8 p.m. Friday, 4:30 p.m. Saturday vs. Notre Dame • 3M Arena at Mariucci • BTN Friday, FSN Saturday; 1130-AM, 103.5-FM
Strong Notre Dame goalie awaits
Preview: The Gophers (13-14-4, 10-9-3 Big Ten) swept Notre Dame (16-11-3, 9-9-2-2) on Jan. 11-12 in South Bend, and this series is important in the race for home-ice advantage in the Big Ten playoffs. The Gophers sit in second place in the Big Ten with 33 points, two ahead of the third-place Irish, three ahead of Michigan and four ahead of Penn State. Minnesota can clinch at least fourth place in the conference standings and home-ice advantage in the best-of-three first-round playoffs if they sweep the Fighting Irish.
Players to watch: The Gophers had the Big Ten’s first and third stars this week, with freshman forward Nathan Burke collecting two goals and two assists at Ohio State, and sophomore forward Scott Reedy adding two goals. They complemented junior forward Rem Pitlick, who has a 13-game point streak. Coach Bob Motzko alternated starts between senior goalie Eric Schierhorn and junior Mat Robson last week but wouldn’t reveal his plans for this series. … For Notre Dame, freshman forward Michael Graham of Eden Prairie has 10 goals since Jan. 18, the most in the country in that span. Junior goalie Cale Morris (12-10-3, 2.32 goals-against average, .928 save percentage) is the reigning Mike Richter Award winner as the nation’s top goalie.
Numbers: Robson has a 3-1 career record against Notre Dame, while Schierhorn is 1-4.