'U' Opens B1G Playoffs at PSU
March 1, 2018

 2018 BIG TEN QUARTERFINAL SERIES (BEST OF THREE) 
 Game One No. 11 Minnesota vs. No. 15/13 Penn State
    Date Friday, March 2, 2018
    Time 6:00 p.m. CT
    TV FOX Sports North PLUS
    Stream BTN2Go | FOX Sports GO
    Radio 1130 KTLK AM | 103.5 FM | Listen Online
    Live Stats Gametracker
    Live Updates Gopher Hockey Live
 Game Two No. 11 Minnesota vs. No. 15/13 Penn State
   Date Saturday, March 3, 2018
   Time 6:00 p.m. CT
   TV FOX Sports North
   Stream BTN2Go | FOX Sports GO
   Radio 1130 KTLK AM | 103.5 FM | Listen Online
   Live Stats Gametracker
   Live Updates Gopher Hockey Live
 Game Three (If Necessary) No. 11 Minnesota vs. No. 15/13 Penn State
   Date Sunday, March 4, 2018
   Time 6:00 p.m. CT
   TV FOX Sports North
   Stream BTN2Go | FOX Sports GO
   Radio 1130 KTLK AM | 103.5 FM | Listen Online
   Live Stats Gametracker
   Live Updates Gopher Hockey Live
 Location Pegula Ice Arena | University Park, Pa.
 Game Notes Minnesota | Penn State | Big Ten
 Social Media @GopherHockey | Facebook | Instagram

MINNEAPOLIS -- The No. 11 Gopher Hockey program kicks off the 2018 Big Ten Tournament this weekend with a best-of-three quarterfinal series at No. 15/13 Penn State. Game One is slated for Friday, March 2 followed by Game Two on Saturday, March 3 and Game Three (if necessary) on Sunday, March 4. All three games will be played at Pegula Ice Arena with 6 p.m. CT puck drops.


Familiar Foe
The Gophers opened conference play against the Nittany Lions in early October at 3M Arena at Mariucci and then did not see Penn State for more than four months until last weekend's regular-season finale in University Park, Pa. Now the Maroon & Gold will head back to Pegula Ice Arena for the second week in a row. Minnesota is 14-7-0 all-time against the Nittany Lions and 6-4-0 all-time at Pegula Ice Arena.

New Look to B1G Tournament
The three quarterfinal series winners from this weekend will advance to the single-game semifinal round on March 10. Notre Dame, as the tournament's No. 1 seed, receives a first round bye and will host one of the semifinal games (against the lowest remaining seed). The highest remaining seed from the quarterfinal winners will host the other advancing team in the semifinals. The highest remaining team after the semifinals will host the championship game on March 17. The tournament winner receives the Big Ten's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Broadcast information for all semifinal games and the championship game will be announced when finalized.

Gates Stays Hot
Tied for the team scoring lead with a career-best 26 points and tied for the team lead with 12 goals this year, Brent Gates Jr. has scored a goal in four of the last five games and has also notched a point in five of the last six games. The Anaheim Ducks prospect has seven points (four goals, three assists) in the last six games for the Maroon & Gold.

Bristedt Nears the 100-Point Club
With a goal last weekend at Penn State, senior forward Leon Bristedt is now two points shy of joining the Gophers' 100-Point Club (42-56--98 in 142 career games). The senior forward and alternate captain would be the 85th member of the 100-Point Club and the third Gopher to hit the milestone this year (Tyler Sheehy, Mike Szmatula).

Novak Dishes for Minnesota
Junior forward Tommy Novak leads Minnesota with a career-best 23 assists this year while he is tied for the team lead with 26 points. The Anaheim Ducks prospect needs one point to tie his single-season career best for points (27 as a freshman in 2015-16) while Novak has tallied a point in five of the last six games (seven points...all assists...in that stretch).

Seeler Gives `U' 23 NHL Alums This Year
Nick Seeler made his NHL debut with the Minnesota Wild earlier this month as the Gopher Hockey program has now seen 23 alums play in the NHL this year -- a figure that leads all college hockey programs (See Gophers in the Pros). Seeler is the 117th Gopher Hockey player to play in the NHL and is the fifth alum to make his NHL debut this season -- joining Justin Holl (Toronto Maple Leafs), Justin Kloos (Minnesota Wild), Vinni Lettieri (New York Rangers) and Travis Boyd (Washington Capitals).

NHL Gophers on the Move
A trio of Gopher Hockey alums in the NHL were moved at the NHL trade deadline while a current Gopher had his NHL rights moved earlier this week. Among the alums that were moved were Gopher All-Americans Thomas Vanek (Vancouver Canucks to Columbus Blue Jackets) and Mike Reilly (Minnesota Wild to Montreal Canadiens) while Mark Alt was claimed off waivers by the Colorado Avalanche from the Philadelphia Flyers. Meanwhile, current Gopher sophomore Ryan Lindgren saw his rights traded from the Boston Bruins to the New York Rangers.

Lindgren, Mittelstadt Help U.S. to Bronze Medal
Sophomore Ryan Lindgren and freshman Casey Mittelstadt helped the 2018 U.S. National Junior Team to a bronze medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y. Lindgren, who helped the U.S. claim gold last year, served as an alternate captain for the team while Gopher Hockey alum Grant Potulny served as an assistant coach for the U.S. The University of Minnesota has now been represented at 40 of the 42 IIHF World Junior Championships dating back to the inaugural event in 1977. Mittelstadt was voted the Most Valuable Player of the tournament after leading the event with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in seven games.1-3-0 in Big Ten games

Lucia Wins 450th Game with Gophers
Minnesota head coach Don Lucia became the first coach in Gopher Hockey history to win 450 games with the program in December as the Maroon & Gold took down Army West Point 4-1 at 3M Arena at Mariucci. Lucia is the winningest coach in program history with a 457-246-73 mark with the Gophers and a 736-401-102 career record.

Stoa Named to U.S. Olympic Squad
First Team All-American alum and former captain Ryan Stoa will represent the Gophers on the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men's Team at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. Stoa skated in 120 career games with 97 points (47 goals, 50 assists) from 2005-2009 and currently skates for Spartak Moskva in the KHL. Additionally, Gopher Hockey alums Robb Stauber (head coach) and Bret Strot (associate head coach) will be on staff for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Women's Team. Gopher Hockey has featured at least one representative (player or coach) at every Olympic Games since 1936.

Big Ten's Best
In addition to the first four regular-season titles in Big Ten Conference history, Minnesota also boasts a conference-best record of 64-31-8-2 in 104 regular-season games since the inaugural year of Big Ten play in 2013-14. The Gophers also boast an impressive 36-11-4-0 mark in conference games on home ice.

Gophers in the NHL Draft
Fourteen current Gophers have had their names called at the NHL Entry Draft including newcomers Casey Mittelstadt (2017, 1st Round, eighth overall), Clayton Phillips (2017, 3rd round, 93rd overall), Scott Reedy (2017, 4th Round, 102nd overall) and Connor Hurley (2013, 2nd Round, 38th overall). Mittelstadt is Minnesota's highest active draft pick, the 20th First Round selection in program history and the team's highest draft pick since 2006. Eleven NHL teams hold draft rights for Gophers, led by the Nashville Predators, the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Rangers with two each. The NHL rights to sophomore defenseman Ryan Lindgren were traded to the New York Rangers earlier this week from the Boston Bruins at the NHL Trade Deadline.

Our Home, Our Hockey
The Gophers boast an all-time record of 337-134-48 in the 24-year history of 3M Arena at Mariucci (formerly Mariucci Arena). Since the start of the 2011-12 season, the Maroon & Gold lead the NCAA in home wins (97) and home winning percentage (.758). Minnesota is 36-11-4-0 in Big Ten games on home ice including one victory at TCF Bank Stadium for the 2014 Hockey City Classic.

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