7 p.m. Fri. and Sat. at Ohio State • BTN, 1500-ESPN both nights
Preview: The No. 5 Gophers (17-7-2, 8-2 Big Ten) are tied for the conference lead with Wisconsin with 10 games left. They have won eight of their past 10 games since a split with No. 12 Ohio State (13-7-6, 4-5-1-1) in early December at Mariucci Arena. Minnesota won the first game 5-3, lost the second 8-3 when the Gophers gave up a season-high number of goals.
Players to watch: Sophomore goalie Eric Schierhorn of the Gophers was the Big Ten’s first star of the week, after giving up only three goals in a sweep of high-scoring Penn State (4.17 goals per game). Teammate Leon Bristedt, a junior forward, had a hat trick in his last game, including a shorthanded goal. Minnesota defenseman Jake Bischoff ranks first in the Big Ten with 67 blocked shots and is tied for first among conference defensemen in assists with 19. Buckeyes senior forward Nick Schilkey leads the Big Ten in goals with 20 and is third in points with 31. He has 11 power-play goals. Sophomore forward Mason Jobst has nine goals in a 12-game point streak. OSU goalie Matt Tomkins has a conference-low 2.48 goals-against average.
Numbers: Bristedt was the fourth different Gopher to get a hat trick this season. Ohio State is second in the nation in scoring (4.08) and has the NCAA’s best power play, humming at 28.8 percent. The Buckeyes ended a six-game losing streak to Minnesota in their last meeting.