The Golden Gophers will be showing some new lines against Wisconsin.
Minnesota head coach Don Lucia had his team practicing with separate lines than the ones he had used throughout the season.
"We kind of blew up our lines this week and moved guys around. Whether they stay like that for Friday night I don't know," Lucia told SB Nation College Hockey this week. "Maybe a little bit of changing things up in practice will be fresh and good for some of the guys."
It turns out that a fresh start worked in practice and he's going to go with it. against the Badgers at Mariucci Arena And what a fresh start. Leon Bristedt is on the fourth line, Justin Kloos is away from Tayor Cammarata and instead with Kyle Rau and Connor Reilly. Travis Boyd is centering Sam Warning.
Thought maybe Ryan Reilly would find his way in with the fourth line after only playing one game in six weeks, but Christian Isackson gets another chance.
Out of all the regular combinations, the only one which has stuck is Rau and Connor Reilly. Even that one is fairly new as far as things go.
Defenseman Michael Brodzinski is out of Friday's game. The sophomore, who suffered an undisclosed injury in Saturday's 7-5 loss to Michigan, did practice late this week. Instead Jake Bischoff and Steve Johnson are in on the blue line. Brady Skjei and Mike Reilly once again are paired with the freshmen D.
The line I'm interested to see the most is Cammarata's. It seems so long ago that the sophomore forward led the nation in assists/game. In fact, his offensive slowdown (3 assists in 10 games) mirrors Minnesota's. He only has scored once this year; 3.5 off his freshman pace at this point.
Being separated by Kloos - the two have been together going back to their days in Waterloo (USHL) - Cammarata is either forced out of his comfort range to play and be the scorer on his line or he'll be on the bottom six and someone else gets a chance.
This might be the first time Rau has been on the wing without Nick Bjugstad and Erik Haula. Either way that line is one filled with players who have contributed recently at even strength. Not sure if it is an attempt - there's also a small fact that only Reilly is
Boyd, meanwhile, gets a chance to move off the third line with Ambroz and play with someone he has had success with on the power play (Fasching) in the past as the big body. It's also a chance to get Sam Warning, who has 2 goals (1 a shorthanded one) in the 10 game slump, and his speed used in a different facet.
Adam Wilcox is expected to start in net because that's how things roll. Joel Rumpel appears to be getting the nod for Wisconsin.
The Badgers, meanwhile, are going with the lines Bucky's Fifth Quarter writer Andy Johnson had projected in his preview Friday.
Five Minnesotans are in the Wisconsin lineup. That includes alternate captain Joseph Labate (who will forever be known as the player that scored the first Big Ten conference goal) from Eagan, leading point scorer (3G-5A) Grant Besse (Plymouth) and freshman defenseman Jack Dougherty (Cottage Grove).
University of Minnesota Golden Gophers
Sam Warning (#11) - Travis Boyd (#22) - Hudson Fasching (#24)
Kyle Rau (#7) - Justin Kloos (#25) - Connor Reilly (#21)
Taylor Camamrata (#13) - Vinni Lettieri (#19) - Seth Ambroz (#17)
A.J. Michaelson (#15) - Christian Isackson (#26) Leon Bristedt (#18)
Steve Johnson (#4) - Mike Reilly (#5)
Brady Skjei (#2) -Ryan Collins (#6)
Ben Marshall (#10) - Jake Bischoff (#28)
Goaltenders (bold indicates starting)
Adam Wilcox (#32)
Nick Lehr (#34)
Ryan Coyne (#31)
University of Wisconsin Badgers
Joseph LaBate (#16) - Adam Rockwood (#11) - Grant Besse (#12)
Morgan Zulinick (#9) - Cameron Hughes (#19) - Jedd Soleway (#24)
Matt Ustaski (#27) - Ryan Wagner (#13) - Brad Navin (#26)
Aidan Cavallini (#23) - Matt Paape (#8) - Corbin McGuire (#3)
Eddie Wittchow (#20) - Jack Dougherty (#4)
Kevin Schulze (#28) - Jake Linhart (#10)
Tim Davison (#6) - Chase Drake (#5)
Joel Rumpel (#33)
Landon Peterson (#30)
When: Tonight's game begins at 8:00 p.m. CT
TV: BTN - Dan Kelly and Ben Clymer have the call.
Radio: In Minneapolis and St. Paul the game can be heard on 1500 ESPN. Frank Mazzocco and Wally Shaver have the call there. In Madison the game can be heard on WIBA 1310 and worldwide on the Badger Radio Network.
Stream: BTN2Go for free