Less than an hour before the first drop of the puck, a few pre-game notes as Minnesota gets set to kick off the 2009-10 season:
Left Wing-Ryan Flynn
Right Wing-Jay Barriball
Left Defense-Nick Leddy
Right Defense-David Fischer
Not much of a surprise here, with Schroeder anchoring the first line and freshman Nick Leddy cracking the starting lineup at the left defense position. The No.9 Gophers second line features Mike Carman and Patrick White on offense, with Cade Fairchild and freshman Seth Helgeson on defense.
In goal for the Gophers is Alex Kangas. Kangas missed Minnesota's only preseason match up with a flu, and it will be interesting to see if Kangas displays any lingering effects from the illness. We will find out the answer very quickly, as a very physical North Dakota team will put him to the test early and often.
As for Minnesota's freshmen, Josh Birkholz is on the third line at right wing and Zach Budish is at right wing on the fourth line. Joining Budish on the fourth line is Taylor Matson, the sophomore who is recovering from a season ending injury suffered last year.
Left Wing-Jason Gregoire
Right Wing-Danny Kristo
Left Defense-Ben Blood
Right Defense-Chay Genoway
A key match up in tonight's game will be at the center position, where the No. 9 Sioux have assistant captain Chris VandeVelde going against the Gophers best player in Jordan Schroeder. Anchoring the defense is WCHA Defensive Player of the Year Chay Genoway. Along with Genoway is Ben Blood, who at 6 foot 4 220 pounds, will look to instill a physical feel to the blue line.
In net for North Dakota is sophomore Brad Eidsness, who enters this game with a career goals against average of 2.53 and a save percentage of .905 with one career shut-out.
Judging by the chants already coming out of the North Dakota student section, everyone is ready for this game to start, and we will be underway in 42 minutes.
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