8 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday vs. Ohio State • 3M Arena at Mariucci
TV; radio: BTN on Friday, ESPNU on Saturday; 1130-AM, 103.5-FM
Big series vs. Buckeyes
Preview: After sweeping Wisconsin last weekend to move into fourth place in the Big Ten standings, the Gophers (18-13-1, 9-10-1-1 Big Ten) will try to extend a hot streak of five wins in their past six games. To do so, they’ll have to beat second-place Ohio State (19-7-4, 12-7-1), which is coming off a 5-1 win over then-No. 1 Notre Dame to secure a split last weekend. The Buckeyes swept the Gophers on Dec. 8-9 in Columbus, winning 2-1 in overtime and 4-1. Gophers sophomore goalie Mat Robson made his debut in the 4-1 loss, giving up two goals and making 22 saves. The final two Ohio State goals were empty-netters.
Players to watch: Gophers captain Tyler Sheehy is coming off a five-point weekend, including two third-period goals in Friday’s win over Wisconsin. He earned Big Ten First Star of the Week and NCAA Second Star of the Week. Robson (6-2, 1.68 goals-against average, .940 save percentage) has started five consecutive games and was the Big Ten’s Third Star of the Week after stopping 61 of 64 shots against the Badgers. … Ohio State has a trio of 30-point players — sophomore forward Tanner Laczynski (12-25 — 37), senior forward Matthew Weis (10-23 — 33) and junior forward Mason Jobst (13-17 — 30). Buckeyes goalie Sean Romeo (16-7-4, 2.10 GAA, .925 save percentage) is coming off a 39-save performance in a 5-1 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday.
By the numbers: The Gophers entered Thursday ninth in the PairWise Ratings, and Ohio State was sixth. Both have a solid chance to make the NCAA tournament. … Minnesota’s power play scored three times Saturday against Wisconsin, boosting its percentage to 14.18 percent, but that still is only 53rd of 60 teams nationally.
Seniors to be honored: Before Saturday’s final regular-season home game at Mariucci, the Gophers will honor seniors Leon Bristedt, Jack Glover, Steve Johnson, Nick Lehr and Mike Szmatula.