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Cutting it close

Gophers at a glance: No. 1 Minnesota (11-1, 9-1 Big Ten) lost its first game of the season last weekend at Wisconsin, falling 3-1 in the series opener before taking the next game 5-3. Gophers coach Bob Motzko had foretold his team would "get punched in the nose" at some point, and that would teach his squad an invaluable lesson ahead of the postseason about how to respond to poor performances. Freshman defenseman Mike Koster said the Gophers hadn't seen a forecheck like Wisconsin's before but learned how to handle it. That should help them against Notre Dame, since games with the Irish are usually close.

Fighting Irish at a glance: Notre Dame (5-6-1, 3-4-1) is on the verge of breaking into the national rankings after splitting their most-recent series against Arizona State. Of the Gophers' seven meetings with Notre Dame last season, one was a two-goal game with an empty-netter, four were one-goal margins and two were ties, meaning both teams expect a tight game. Forward Alex Steeves leads the team with 11 points on five goals and six assists, while goaltenders Dylan St. Ctr and Ryan Bischel split time, posting .882 and .889 save percentages, respectively.

Megan Ryan