The Wolverines have headed West for the 16th annual College Hockey Showcase. The first opponent is the #1 ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers. Here's an abbreviated 10 Things to Know since we only play them once and I'm about ready to pass out from all the food I ate.
The game tomorrow night will be shown on the Big Ten Network (Gasp!!).
1) The Gophers are 7-1-4 on the season, with their lone loss coming in their most recent game when they went down 4-0 to the Denver Pioneers. They've tied Wisconsin, Minnesota State, New Hampshire, and Michigan Tech. Interestingly enough, their only sweep of the season was the first weekend of the year when they beat St. Cloud twice. They had three point weekends against the teams mentioned above and a split with DU.
2) Ryan Stoa has bounced back very nicely from the injury suffered against the Wolverines last season which cost him the season. He has 10 goals and 9 assists in just 12 games, tying him for second in the nation in points per game amongst guys that don't play for Air Force. Freshman Jordan Schroeder has 17 points thusfar, giving him a five point gap on the second-highest scoring freshman in the country. Cade Fairchild and David Fischer have 10 and 9 points respectively back on the blueline.
3) The Gophers might be the first team we've played where there's no question about who will be in net. It's been Alex Kangas all the way and he's got a 2.03/.929, which are pretty darn good numbers. He's given up fewer than two goals in a game just twice this season, though he's given up exactly two in seven of his 12 starts. The Gophers are giving up almost 30 shots a game and they've given up fewer than 25 shots on just two occasions, so we'll probably get our chances.
4) They've got the 10th ranked offense in the country at 3.25 goals per game and they're 14th in defense at 2.08 goals per game.
5) For the second straight week we're facing a team with strong special teams. As you'd expect with a high-powered offense, they're very good on the power play: 9th in the country at 20%. 16/80 on the year. On the PK, they're even better, ranked 5th in the country at an impressive 93.7%. Stoa leads the way with 4 PPGs on the year.
6) They dared to have two players from outside the State of Hockey on this year's team. Freshman Sam Lofquist is from Wisconsin and rookie Grant Scott is from Pennsylvania.
7) Michigan trails the all-time series 115-127-15. With a win tomorrow, the Wolverines would take over the winning percentage lead in the history of the College Hockey Showcase. We're one win up on the Gophers in that column.