Coming off of two wins in the Ice Breaker Tournament to open the season, Minnesota (2-0-0) heads north to Bemidji to play the Beavers in a non-conference series at Sanford Center.
Yes, non-conference. It's all a part of the changes taking place in college hockey. While Bemidji State (0-1-1) remains in the WCHA, the Gophers have moved to the Big Ten this year.
"Bemidji will be a good team," said Minnesota forward Seth Ambroz about the Beavers, who lost 3-2 and tied 2-2 to Frozen Four semifinalist St. Cloud State last weekend. "They always give us a good fight when we go up there. It'll be a fun series."
Still, the in-state rivalry exists in something more than points. For Minnesota senior Tom Serratore, this weekend is one more chance to play against his uncle, Beavers head coach Tom Serratore. (The younger Serratore's father, Frank, coaches Air Force.)
Minnesota's freshmen get their first opportunity to play on the road. The Sanford Center will be a hostile environment as 4000 fans will be cheering for Bemidji State.
For the rest of the Gophers, it's another opportunity to go against Andrew Walsh. Bemidji State lost its last 4 games in 2012-13 to Minnesota (meaning this weekend completes a stretch of 6 games in 8 against the Gophers). The junior goalie and his long hair kept the Beavers in each game - including a 49 save performance against Minnesota in the first round of last year's WCHA postseason.
Walsh gets the nod tonight for Bemidji State. So does Adam Wilcox for Minnesota.
University of Minnesota Golden Gophers
Sam Warning (#11) - Kyle Rau (#7) - Hudson Fasching (#24)
Nate Condon (#16) - Justin Kloos (#25) - Taylor Cammarata (#13)
Connor Reilly (#21) - Travis Boyd (#22) - Vinni Lettieri (#19)
Tom Serratore (#13) - A.J. Michaelson (#15) - Seth Ambroz (#17)
Mike Reilly (#5) - Jake Parenteau (#6)
Ben Marshall (#10) - Michael Brodzinski (#20)
Adam Wilcox (#32)
Michael Shibrowski (#1)
Bemidji State Beavers
Radoslav Illo - Cory Ward - Danny Mattson
Phil Marinaccio - Jeff Jubinville - Brendan Harms
Markus Gerbrandt - Nate Arentz - Phil Brewer
Charlie O'Connor - Mitch Cain - Matt Hartmann
James Hansen - Matt Prapavessis
Sam Rendle - Sam Windle
Ruslan Pedan - Greama McCormack
(s/t Jack Hittinger from the Bemidji Pioneer for the Beavers lines)
Tonight's game begins at 7:30 p.m. CT and is broadcast on Fox Sports North (Minnesota), Lakeland Public Television (Bemidji) and FCS Pacific (national).
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Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation and College Hockey News. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate