Road series at Ohio State, 5:30 p.m. Friday; 7 p.m. Saturday

TV, radio: BTN, 103.5-FM, 1130-AM both nights

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Randy Johnson's preview:

Opening faceoff: Minnesota (8-5-3, 4-4-2, 13 points Big Ten) is coming off a series split at Penn State and sits in fourth place in the Big Ten, six points behind first-place Michigan State. The 10th-ranked Gophers went 4-1-3 in November. "All we're looking at is two games to get to the break,'' Gophers coach Bob Motzko said. "We've just got to empty the tank. … We've been doing a lot of good things in the last month, month and a half, but we've got to finish.'' … Ohio State (5-7-3, 0-7-1, 2 points Big Ten) sits last in the Big Ten after being swept at Wisconsin last week and has lost six consecutive conference games.

Watch him: Gophers junior forward Rhett Pitlick (eight goals, nine assists, 17 points) is on a six-game point streak and earned Big Ten Third Star of the Week honors after collecting five points at Penn State.

Forecast: Motzko is seeking more consistency from his team, and he should get it this weekend against a Buckeyes team that is averaging 1.1 goals per game in Big Ten play. Look for G Justen Close (8-5-3, 2.59 goals-against average, .917 save percentage) to have a big series as the Gophers post their first sweep since the season-opening series against St. Thomas.

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