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Pride on Ice Preview: Gophers Back in Happy Valley for B1G Playoffs

03/02/2018, 12:15am CST
By Grant Erickson and Travis Erickson

No. 11 Minnesota (19-15-2 overall, 10-12-2-1 B1G) vs No. 15/13 Penn State (16-13-5 overall, 9-10-5-2 B1G)

Date: Friday, Mar. 2, 2018
Location: Pegula Ice Arena | University Park, Pa.
Puck Drop: 6:00 p.m. CT
TV: FOX Sports North PLUS
Stream: BTN2Go | FOX Sports GO
Radio: 1130 KTLK AM | 103.5 FM | Listen Online

Date: Saturday, Mar. 3, 2018
Location: Pegula Ice Arena | University Park, Pa.
Puck Drop: 6:00 p.m. CT
TV: Fox Sports North
Stream: BTN2Go | FOX Sports GO
Radio: 1130 KTLK AM | 103.5 FM | Listen Online

Date: Sunday, Mar. 4, 2018
Location: Pegula Ice Arena | University Park, Pa.
Puck Drop: 6:00 p.m. CT
TV: Fox Sports North
Stream: BTN2Go | FOX Sports GO
Radio: 1130 KTLK AM | 103.5 FM | Listen Online

INSIDE THE MATCHUP
Well, this week’s preview shouldn’t look that much different than last week. After getting swept by Penn State last weekend, the Gophers will head back to State College for the Big Ten quarterfinals.

It’s certainly not ideal for Minnesota. They needed just one point against the Nittany Lions a week ago to secure a home series in the opening round. Instead, they got destroyed 5-1 and 5-2. Not only that, Penn State outshot Minnesota 61-15 on Friday. No, that’s not a typo.

Despite the deflating performance last week, the Gophers still sit in a good position to make the NCAA Tournament. They remain 9th in the pairwise but will need a better weekend to stay in the hunt. According to CollegeHockeyRanked, if they lose both games, they could fall anywhere between 11 and 15.

If the Gophers win the best-of-three series, it will help their postseason chances, but the road to a Big Ten title includes an even tougher matchup. A win means they’re on the road next week at Notre Dame for the semis. That’s never an easy matchup, especially this year.

One bright spot for Minnesota heading into the weekend is Brent Gates Jr. The big forward is on a hot streak, potting a goal in four of his last five games to help give him a career-high 26 points on the year.

STORYLINE CENTRAL
The Pioneer Press puts it well: the Gophers get a “do-over.” Andy Greder takes a look at Minnesota’s attempt to bounce back.

Mikey Mandarino of Onward State previews the series from the eyes of the Nittany Lions. His prediction is the Gophers will steal a game, but ultimately fall in the best-of-three series.

Here’s some highlights of a happier time when the Gophers beat PSU.

QUOTE
Tyler Sheehy

On PSU going for the kill this weekend:
“I just think we have a lot more to give. Like I said, this last month we’ve been playing some really good hockey and I think even with that, we have more to give. We understand our power play can be better, our offense can be better. This past weekend we gave up a lot of goals which is uncharacteristic of us this season so they might think that, but we just have a lot more to give.”

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Tag(s): Gopher Football