The state of Minnesota's annual hockey showcase will benefit from the well-scheduled Gophers-Badgers border rivalry at 5 p.m. on FSN.
It's the first time the rivals have met on Hockey Day Minnesota and it will showcase several former Hockey Day Minnesota high school participants.
Wisconsin's Grant Besse (Benilde-St. Margaret's) and Kevin Schulze (Hill-Murray), and the Gophers' Kyle Rau (Eden Prairie) and Jake Bischoff (Grand Rapids) are among the select group to play outdoors while in high school.
"It's a little bigger stage. You've got probably a little more people watching the game than normal," said Brady Skjei, the Gophers junior defenseman from Lakeville North. "It's a fun day. It's fun watching the high school guys go out and play on outdoor ponds and then our game at 5 p.m. and the Wild at night, so it's a great day and it's fun to watch."
The Gophers are 5-2-1 on Hockey Day and are eager for another victory after Friday's letdown. The quick turnaround from last night's late 11 p.m. finish to Saturday's early 5 p.m. start could be a good thing for Don Lucia's club as they try to forget about their recent trend of setbacks.
Friday replay: Despite 49 shots, Gophers can muster only a tie with lowly Badgers and suffer shootout loss, read Friday night's game story and postgame blog with Wisconsin reaction. Watch postgame video of senior forward Travis Boyd, coach Don Lucia, and Wisconsin sophomore forward and former Mr. Hockey Minnesota Grant Besse.
• Gophers Saturday lines
Forwards (left wing, center, right wing)
Sam Warning, Travis Boyd, Hudson Fasching
Kyle Rau, Justin Kloos, Connor Reilly
Taylor Cammarata, Vinni Lettieri, Seth Ambroz
A.J. Michaelson, Christian Isackson, Leon Bristedt
Defensemen (left, right)
Michael Brodzinski,Mike Reilly
Brady Skjei, Ryan Collins
Jake Bischoff, Ben Marshall
Adam Wilcox, Nick Lehr, Ryan Coyne
• Minnesotans in Wisconsin's lineup
Joseph Labate, Sr. forward, Eagan
Grant Besse, Soph. forward, Plymouth
Eddie Wittchow, Jr. defenseman, Burnsville
Jack Dougherty, Fr. defenseman, Cottage Grove
Kevin Schulze, Jr. defenseman, White Bear Lake
• SERIES PREVIEW: NO. 16 GOPHERS VS. WISCONSIN
5 p.m. Saturday at Mariucci Arena
TV/radio/live stream: FSN; 1500-AM; BTN2Go
Gophers at a glance: The situation continues to get worse at Mariucci Arena. The Gophers (10-7-2 overall, 1-2-1-0 Big Ten) have won three of their last 11 games and are coming off three consecutive losses entering Hockey Day. Read the full series preview.
My feature this week relives the long journey Connor Reilly has overcome -- two knee surgeries and 19 months away from hockey -- to become the Gophers' leading goal-scorer. Check out video of forward Seth Ambroz, defenseman Brady Skjei and coach Don Lucia previewing the Border Battle.