It's Gopher Weekend! The No. 15 Mavericks will host No. 7 Minnesota at the Verizon Center on Friday night, and the series will move to Mariucci Arena on Saturday. Folks in Mankato are expecting a full house tonight; hopefully the weather doesn't keep ticket-holders away.
These are always games that fans circle on the calendar. Possibly players and coaches, too. In-state bragging rights are always on the line when the Minnesota teams play each other. All five Division I teams currently are ranked in the top 15, something, The New York Times even noted this week.
Tonight's game will be on both Fox Sports North, with former MSU defenseman Andy Hedlund helping with the broadcast, and Charter. Unfortunately, Saturday's game will not be televised but available on the Big Ten Network's streaming service.
For more on the series, see The Free Press' College Hockey Gameday.
Going around the WCHA ...
Northern Michigan at Bemidji State: The Beavers return home with their undefeated conference record to host the Wildcats. The Bemidji Pioneer profiles the player whose overtime goal on Saturday kept their streak alive. Northern Michigan, meanwhile, enters the series having won just once in its last six games.
Bowling Green at Alabama Huntsville: The Falcons appear to have righted their ship after starting the season 0-6-1. They are 4-1-0 in their last five and getting good play from upperclassmen such as Brett D'Andrea, according to bgsuhockey.com. The Chargers, like Minnesota State, are hoping to bounce back from a one-point home weekend.
Lake Superior State at Ferris State: The Lakers were the surprise team of the WCHA early but have lost three games in a row. They head to Big Rapids where the Bulldogs are playing better hockey after their eight-game winless start.
Michigan Tech at Alaska Anchorage: The Huskies have won five of their last six games and are embarking on a two-weekend Alaska trip. Last Friday, Tech coach Mel Pearson won his 100th game since returning to his alma mater. Anchorage, meanwhile has won just once this season, and the beat-up Seawolves enter the weekend on a six-game losing streak.
Read more about the WCHA in this week's USCHO column.