Notre Dame Hockey Preview vs. Minnesota
WHO: Notre Dame (16-11-3, 9-9-2-2 Big Ten) vs. Minnesota (13-14-4, 10-9-3-0 Big Ten).
WHERE: 3M Arena at Mariucci (10,000); Minneapolis, Minn.
WHEN: Friday at 9 p.m. EST; Saturday at 5:30 p.m. EST.
TV: Friday Big Ten Network (BTN); Saturday FOX Sports North (FSN).
STREAMING: BTN2Go both nights; FOX Sports Saturday.
RADIO: WZOC-FM (94.3) and UND.com.
PAIRWISE: Notre Dame 17th, and Minnesota tied for 21st in latest rankings that mimic those used by NCAA Selection Committee to choose 16 teams for the NCAA Tournament that begins March 28.
RANKINGS: Notre Dame No. 16 in USCHO.com (media) poll.
RIVALRY: Minnesota leads series 29-18-3 after 5-1, 2-1 sweep of Notre Dame Jan. 11-12 in South Bend … Gophers are 18-9-2 versus the Irish in Minneapolis.
RACE: Ohio State, with 41 points, leads Big Ten and is eight points ahead of Minnesota, with Notre Dame (31), Michigan (30) and Penn State (29) still having shots at the title because each has four games remaining, and Minnesota, which is out of title contention, has only two. … Buckeyes would clinch regular-season title and first-round playoff bye with two points Friday at Michigan (to eliminate Wolverines and Nittany Lions). A victory eliminates all pursuers.
SHAVINGS: Big Ten Stars of the Week — all freshmen — performing this weekend on Olympic sheet (200 feet by 100 feet) at Mariucci: Minnesota forwards Nathan Burke (first) and Scott Reedy (third) and Notre Dame forward Michael Graham (second). Graham had two goals Saturday for team-leading 11, 10 since Jan. 18 (the most in Division I), and he’s fourth in scoring with 19 points. … Defenseman Bobby Nardella paces Irish in scoring with seven goals and team-high 22 assists for 29 points. … Junior Cale Morris (2.32 goals-against average) figures to get Friday start, but sophomore Dylan St. Cyr (2.02) got victory last Saturday. … Gophers’ Burke had two goals and two assists versus Buckeyes while Reedy had goals in both games. … Junior Rem Pitlick (17-20-37) has scored in 13 straight games for Gophers. … Senior captain Tyler Sheehy (11-25-36) has 144 points in 142 career games. … Junior goalie Mat Robson (3.09 average) won both games against Irish in January and split Ohio State series with senior Eric Schierhorn (2.57 average). … Bob Motzko’s Gophers are 7-7-2 at home; Jeff Jackson’s Irish 8-4-2 away from Compton.
QUOTING JACKSON: “(The Gophers are) much more structured defensively but still a great transition team. They’ve got a lot of offensive depth. They frustrated Ohio State in their building by the high trap they play in the neutral zone, and they’re blocking a lot of shots. They are probably on the cusp of going on a roll.”
— Compiled by John Fineran