Gophers men’s hockey series preview
8 pm. Fri., 7:30 p.m. Sat. vs. MICH. STATE • Mariucci Arena TV: FSN Plus on Friday, BTN on Saturday, radio: 1500-AM both nights
Gophers (9-10, 4-2 Big Ten): They scored a season-high seven goals Saturday to salvage a split at Penn State last weekend. After losing 3-2 in overtime in the series opener, junior forward Hudson Fasching led the offensive outburst with two shorthanded goals. Junior captain Justin Kloos assisted on both of Fasching’s goals and finished with four points (one goal, three assists) in the 7-1 victory. The win kept the Gophers within two points of first-place Michigan in the Big Ten race entering the fourth week of conference play. Fasching leads the team with 20 points (11 goals, nine assists). Sophomore forward Leon Bristedt had a goal and a pair of assists last weekend to improve his points total to 18. Freshman forward Brent Gates Jr. ended a long goal-scoring drought with a pair of goals in the series opener. Freshman goalie Eric Schierhorn has a 2.82 goals-against average and .912 save percentage in Big Ten play.
Michigan State (5-15-2, 1-5): The Spartans have won only one game since mid-November and are riding a six-game losing streak. The Spartans’ only victory in the past 14 games was a 3-0 shutout of Wisconsin on Dec. 11. Despite returning the Big Ten player of the year and goalie of the year Jake Hildebrand, Michigan State has fallen to last place in the conference after giving up 15 goals in a pair of losses against Michigan last weekend. Hildebrand, without much support in front of him, has a 5.16 goals-against average and an .876 save percentage in conference play. The Spartans have given up a league-leading 201 shots, while Hildebrand has a league-best 176 saves. Mackenzie MacEachern leads the Spartans in goals with eight and is tied for the points lead with 17.