The Gopher men's hockey team's Christmas present is coming a bit late this year, but they should be grateful for it nonetheless. The gift is coming in the form of back-to-back games against opponents that should be easy for the Gophers, ranked No. 4 nationally, to crush. The should-be victims of the Dodge Holiday Classic include the Western Michigan University Broncos, who are currently dead last in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association with a record of 2-10-4. Also making the trip to Mariucci Arena will be the lowly Brown Bears, whose Ivy League book smarts haven't helped them figure out how to win; their 1-8-2 record is second worst in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference. The only team that promises to offer the Gophers competition is Boston's Northeastern University Huskies, who sit atop the Hockey East standings and rank sixth nationally. The Dodge Holiday Classic should serve as a tune-up for the Gophers before they head into the second half of their season and the playoffs. $33-$36. Check out gophersports.com for a complete list of times.
Sat., Jan. 3, 7:07 p.m., 2009