Here are three things No. 8 Colorado College (17-10-3, 11-8-3 league) will focus on headed into this weekend’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association series at Minnesota (13-15-2, 8-12-2).
1. Avoid the penalty box
The Golden Gophers are the least penalized team (13 minutes on average) in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association so the Tigers (14 minutes) must play disciplined, move their feet and not reach on defense to avoid handing Minnesota the man advantage too often.
2. Get off to a good, fast start
A poor start will give the Gophers confidence and give sold-out Mariucci Arena (10,000 capacity) a good reason to get loud. CC is 10-0-2 when leading after the first period and 2-7 when behind.
3. Contain Minnesota’s top-end skill players
The Gophers have the big names in sophomore forward Jordan Schroeder (23 points, 16 assists), a candidate for league player of the year, junior defenseman Cade Fairchild (16, 14 assists), senior captain Tony Lucia (21, 13 assists) and Bowling Green transfer Jacob Cepis (11, six assists) who has played 12 games.
Six players have six or more goals, suggesting good depth on a team with 20 NHL draft picks.
“They are blessed with skill,” CC assistant Joe Bonnett said.
The return of junior Mike Hoeffel (18, 11 goals) from a bout with mononucleosis gives Minnesota even better depth and skill.