A matchup of top-five teams is on deck as the No. 4 Gopher men’s hockey program closes out the first half at No. 5 Michigan this week in Ann Arbor. The 100th season of Gopher Hockey continues on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 7:00 p.m. CT before the series concludes on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 5:30 p.m. CT.
REEDY TO GO
Senior Scott Reedy leads Minnesota with seven points and five goals this season while the forward is one goal off the NCAA lead this year. The San Jose Sharks prospect leads the nation with three game-winning goals (Reedy has contributed to the deciding goal four times this year) and has found the net in five of Minnesota’s six games this season. The senior is coming off back-to-back multi-point games with a goal and an assist in both wins at Michigan State last week.
LAFF-ING ALL THE WAY
The national Goaltender of the Month for November, Jack LaFontaine improved to 6-0-0 on the season and extended his winning streak to eight-straight games after guiding Minnesota to its third-straight Big Ten sweep last week at Michigan State. The first goalie in the nation to win six games this year, the senior ranks first in the nation in save percentage (.956) and GAA (1.17) among NCAA goalies with more than two starts this year. The alternate captain has started 14-straight games and has allowed two goals or fewer in each of his last 11 starts.
IT’S CALLED A WINNING STREAK
*The Gophers have now won eight-straight games dating back to last season — the last time Minnesota owned an eight-game winning streak was from Oct. 13, 2006-Nov. 4, 2006 (starting a 22-game unbeaten streak (19-0-3) after losing the season opener to Maine on Oct. 6). The last time Minnesota had a longer winning streak was 11-straight games from Dec. 16, 1995-Jan. 27,1996 (capping off a 19-game unbeaten streak (18-0-1) and a 23-1-1 run). The two unbeaten streaks are the longest in program history. Minnesota’s 6-0-0 start this year is the program’s best since the 2001-02 campaign (unbeaten 11-0-2 in first 13 contests that year) and the program’s best since starting the 1987-88 season 8-0-0.
Minnesota’s No. 4 ranking is its highest position in the national polls since Nov. 6, 2007…this will be the first two meetings between Minnesota and Michigan with both teams being ranked in the top-five since a 5-1 win for No. 3 Minnesota over No. 1 Michigan on Nov. 26, 2004 (the two teams also met as top-five opponents during the 2002 and 2003 NCAA Frozen Fours). All told the Gophers are 10-0-0 against Michigan since the start of the 2000-01 season when both teams are ranked in the top 10…Minnesota is tied for the best penalty kill in the nation at 15-for-15 (1.00) and one of only three unblemished teams to have killed more than 10 penalties…the Gophers rank third nationally in scoring defense at 1.17 goals allowed per game and have played at least twice as many games as the teams ahead of them…per BTN research, Minnesota has allowed two goals or fewer in each of its first six games for the first time since 1939-40 (the Gophers allowed two goals or fewer for the first 16 games before going 18-0-0 for the year).
AGAINST THE WOLVERINES
Minnesota is 144-129-18 all-time against Michigan in a rivalry that goes back to 1923 and includes the Mariucci-Renfrew Trophy. The Gophers have earned the trophy in nine of the last 10 years.
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)