The Gopher Hockey Team is back in its quest to have a chance to make the NCAA Tournament as an at large team, and have another crucial series this weekend in Columbus against Ohio State. The Gophers are sitting in a must sweep situation this weekend. Drop one game to the 5th place Buckeyes, and you pretty much guarantee you will need to win the Big Ten Tournament to make the NCAA Tournament. Sweep Ohio State and you live to play another week. The Gophers are currently 11th in the pairwise going into this weekend. If you don't want to completely sweat the conference championship weekend you need to be in the 12 or 13 range.
The Gophers will be looking to bounce back from one of their worst efforts of the season last Friday night at home against the Michigan State Spartans. The Gophers were completely outplayed after playing quite possibly one of the best periods they have played all season in the second period on Thursday night. They can have no more off nights.
The weekend series will also be key to the Gophers chances at a Big Ten Championship. Michigan holds a three point edge coming into the weekend, but have a tough road series at Penn State. I would not be surprised to see a split in Happy Valley, meaning if the Gophers can get the sweep this weekend we would be all knotted up going into the last week of the regular season.
The Gophers had no trouble with the Buckeyes earlier in the season sweeping them in Minneapolis 4-2 and 6-2. But Ohio State was missing some key players in that series. They are back and almost 100% healthy, and it showed as they swept Penn State in Columbus last weekend. This weekend will be no slouch for the Gophers, but they will need to find a way to get all six points.
Here are a few additional stories on the series from the Twin Cities Media:
SB Nation College Puck's Nate Wells has a good roundup from the Gopher media availability earlier in the week.
Jason Gonzalez of the Star Tribune has a good article on the Gopher all-senior line of Travis Boyd, Seth Ambroz and Sam Warning as they get close to ending their college careers.
Ben Gotz of the Minnesota Daily has an article on Don Lucia trying to break Doug Woog's all time Gopher win record as a coach this weekend, as does the Pioneer Press's Dane Mizutani.
Don't forget that this weekend's series is on the ESPN family of networks either everybody's favorite or most hated broadcaster John Buccigross on the call.
Today at 5pm, 4pm in Minnesota, Minnesota at Ohio St on ESPNU. Sean Ritchlin & I have the call. pic.twitter.com/2VRvMW3gZz— John Buccigross (@Buccigross) March 6, 2015
How to Watch/ Listen/ Follow Gamecast from Work
Minnesota Golden Gophers at Ohio State Buckeyes
4:00 PM CST (yes...really. Thanks ESPN)
Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio
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