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Big Ten Hockey Preview: Minnesota plays UMD...again (October 16-17)

Also Wisconsin heads to Boston, Michigan State goes to Denver and Michigan finally opens its season in this week's Big Ten non-conference slate.

UMD's Kasimir Kaskisuo and Andy Welinski at this point could be honorary Big Ten members.
UMD's Kasimir Kaskisuo and Andy Welinski at this point could be honorary Big Ten members.
Matt Christians/SBN College Hockey

Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth share several things: a university system, school colors (maroon and gold), 0-1-0 records this season, and increasingly the same ice. This weekend will be the the sixth and seventh time in 11 months both schools play one another in hockey.

No team has faced the Gophers more in that stretch, including the other 5 Big Ten schools.

Friday' game is in Minneapolis while Saturday's return trip goes to Duluth. The Gophers have spent the first part of the week practicing on the small ice and Thursday on its home sheet, Olympic-sized Mariucci Arena.

The two schools are no longer in the same conference (UMD plays in the NCHC after years of being in the WCHA together), but meet up more often than when they were. Last season saw the Gophers play UMD five times across three states and five venues. The Bulldogs won the final four contests of the year and ended Minnesota's season with a 4-1 victory in the NCAA Tournament.

UMD scored three first period goals, putting the game out of reach before the Gophers were able to spend an intermission adjusting.

"I think we started out with a good push right out of the gate and once we had a couple bad bounces we kind of just laid off the gas pedal and let (Duluth) take the game to us," said sophomore defenseman Ryan Collins about the last loss. "That's something we want to focus on this weekend is taking our game to them."

Not everything is familiar. Minnesota had seven newcomers play in a season-opening loss to Vermont that missed out on the five game frenzy in 2014-15. As the team works on communicating and finding chemistry, the team sees this as a new year.

There hasn't been much talk of how last year ended throughout the week, according to Connor Reilly.

"They're fast, they're experienced," was how he described this weekend's opponent. "It's going to be an absolute war. We're excited playing these guys and know they like playing us. We're really looking forward to this weekend."

Minnesota isn't the only team returning to the scene of the crime in non-conference play. Wisconsin (0-0-2) heads to Boston, It is a place where the Badgers would like to forget the last trip. This weekend's opponents, Boston College and Boston University, defeated Wisconsin by a combined 16-5 score.

Of course UW and BC also have some recent championship history against one another with the two teams splitting titles in 2006 and 2010. That last trip also was a precursor to the Badgers turning things and ending the season as a top seed in the NCAA Tournament.

While that is all in the past, Wisconsin will be tested after coming back to tie Northern Michigan twice because this the first road trip for Mike Eaves' young freshmen. Playing two of the top schools in Hockey East is a difficult learning curve. There will be plenty to learn about this year's Badgers. Adam Miller gets the start Friday.

Ohio State (0-2-0) plays Miami in a home-and-home series. The RedHawks swept OSU when the two teams played last year as the Buckeyes are coming off being swept by Bowling Green in another home-and-home.

Michigan opens the season against Mercyhurst at Yost Arena. No team has played more games than the Lakers, already four games into the season. For the Wolverines, this weekend is a chance to get on the right foot in non-conference play after some struggles have cost Michigan in recent years.

Michigan State (1-0-1) heads to Denver for a road series against a top NCHC team in the Pioneers. Last, but certainly not least, Penn State (1-0-0) is hosting Notre Dame in State College for the first time. Along the same lines as Wisconsin, this weekend's test against Notre Dame will tell us some more about Nittany Lions. With the Big Ten needing conference wins, any over Hockey East or NCHC teams are ones that look good on a resume.

Friday October 16

Notre Dame @ Penn State - Pegula Ice Arena, State College, PA

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV: None

Radio: Penn State Sports Network

Stream: GOPSUNow (Free)

Wisconsin @ Boston College - Kelly Rink, Chestnut Hill, MA

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m .CT

TV: None

Radio WIBA AM 1310 (Madison)/WEEI AM (Boston)

Stream: BCEagles.tv ($$$)

Miami @ Ohio State - Value City Arena, Columbus, OH

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV: None

Radio: 1460 AM (Columbus)

Stream: None

Mercyhurst @ Michigan - Yost Ice Arena, Ann Arbor, MI

Time: 7:35 p.m. ET

TV: None

Radio: IMG Sports Network

Stream: BTN Plus ($$$)

Minnesota Duluth @ Minnesota - Mariucci Arena, Minneapolis, MN

Time: 7:00 p.m. CT

TV: Fox Sports North

Radio: 1500 ESPN (Twin Cities)/92.1 The Fan (Duluth)

Stream: BTN2Go/Fox Sports Go (Free)

Michigan State @ Denver - Magness Arena, Denver, CO

Time: 9:30 p.m. ET

TV: Root Sports Rocky Mountain

Radio: WJIM AM 1240 (East Lansing)/Spartan Sports Network

Stream: None

Saturday October 17

Notre Dame @ Penn State - Pegula Ice Arena, State College, PA

Time: 3:00 p.m .ET

TV: None

Radio: WRSC 103.1 FM State College

Stream GOPSUNow (Free)

Mercyhurst @ Michigan - Yost Ice Arena, Ann Arbor, MI

Time: 5:00 p.m. ET

TV: None

Radio: IMG Sports Network

Stream: BTN2Go ($$$)

Wisconsin @ Boston University - Agganis Arena, Boston , MA

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m .CT

TV: None

Radio: WIBA 1310 AM (Madison)/TSRN (Boston)

Stream: Terrier TV ($$$)

Ohio State @ Miami - Goggin Ice Center, Oxford, OH

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

TV: None

Radio: 1460 AM Columbus

Stream: NCHC.TV

Minnesota @ Minnesota Duluth - Amsoil Arena, Duluth, MN

Time: 7:00 p.m. CT

TV: Fox Sports North

Radio: 1500 ESPN (Twin Cities)/92.1 The Fan (Duluth)

Stream: Fox Sports Go

Michigan State @ Denver - Magness Arena, Denver, CO

Time: 9:00 p.m. ET

TV: None

Radio: WVFN AM 730 (East Lansing)/Spartan Sports Network

Stream: NCHC.TV

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Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation mostly covering both the University of Minnesota and Big Ten. You can also follow him on Twitter --