Road series at Minnesota Duluth; Friday 6 p.m., Saturday 3 p.m.

TV: BTN+ (streaming, subscription required)

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Rachel Blount's preview:

Opening bell: This in-state rivalry was lopsided last season, when the Gophers went 5-0 against Minnesota Duluth. Not much separates the two teams this weekend. The No. 4 Gophers (7-2, 5-2 WCHA) and No. 8 UMD (8-2, 6-2) have only two losses each, with both teams swept by second-ranked Ohio State. The Bulldogs are third in the nation in scoring defense (1.10 goals per game), while the Gophers' offense ranks seventh (3.89 goals per game).

Watch her: Gophers D Nelli Laitinen has four goals this season, including three in her past three games. She's a key to the Gophers power play, which stands third in the nation with a 42.9% success rate.

Forecast: Gophers coach Brad Frost sees a lot of similarities between his team and the Bulldogs, which makes for an intriguing matchup. UMD has won six in a row behind the outstanding goaltending duo of Eve Gascon and Hailey MacLeod. To come home with points, the Gophers will have to be persistent and physical on offense, and their defense — a point of pride this season — will have to stay consistent.

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