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GOPHERS MEN’S HOCKEY PREVIEW

Friday: 8 p.m., Saturday: 6 p.m., vs. Wisconsin

TV: BTN. Radio 103.5-FM, 1130-AM

Gophers update: Minnesota (13-5, 8-2 Big Ten, 24 points) closes the unofficial first half of the season with a Border Battle series against Wisconsin. The Gophers have won nine of their past 11 games and are coming off a road sweep of Michigan State by 5-0 and 6-3 scores. “We’ve been in a good spot for a while except for the little vacation we took,” coach Bob Motzko said, referring to the split at Arizona State over Thanksgiving weekend. The Gophers had the Big Ten’s First and Third Stars of the Week in goalie Justen Close (25-save shutout, 40-save win) and forward Logan Cooley (two goals, three assists on the weekend). Cooley (7-14-21) centers a dominant top line that includes fellow freshman Jimmy Snuggerud (11-12-23) and sophomore Matthew Knies (11-8-19). Close is 10-5 with a 2.12 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and three shutouts.

Wisconsin update: The Badgers (7-9, 1-7, three points) are coming off a split at Michigan, earning their first Big Ten win of the season. They’re 5-1 in their past six games with sweeps of Lindenwood and Long Island after losing eight of 10 games to start the season. Freshman forward Cruz Lucius, a former Gophers recruit from Grant, Minn., leads Wisconsin in scoring with seven goals and five assists. Freshman forward Charlie Stramel of Rosemount supplies a physical presence at 6-3 and 215 pounds. He leads the Badgers with 27 penalty minutes. Senior goalie Jared Moe, a former Gopher from New Prague, is 6-7 with a 2.79 GAA , .915 save percentage and one shutout in 13 starts.

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