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Pride on Ice Preview: Gophers, Penn State Face Off at Pegula Ice Arena

02/17/2017, 1:00am CST
By Grant Erickson and Travis Erickson

No. 5 Minnesota (18-8-2 overall, 9-3-0 Big Ten) vs. No. 8/9 Penn State (18-6-2 overall, 7-4-1 Big Ten)

Date: Friday, Feb. 17, 2017
Location: Pegula Ice Arena | University Park, Pa.
Puck Drop: 5:30 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network
Stream: BTN2Go
Radio: 1500 ESPN, Gopher Radio Network

Date: Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017
Location: Pegula Ice Arena | University Park, Pa.
Puck Drop: 7:00 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network
Stream: BTN2Go
Radio: 1500 ESPN, Gopher Radio Network

INSIDE THE MATCHUP
It wasn’t that long ago these high-scoring teams met. Penn State and Minnesota faced off just two weeks ago with the Gophers earning an impressive sweep, 5-1 and 5-2 over the Nittany Lions.

It’s yet another top offensive matchup this weekend. Penn State remains the top offensive team in the country with 4.27 goals per game, while the Gophers are 4th with 3.89.

What makes Penn State so effective on offense is their shot production. They lead the country with 1204 shots on the year. That’s 44 shots more than the No. 2 team, Michigan Tech,  despite PSU playing 10 fewer games.

The Nittany Lions are led by forward Denis Smirnov. The Russian-born freshman has 14 goals and 34 points on the year - matching Justin Kloos’ goal and assist numbers despite two fewer games. Smirnov was the Big Ten’s first star of the week with a five-point weekend against Wisconsin.

Thankfully, the Gophers boast the top scorer in the conference in Tyler Sheehy. The sophomore leads the Big Ten with 41 points and is third with 17 goals.

It’s a big weekend for Minnesota’s postseason hopes. They’re currently in great position at 4th in the pairwise rankings, and a win or two over No. 6 Penn St. can go a long way come tournament time.

STORYLINE CENTRAL
Jill Beckman of The Daily Collegian chronicles
Penn State’s impressive freshmen stepping up following the team’s disappointing stretch.

Chris Taylor of Black Shoe Diary takes a good look at all things Penn State hockey. The highly ranked Nittany Lions are already thinking about their postseason aspirations.

Hey, remember when the Gophers swept Penn State two weeks ago? If not, here are some highlights.

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Tag(s): Gopher Football