7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday at Michigan
TV; radio: BTN; 1130-AM, 103.5-FM
Breaking on a positive note
Preview: The final series left before a two-week holiday break for college hockey is an important one for the Gophers (4-6-3, 2-2-2 Big Ten), who would like to sweep their first weekend as an early present. But No. 15 Michigan (6-6-3, 2-3-3-1) presents a tough environment at Yost Ice Arena. Gophers coach Bob Motzko recalled a time playing there when he was an assistant at Miami (Ohio) and his team lost 12-2 and the crowd chanted “Pizza!” because everyone with a ticket won free pizza if the home team won by 10 goals. “Great, great atmosphere,” the coach said.
Quotable: “We’re ending the first half, and it’s always something you want to go into the break feeling good about where we’re at. Second half, we really want to make a push. And no better way to start that then a couple big wins on the road before break.” – Gophers senior winger Brent Gates Jr.
One to watch: Michigan’s Quinn Hughes is tied for third in the nation among defensemen in points per game at 1.27. The sophomore has “oodles and oodles of talent and confidence,” according to Motzko, who coached Hughes on the U.S.’s junior team.
Ranta’s case of the Mondays: On Monday, freshman winger Sampo Ranta not only scored a goal but also earned a call-up. First he received delayed credit for Sam Rossini’s Saturday goal against Ohio State, as the puck deflected off Ranta’s leg. Then he learned he would be part of Finland’s camp for selecting the country’s IIHF World Junior Championship team, meaning he’ll spend his break fighting for a spot on that roster. “It’s a great opportunity, and some would say a dream come true for me,” Ranta said. “It’s going to be fun for sure, but we have Michigan this week. So let’s worry about World Juniors later.” Freshman forward Sammy Walker made the U.S. team’s preliminary roster.