GOPHERS MEN'S HOCKEY SERIES PREVIEW
Home series vs. Notre Dame, 3M Arena at Mariucci; Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV, radio: Friday, Fox 9, Saturday, Fox 9+; 1130-AM, 103.5-FM
For the fans: Saturday is Country Night, with free cowboy hats for the first 1,500 U students. There also is a post-game autograph session Saturday.
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Rachel Blount's preview:
Opening bell: The No. 6 Gophers (5-3-2, 1-2-1 Big Ten) have had the upper hand on Notre Dame lately, with only one loss in the teams' past 10 meetings. They've outscored the Irish 32-10 in that span, which includes four shutouts. Though 17th-ranked Notre Dame (6-3-2, 2-0-2) has lost its past four games at 3M Arena at Mariucci, the Irish come in on a hot streak, riding a six-game unbeaten streak into the national polls.
Watch him: Jimmy Clark might be a freshman, but he hasn't looked like one. The Gophers rookie center made an immediate impression and has picked up steam, with three goals and two assists in his past six games.
Forecast: The Gophers have finished each of the past two weekends with a victory and a tie. Their second sweep of the season is within reach, but they'll have to crack a tough Irish defense to get it. Notre Dame goaltender Ryan Bischel ranks second in the nation with a .941 save percentage, and the Irish are among the top 10 in scoring defense (2.2 goals per game) and on the penalty kill (89.5%).
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