The Gophers men’s hockey team will battle Michigan State in a two-game series this Friday and Saturday in an attempt to win back the Mariucci-Bessone Trophy, a lesser-known trophy that the Spartans took last season.
This trophy is named in honor of two historic coaches — John Mariucci and Amo Bessone — from each program and is given to the winner of the matchup each year.
Minnesota lost the trophy last year for the first time since 2000, when the Spartans won 5-2 in the College Hockey Showcase in Minneapolis.
No. 3 Minnesota (11-3-0, 8-2-0 WCHA) dropped two spots in the national rankings this week after splitting a series with St. Cloud State on Nov. 18-19.
Kent Patterson recorded his school-record sixth shutout of the season in Saturday’s victory on the weekend, and Nick Bjugstad recorded his first career hat trick in the same game.
Bjugstad has a three-game goal streak against the Spartans. His 21 points this season tie him for the national lead with Jack Connolly from University of Minnesota-Duluth and T.J. Tynan from Notre Dame.
No. 20 MSU (7-5-0, 4-4-0 CCHA) enters this weekend after splitting a road series with Northern Michigan but is 3-1-0 at home this season.
Sophomores Lee Reimer and Greg Wolfe lead the Spartans; Reimer leads the team with 17 points, and Wolfe is second with 12.
This weekend will also serve as a preview for the new Big Ten hockey conference, which will begin in 2013-14.
Minnesota and MSU will be joined by Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin in the newly formed Big Ten.