vs. Michigan State, at Mariucci Arena
6:30 p.m. Friday: ESPNews, 1500-AM
7 p.m. Saturday: Big Ten Network, 1500-AM
Preview: The fifth-ranked Gophers (22-10-2, 13-5 Big Ten) can make history this weekend as they try to become the first program ever to win six consecutive regular season conference championships. One victory in the final series of the regular season would give them at least a tie for the Big Ten crown, which would be their fourth in a row. They won conference championships in their last two seasons in the WCHA before moving to the Big Ten in 2013. The Gophers are 8-3 in their past 11 games and 7-1 in their past eight at Mariucci Arena. Michigan State (7-22-3, 3-13-2), in last place in the Big Ten, has lost 16 of its past 21 games. It is near the bottom of the NCAA in goals for (2.50 per game) and goals against (3.84). Saturday’s game will be the 500th at the current Mariucci Arena, which opened in 1993.
Players to watch: After a four-point weekend in a split at Michigan, Gophers sophomore Tyler Sheehy has 52 points, the highest total by a Gophers player since Ryan Potulny’s 63-point season in 2005-06. Sheehy is the Big Ten’s top scorer and has 16 points in his past eight games. Freshman Rem Pitlick has 10 goals in the past 10 games; 21 of his 28 points have come in Big Ten play. Three Gophers seniors have set career highs this season in various offensive categories: Justin Kloos (17 goals), Vinni Lettieri (18 goals, 35 points) and Jake Bischoff (26 assists, 30 points). Sophomore Mason Appleton leads Michigan State with 11 goals and 18 assists.
Numbers: Sheehy has 19 multi-point games this season, second-most in the nation. … The Spartans have won only two home games this season but are 5-7-1 on the road.