8 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday at Wisconsin
BTN Friday, FSN Plus Saturday; 1130-AM, 103.5-FM
High stakes and big crowds
Preview: The Gophers (16-13-1, 7-10-1-1) will try to gain ground on the Badgers (14-13-4, 8-9-3-1), who are 3-1-1 in their past five games and in third place in the Big Ten. The teams split the previous series, with the Gophers winning the opener 5-4 before losing the finale 3-2 on Dec. 1-2 in Minneapolis.
Players to watch: Gophers freshman forward Casey Mittelstadt is tied for the team lead with Rem Pitlick with 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists). Sophomore Mat Robson (4-2, 1.73 GAA) has started the past three games, but coach Don Lucia also said that junior Eric Schierhorn (12-11-1, 2.52, .906) has played well against Wisconsin. … Badgers forward Trent Frederic is coming off a two-goal, four-assist series against Michigan. His 27 points (14 goals, 13 assists) rank second on the team behind forward Ryan Wagner (13-16—29).
By the numbers: A sellout crowd of more than 15,000 is expected for Saturday’s game. Friday’s game could draw more than 12,000. “That’s back to the atmosphere you want to have,’’ Lucia said. “It’s good for us, too.’’ … Saturday’s game will be the 3,000th in Gophers hockey history.