their first conference games since a series at Alaska Anchorage on Dec. 5-6. Fifth-ranked Colorado College (11-4-3, 4-4-2), meanwhile, is 1-3-2 in its last six WCHA games.
THE SERIES VS. COLORADO COLLEGE: The Golden Gophers hold a 145-75-7 (.654) all-time record against the Tigers in a series dating back to 1947. Minnesota is 5-4-1 in the last 10 meetings, including a 4-2 win last year in the title game of the 2003 WCHA Final Five in St. Paul, Minn. UM went 2-2-1 vs. CC last season, losing and tying at home in November, and losing and winning in Colorado Springs. Minnesota is 51-50-5 (.505) in games played in Colorado. The Maroon and Gold has not swept CC on the road since Jan. 24-25, 1992. Neither team has posted a sweep, home or away, since UM won 6-1 and 4-1 in Minneapolis on Feb. 16-17, 2001. In 11 meetings over the last three seasons, Minnesota has averaged 4.0 goals a game, while the Tigers have averaged 3.7 goals per contest.
THE X-FACTOR: Or should we say the V-factor, as in Thomas Vanek factor. Vanek is back with the team after playing with Austria in the World Junior Championships recently. Vanek has 22 points in 18 games.
• Minnesota is 7-2-1 in its last 10 games, 2-0-2 in last four
• Minnesota is 3-4 against ranked opponents this season
• Coloardo College is 9-2 at home this season
• Troy Riddle has scored a point in eight consecutive games
HOMECOMING FOR BRIGGS: Minnesota goaltender Kellen Briggs is a native of Colorado Springs, home of Colorado College. Briggs is the first non-Minnesota goaltender for UM since California native John Blue played in 1986-87.
DID YOU KNOW?: Minnesota head coach Don Lucia tallied a 168-68-18 record in six seasons as head coach of the Tigers. He is tied for most wins in CC history with former Wisconsin head coach Jeff Sauer. Lucia is 10-6-1 against CC since taking over as head coach of the Gophers.
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