MARIUCCI CLASSIC PREVIEW
No. 9 Massachusetts-Lowell vs. RIT, 4 p.m. — Live stream: GopherSports.com
No. 8 Gophers vs. No. 18 Merrimack, 7:05 p.m. — TV: FSN Plus. Live stream: BTN2Go. Radio: 1500-AM.
No. 18 Merrimack vs. RIT/Massachusetts-Lowell, 4 p.m. — Live stream: GopherSports.com
No. 7 Gophers vs. RIT/Massachusetts-Lowell, 7:05 p.m. — Live stream: BTN Plus. Radio: 1500-AM.
Note: The Gophers will play in Saturday night’s 7 p.m. time slot win or lose on Friday.
Gophers at a glance: The Gophers (9-4-1) are hoping the new year and second half of the season offer a fresh start. They are 2-3-1 in their past six games and the schedule won’t get any easier this weekend with a Mariucci Classic that features two other nationally ranked teams. The Gophers are also without four regulars. Brady Skjei is out with an upper-body injury and Hudson Fasching, Ryan Collins and Leon Bristedt are competing in the World Junior Championship in Canada for their respective countries.
Merrimack at a glance: The Warriors (10-5-2) have one of the top defenses and penalty-killing units in the country. Merrimack is giving up only 1.88 goals per game, which ranks as the ninth-lowest nationally, and Rasmus Tirronen is rated among the top five goaltenders. The Warriors’ penalty kill is third with 90.5 percent success. In their only previous meeting with the Gophers, the Warriors lost 6-2 in the 2004 Mariucci Classic.
Massachusetts-Lowell at a glance: The River Hawks (12-3-3) are coming off a tournament championship at the Frozen Holiday Classic last weekend and are the only team in this field that has played since early December. They scored eight goals in the tournament and are the country’s fourth-highest scoring team, averaging 3.78 goals per game. Their special teams also have been impressive with five shorthanded goals and a power play producing at 21.3 percent.
RIT at a glance: The Tigers (5-8-3) got off to a slow start this season but are 3-2-2 in their past seven games. Senior forward Matt Garbowsky is tied for first in the country in goals (14) and junior forward Josh Mitchell is tied for seventh in assists (14). Their penalty-killing unit is fourth in college hockey with a 89.9 percent success rate. The last time the Rochester Institute of Technology played in the Mariucci Classic, the Tigers upset the Gophers 4-3 in the first round in 2007 but lost in the title game to eventual NCAA champion Boston College.