It’s a short preview this week as Job A duties took over.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers hockey team will look to recover from a disastrous weekend last weekend against Michigan State by hosting the rival Wisconsin Badgers at Mariucci Arena. This weekend could be the final nail in the coffin of both team’s NCAA at-large bid chances, so both teams will want to try and get as many points as possible.
The Gophers come in off of getting swept by last place Michigan State in East Lansing last weekend. It was inexcusable for this team after sweeping Notre Dame on the road the week before. The Gophers still remain in a tie for second place with Michigan in the Big Ten standings with 21 points, but just four points separate those two teams and Penn State and Wisconsin who are tied for last place in the conference with 17 points.
The Gophers currently also sit in 25th in the pairwise after last weekend and a sweep at the hand of the #30 Badgers would all but eliminate the Gophers from NCAA at-large bid considerations. So yeah, its a big weekend for the Gophers.
The Badgers sit in a tie for 6th place in the Big Ten with 17 points, but have two games in hand over most of the rest of the teams in the conference. Last weekend the Badgers lost at home, and tied at the United Center to Notre Dame. They currently have a 8-10-4 overall record and are an even 4-4-4 in Big Ten play. That included a split with the Gophers in Madison in November with Minnesota wining Friday 3-2 and the Badgers returning the favor 3-1 on Saturday. The Badgers have not won a game since finishing off a sweep of Michigan State on December 8th.
Wisconsin sits at 30th in the pairwise and virtually needs to win their last 12 games to earn an NCAA at-large bid, so it will be interesting to see how the Badgers play with their backs against the wall.
Wisconsin’s leading scorer is Minnetonka native K’Andre Miller who has 18 points on the season as a defenseman. Sean Dhoggie leads the team with nine goals. In net Wisconsin has struggled with a platoon of Jack Berry and Daniel Lebedeff. Both have identical .897 save percentages and Lebedeff has a slightly better goals against average at 2.89 compared to Berry’s 3.16. I expect Lebedeff to get the start on Friday.
News and Notes:
Saturday night the Gophers will honor the 1979 NCAA Championship team with the celebration. Throwback concessions are available and the team will be honored during the first intermission and sign autographs during the second intermission.
These are some National Championship worthy highlights.— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) January 23, 2019
Join us in honoring the 1979 National Champions: https://t.co/VykjFVN4Ha pic.twitter.com/cAJpY4TO3X
And it looks like it should be rocking!
We're looking forward to seeing a sold out 3M Arena at Mariucci tomorrow night as we honor our 1979 National Champions!— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) January 25, 2019
A limited supply of standing room only tickets are available: https://t.co/gkJjFQB6F8 pic.twitter.com/3QrFjULiiU
Here are the Friday night lines for the Gophers:
Coach Motzko shakes up the lines for #BorderBattle night one. Norman returns to the lineup tonight after missing four games with injury. #PrideOnIce pic.twitter.com/HE2nO9A2at— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) January 25, 2019
HOW TO WATCH:
Wisconsin Badgers @ Minnesota Golden Gophers
Where: Mariucci Arena, Minneapolis, Minnesota
When: 7PM Friday/Saturday
TV: FSN+ Friday/ FSN Saturday
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Radio: 1130 AM/ 103.5 FM/ I Heart Radio App