'U' Closes Out First Half at OSU
Dec. 6, 2017

 2017-18 Gopher Hockey
 Game 19 No. 7 Minnesota vs. No. 15/13 Ohio State
    Date Friday, Dec. 8, 2017
    Time 5:30 p.m. CT
    TV Big Ten Network
    Stream BTN2Go
    Radio 1130 KTLK AM | 103.5 FM | Listen Online
 Game 20 No. 7 Minnesota vs. No. 15/13 Ohio State
   Date Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017
   Time 7:00 p.m. CT
   TV Big Ten Network
   Stream BTN2Go
   Radio 1130 KTLK AM | 103.5 FM | Listen Online
 Location Value City Arena | Columbus, Ohio
 Tickets GopherSports.com/Tickets
 Gopher Hockey Live Game 19 | Game 20
 Game Notes Minnesota | Ohio State | Big Ten
 Social Media @GopherHockey | Facebook | Instagram
 Fan Information Tickets Local Weather | Parking | Preferred Hotels

MINNEAPOLIS -- The No. 7 Gopher Hockey program closes out the first half this weekend with a two-game series at No. 15/13 Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. The Big Ten battle kicks off on Friday, Dec. 8 at 5:30 p.m. CT (BTN, BTN2Go, 1130 KTLK-AM/103.5 FM) with the series finale set for Saturday, Dec. 9 at 7:00 p.m. CT (BTN, BTN2Go, 1130 KTLK-AM/103.5 FM).

Johnson Set for 100th Game
Senior defenseman Steve Johnson should skate in his 100th career game this weekend for the Gophers when they take on the Buckeyes. Johnson has 34 points (five goals, 29 assists) in 99 career games and is on pace for a career year in terms of offensive production with nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 18 games this years (Johnson recorded 14 points -- all assists -- in 37 games last year. The senior notched two assists last Saturday for his first multi-point game of the season and the third of his career. Johnson had a career-high three assists in the last meeting between the two teams -- a 6-5 Gophers win in Columbus on Feb. 11, 2017.

Szmatula Joins Gophers 100-Point Club
Senior forward Mike Szmatula scored Minnesota's opening goal last Friday for his 100th career point (43 goals, 57 assists) in 119 games. The forward is the 83rd member of Minnesota's 100-Point Club. Szmatula, who has three goals in the last three games, has seven points (five goals, two assists) in 18 games this year and has 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 46 games with the Gophers after transferring to the program from Northeastern.

Strength of Schedule
Minnesota enters the week with the fifth-toughest strength of schedule in college hockey as 14 of the program's first 18 games have come against nationally ranked teams. Things won't get any easier for the Maroon & Gold to close out the first half as they travel to No. 15/13 Ohio State this weekend. Sixteen of Minnesota's 20 games in the first half will come against nationally ranked teams.

Against the Buckeyes
Minnesota owns a 26-5-1 all-time record against Ohio State including a 7-2-1 mark on the road. The last time the Gophers played in Columbus, the team scored a school-record six power-play goals to pick up a 6-5 win on Feb. 11, 2017. Team captain Tyler Sheehy leads all active Gophers with 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in nine career games against the Buckeyes. Two-time Big Ten Goaltender of the Year Eric Schierhorn owns a 7-2-0 record against this weekend's opponent. The Gophers enter the weekend with a 1-5-1 record on the road while Ohio State is 1-3-3 at home this season.

Zuhlsdorf Adds Offense on Blue Line
Sophomore Ryan Zuhlsdorf ranks second among Gophers defensemen (Johnson) with eight points (all assists) this year -- a new career high for both points and assists. Zuhlsdorf notched a pair of assists in last Friday's win over Wisconsin. After scoring a goal in his first two games with the Gophers, Zuhlsdorf has the longest active goal drought for Minnesota at 53 games.

Lindgren, Mittelstadt Named to USA WJC Roster
Ryan Lindgren and Casey Mittelstadt have been named to the preliminary roster for the 2018 U.S. National Junior Team ahead of the upcoming 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo. Lindgren helped the U.S. win gold at the event last year. Minnesota has been represented at 39 of 41 IIHF World Junior Championships entering this year's tournament.

Boyd Makes NHL Debut This Week
Gopher Hockey alum Travis Boyd made his NHL debut on Monday in a 4-1 win for the Washington Capitals over the San Jose Sharks. A Second Team All-Big Ten selection as a senior in 2014-15, Boyd is the 114th Gopher Hockey alum to play in the NHL and the 19th to play in the league this year. He joins Justin Kloos (Minnesota Wild) as former University of Minnesota players who have made their NHL debuts this year.

Schierhorn Climbs Gophers Records
Two-time Big Ten Goaltender of the Year Eric Schierhorn currently owns a 53-36-4 career record (10-7-1 this year). The junior is having his best year with the Gophers with a .911 save percentage and a GAA of 2.49. Schierhorn currently ranks tied for fifth in program history in shutouts (10) and ranks eighth all-time in wins (53) -- he needs one win to tie Steve DeBus for seventh all-time. Schierhorn now also ranks 9th all-time in saves (2,368). Schierhorn has started all 93 games since arriving on campus -- a stat that ranks first among active NCAA goalies and fourth all-time in NCAA history.

Gophers Picked to Repeat as B1G Champs
The Gophers made NCAA history in 2016-17 as the Maroon & Gold captured their sixth-straight regular-season conference championship including the first four conference titles in Big Ten history (Minnesota also earned WCHA regular-season titles in its final two seasons in the league). The Gophers were selected as the Big Ten favorite again in the 2017-18 Big Ten Hockey Preseason Coaches' Poll ahead of Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State.

NHL Alumni Notes
Minnesota is the only NCAA program with two alums in the top 10 for NHL scoring with Blake Wheeler tied for third (36 points) and Phil Kessel tied for fifth (34 points). The Gophers also boast the second leading scorer among NHL defensemen in Nick Leddy (23 points).

Sheehy Steps Up as Captain
Forward Tyler Sheehy had one of the best individual seasons in recent program history during the 2016-17 campaign. A First Team All-America, the Big Ten Player of the Year and a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, Sheehy tallied 53 points (20 goals, 33 assists) -- the most points in a season by a Gopher since Ryan Potulny notched 63 during the 2005-06 season. Now a junior, Sheehy will serve as team captain for Minnesota this year while Mike Szmatula, Leon Bristedt and Ryan Lindgren will serve as alternate captains.

Gophers, 3M Announce Sponsorship Agreement
On July 10, 2017, the University of Minnesota and 3M announced a new sponsorship agreement -- the latest in a 90-year relationship between two of the state's largest institutions. The 14-year, $11.2 million sponsorship of Gopher Athletics includes the naming rights to what was previously known as Mariucci Arena. Keeping the historic Mariucci name, the Gopher Hockey facility will now be known as 3M Arena at Mariucci.

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 58-24-8-1 in 90 regular-season games since the inaugural year of Big Ten play in 2013-14. The Gophers also boast an impressive 34-8-3-0 mark in conference games on home ice and have set and matched a conference single-season record with 14 wins in 2013-14, 2015-16 and 2016-17

Gophers in the NHL Draft
Thirteen current Gophers have had their names called at the NHL Entry Draft including newcomers Casey Mittelstadt (2017, 1st Round, eighth overall), Scott Reedy (2017, 4th Round, 102nd overall) and Connor Hurley (2013, 2nd Round, 38th overall). Mittelstadt is Minnesota's highest current 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 and the Buffalo Sabres with two each.

Our Home, Our Hockey
The Gophers boast an all-time record of 332-131-48 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 (92) and home winning percentage (.758). Minnesota is 34-8-3-0 in Big Ten games on home ice including one victory at TCF Bank Stadium for the 2014 Hockey City Classic.




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