It’s the first beg winter sports weekend of 2024 as all the Gophers teams are back from winter break and ready to either kick off the second half of their seasons, or get into the full swing of action. Both on and off-campus there is a ton of action, so on this brutally cold weekend in the upper Midwest, here is a preview of what’s going on over the next four days and if you can’t get to campus to check out some of the events for yourself, how you can watch from the comfort of our own home!
Friday January 12th
Women’s Indoor Track and Field @ Leonard Hilton Memorial—Houston TX
The Gopher women’s indoor track and field team kicks off their 2024 schedule down in Houston at the Leonard Hilton memorial Invitational. Action began at 9 am and will continue through the rest of the day. Minnesota athletes already made some news earlier in the day as Shelby Frank and Annie Nabwe went 1-2 in the weight throw and have the #2 and #3 longest throws in the nation. Action continues through the afternoon and can be streamed for free HERE.
A few members of the Gophers track team stayed closer to home and will compete at the Tommie Invitational at St. Thomas as well. Action there kicks off at 2PM with live results HERE.
Diving @ Bruin Diving Invitational 12:30 PM @ UCLA
The Gophers divers are in LA to complete in the Bruin Diving Invitational hosted by UCLA. Both the Gophers men’s and women’s divers are at the meet. Action begins with the women’s 1 m springboard prelims at 12:30 with the men’s 3 Meter to follow. Saturday has the women’s 3 meter and the men’s and Sunday has the women’s platform and the men’s one meter. Live results can be found HERE.
Men’s Basketball @ Indiana 5:30 PM FS1
The Gopher men’s basketball team will look to try and keep their three game conference winning streak alive when they head into Assembly Hall and take on an Indiana team coming off a loss at Rutgers earlier this week. The Gophers will look for their first win over the Hoosiers since 2019 and their first win at Indiana in exactly 12 years—their most recent being January 12, 2012. Minnesota is coming off of a 65-62 win over Maryland last Sunday at the Barn. Tip is set for 5:30 and will air live on FS1 with radio on 1130 AM
Women’s Hockey vs #1 Ohio State 6 PM B1G+
The Gopher women’s hockey team is set for a #1 vs #2 matchup when they host the top ranked Ohio State Buckeyes at Ridder Arena this weekend. Minnesota went to Columbus in October and were swept by Ohio State in a pair on one goal games losing 4-3 in OT on Friday and 6-5 on Saturday. Ohio State leads the WCHA with 37 points with the Gophers in second with 33.
Ohio State is a well balanced team both offensively and defensively. They have a trio of players who have 20+ points so far this season, led by graduate senior Jennifer Gardiner with 23, graduate senior Hannah Bilka with 22 and senior Kiara Zanon with 20. Defensively, Ohio State ranks No. 6 nationally in scoring defense, allowing only 27 opponent goals this season anchored by senior goaltenders Amanda Thiele and Raygan Kirk. Minnesota is led by redshirt junior Abbey Murphy who has recorded 22 goals in 20 games so far this season to lead the nation. Sophomore Josefin Bouveng and junior Ella Huber have each registered 23 points in the first 20 games. In net the Gophers are led by junior Skylar Vetter who was named WCHA Goaltender of the Week for the eighth time in her career on Jan. 8 for her performance against UConn, stopping 23 of 24 shots faced. Vetter set the program record with 52 saves against Ohio State on Oct. 27, beating the previous record of 51 set by Noora Raty. So far this season, she has recorded two shutouts and has eight wins. Fifth-year transfer Lucy Morgan has also recorded a shutout this season and picked up eight wins, providing the Gophers high-quality depth.
It should be a great weekend of hockey between the nation’s top two teams. Faceoff is set for 6 PM and will stream on B1G+.
Men’s Hockey vs Robert Morris 7 PM Fox9+
Next door at 3M Arena at Mariucci the Gopher men will close out the non-conference portion of their schedule with Robert Morris in town. Robert Morris is back in their first year of D1 hockey since taking three seasons off when the program was originally disbanded. They bring in a young team but one that if the Gophers play up to their potential they should have no trouble earning a sweep against.
Minnesota will look to play like they did last Monday against Colorado College where they earned a 6-2 win rather than Saturday where they dropped a 6-4 decision. One player who had it going all weekend was sophomore Jimmy Snuggerud. He came off a plate late Saturday from Sweden where the US World Junior squad won a gold medal and immediately kept the fire going winning Big Ten #1 Star of the week honors with five goals and an assist in the split. He had a hat trick in Monday’s win.
Gopher Goalie Justen Close also was earning accolades this week as he was named to the watch list for the Mike Richter Award as the best goalie in the nation. He bounced back in a big was last Monday after a shaky game on Sunday.
Minnesota fans may get their first live action from backup freshman goalie Nathan Airey this week. he looked good in the exhibition win over the US U18 team on New Years Day, and this would be a good time to get him some real game action.
Faceoff is set for 7 PM on Friday with the game airing on Fox9+ in Minnesota and streaming on B1G+ for those not in he viewing area.
Saturday January 13th
Women’s Hockey vs Ohio State 2 PM Fox9+
The second game of the 31 vs #2 series between the Gophers and Buckeyes will face off at 2 PM Saturday from Ridder Arena. The game will be televised on Fox9+ in Minnesota and streamed on B1G+ as well. For fans who go to the game, they are allowed to come to the men’s game after the women’s game for free on Saturday!
Gymnastics vs Eastern Michigan 4 PM B1G+
The Gophers gymnastics team opens up their home schedule and their dual meet schedule on Saturday when eastern Michigan comes to the Pav. Minnesota started their season last weekend at the ‘Mean Girls’ Sweet 16 Invitational in Las Vegas where they won their quadrant of the competition defeated No. 13 Oregon State, No. 24 Southern Utah and No. 31 BYU. Minnesota tallied a season-opening score of 196.850, which was a program record for a season-opening road meet. Minnesota moved up to #6 in the nation after last weekend’s events. Thy were led by senior Gianna Gerdes who took home the all-around crown with a 39.425. She delivered a 9.900 on bars, 9.875’s on beam and floor and a 9.775 on vault. Minnesota also got a great performance from sophomore Brooklyn Rowray who tallying a dazzling 9.975 on the beam in her 2024 debut.
Saturday’s meet will begin at 4 PM and will stream on B1G+.
Men’s Hockey vs Robert Morris 5 PM Fox9+
The Gophers and Colonials finish their series on Saturday afternoon. Fans who attend the women’s game at 2 Pm are allowed free access to the men’s game at 5PM
Sunday January 14th
Women’s Basketball vs Nebaraska 2 PM B1G+
The Gopher women’s basketball team will look to continue their success when Nebraska comes to the Barn on Sunday afternoon. Minnesota is coming off of a 16 point win at Michigan on Wednesday night anchored by freshman Grace Grolcholski’s 16 fourth quarter points. Nebraska comes in with a record of 12-4 and a 4-1 record in the Big Ten including a home win over Maryland. The Cornhuskers most recently beat Illinois 56-48 at home on Thursday night. Nebraska is led by 6’3 center Alexis Markowski who is averaging 17.3 points per game. Sophie Hart will need to have a big game defensively for Minnesota to contain her. Minnesota has Mara Braun averaging 19.7 points per game to lead the way with a trio of others including Grocholski, Hart and Amaya Battle all in double figures as well with Mallory Heyer at 9.9 points per game. Tip is set for 2PM and the game wiil stream on B1G+
Monday January 15th
Men’s Basketball vs Iowa 5 PM BTN
The Gopher men turn around after their road trip to Indiana to host Iowa for a MLK early evening tip. It’s the start of a Gopher/Hawkeye doubleheader on BTN.
Wrestling @ Iowa 7 PM BTN
The second portion of the doubleheader comes at 7 PM as the Hawkeyes host the Gophers on the mat. Minnesota will be trying to figure out a way to upset the Hawkeyes as they have not defeated them in over 10 years.