U MEN’S HOCKEY SERIES PREVIEW

 

GOPHERS VS. OHIO STATE

Today 8:12 p.m., Saturday 7:05 p.m. • Mariucci Arena

TV/radio/live stream: BTN tonight and FSN Plus on Saturday; 1500-AM both nights; BTN2Go both nights.

 

Gophers at a glance: The loss of top goal-scorer Connor Reilly (out indefinitely with a lower-body injury) will force the Gophers (12-9-3, 3-2-3 Big Ten) to restructure the lineup with only six regular-season series left. Reilly, a top-nine forward that spent time on the first line and on the first power-play unit, was kneed last weekend at Wisconsin and left the game. It will be a month before he’s revaluated to determine if he can return before the end of the season. The Gophers had to rally on both nights against two-win Wisconsin for a victory and tie. The fourth-place Gophers need to sweep the Buckeyes to set up a big weekend against first-place Michigan in two weeks.

 

Ohio State at a glance: Injuries have kept the Buckeyes (7-13-2, 2-6) from building on last year’s Big Ten tournament run that almost put them in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009. The team has regressed this season, sitting just above Wisconsin at the bottom of the standings. The Buckeyes have lost four in a row and have yet to win two consecutive games. The Buckeyes’ defense is the seventh-worst in the nation, giving up an average of 3.5 goals per game, while rotating three goaltenders. Michigan scored 10 and eight goals in two victories against Ohio State earlier this season. The Buckeyes have been oddly decent on the road, however, with a 5-5-2 record.

JASON GONZALEZ