Thursday, November 7, 2013

Taking Away the Luck of the Irish
After a week to relax and recoup, and probably party a bit, the Gopher Hockey Team will play its toughest road series of the season this weekend when they visit the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame for a two game series.  The Irish were ranked #2 in the country going into their first ever series in Hockey East at Vermont last weekend, and Gopher fans were hoping the Irish would play well enough to set up a #1 vs #2 match-up in South Bend this weekend.  Unfortunately, Vermont had other ideas, and spoiled the match-up beating Notre Dame 2-1 on Friday night, and taking the Irish to the brink Saturday night before Sophomore Wing Sam Herr scored two goals in 1:02 of the third period to send the Irish home with a 3-2 win and a series split.  The Irish dropped a few spots in this week's polls to #3 in the USA Today poll, and #4 in the USCHO poll.

The Gophers of course are the #1 ranked team in the country in both polls, and are one of only two undefeated teams left in the NCAA, the other being St. Cloud State.  The Gophers and Irish played one game last season, on a Tuesday night in January.  The Irish football team had lost the National Championship game to Alabama the night before, and the Gopher fans reminded the Irish of this fact multiple times during the game with Alabama-clap-clap-clapclapclap chants echoing from the student section.  The Gophers would come out hot against the Irish when Nate Condon scored on the first Gopher shot of the game.  Sam Warning would add another in the first period before the Irish scored their only goal of the game to cut the Gopher lead to 2-1 after one period.  Christian Isackson scored in the second, and Zach Budish added an empty-netter in the third to cap off the 4-1 Minnesota victory, and cement their ranking as the #1 team in the country. The Gophers are 23-13-3 all-time against Notre Dame, and 5-4-1 all-time in South Bend.

The Irish have several potent playmakers on their team, and are lead by their Senior Goalie, Stephen Summerhayes.  He is 6-1 on the season thus far and has a goals against average of a minute 1.49.  The Gophers potent scoring machine will need to be hot this weekend, as the most goals the Irish have allowed in a game this season is 3. 

As for the scorers, Notre Dame has plenty of them as well.  Their most feared sniper is Senior center TJ Tynan.  He is tied for the team lead with 8 points so far this season and was the team's offensive player of the year in 2012.  Sophomore left wing Sam Herr leads the team with five goals on the season.

However, probably the most well known Notre Dame player would be Sophomore winger Mario Lucia.  The son of Gopher coach Don Lucia, and Minnesota Wild draft pick, is off to a bit of a slow start this season with only three points in eight games.  However, you can be sure that he will pick his game up against his dad's team.

This game will also be interesting for people interested in the future of these squads.  Notre Dame has several high profile recruits from Minnesota, and specifically Edina coming in the next few seasons.  Dylan Malmquist and Connor Hurley are the two most notable names.  Many Gopher fans were hoping that the two of them would become Gophers, but instead they followed former Hornet and Irish player Anders Lee to Notre Dame.  Hurley is expected to be a freshman next season, while Malmquist will be a freshman in 2015-16.  

The games will be a bit of a challenge to find on tv and radio this weekend.  Friday night's game will face-off at 7:00 PM Central, and will be broadcast on the NBCSports Network.  The Radio broadcast will be on 107.1 FM instead of the usual 1500 AM due to Gopher Basketball.  On Saturday, the game will face-off at 6:00 PM Central, and is not on TV.  The game will be live streamed on, as will Friday night's tilt.  The radio will be back on 1500 AM for Saturday's game. 

What they are saying on the Twitters:

I'd like to think its North Dakota...but to each their own

Yes, I am as well but probably not for the same reason

And for the ladies of "Our Lady"













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