Gophers men’s series preview
7:30 p.m. THursday, 8 p.m. Friday vs. Michigan
Mariucci Arena • BTN, 1500-AM
Gophers (16-13, 11-3 Big Ten): With six games remaining in the regular season, the No. 20 Gophers (16-13, 11-3 Big Ten) face a ranked opponent for the final time, giving them a chance to burnish their resume as they pursue an NCAA tournament berth. Coach Don Lucia said their first priority is to solidify their hold on the Big Ten lead in the hope of winning a third consecutive league title. The Gophers are 22-2-2 in Big Ten play at Mariucci Arena, including a 5-1 mark this season. They split at Michigan in December and are 6-4 in their past 10 games against the Wolverines. Junior captain Justin Kloos is on a career-best 11-game scoring streak, compiling 24 points in a span that dates to Jan. 5 — that’s the most points in the nation over that time period. He and junior forward Hudson Fasching are tied for the team scoring lead with 33 points each, career-best marks for both. In the hope of filling the arena, the U is offering $10 standing-room tickets.
Michigan (19-4-5, 9-2-3-2): Since their 3-2 loss to the Gophers on Dec. 12, the No. 6 Wolverines (19-4-5, 9-2-3-2) are 10-1-2. They have lost their past five games at Mariucci Arena but have been strong on the road this season, going 7-1-3. Junior forward Tyler Motte leads Michigan — and the nation — with 28 goals and is on a 12-game goal-scoring streak, the longest for the Wolverines since 1984. Linemates JT Compher and Kyle Connor are on identical 17-game scoring streaks; Connor has 39 points during that span, and Compher has 34. Connor leads the nation in with 51 points while Compher is third (45) and Motte fourth (44). The line has been together since Dec. 4 and has scored 50 of Michigan’s 89 goals in their 17 games as a trio. Michigan leads the nation at 4.8 goals per game.