BIG TEN SEMIFINALs PREVIEW
NO. 1 GOPHERS vs. NO. 4 OHIO STATE
7 p.m. Friday at Xcel Energy Center
TV/radio: Big Ten Network; 1500-AM; BTN2Go.
Gophers at a glance: The Gophers (25-5-6) have the challenge of coming into Friday’s semifinal cold. Though the bye is considered a benefit to the top seeds, several Gophers said it’s an advantage for the team that played the night before and found its rhythm. Coach Don Lucia expects his team to play faster than it has this season in order to have postseason success. Ohio State plays a similar up-tempo style like the Gophers, which could lead to a lot of scoring. A scoring outburst would be good for the Gophers in their first game of the postseason.
Buckeyes at a glance: Ohio State (17-13-5) will carry momentum into Friday night’s semifinals. The Buckeyes held off No. 5 Michigan State 2-1 in overtime of the quarterfinals to continue their hopes at extending their season beyond this weekend. They need to win the Big Ten tournament to qualify for the NCAA tournament. The Buckeyes have the conference’s leading scorer in Ryan Dzingel, though he was pointless in Thursday night’s victory. He’s given the Gophers trouble this year and played a big role in their shootout victory over the Gophers earlier this month.