The University of Minnesota released the 2018-19 Minnesota Golden Gophers hockey schedule on Thursday. The schedule will include the 24 Big Ten conference games, home and home series against two instate rivals, a Hall of Fame Game in Las Vegas against a very familiar foe, and the first trip to Mariucci for a new and up and coming team.
Minnesota will begin its season on Saturday October 6th against a very familiar foe. Minnesota will head north up I-35 to Duluth for the first game of a home and home series against the Bulldogs. The defending NCAA Champs will get to drop their banner against their hated big brother. I’m guessing they will be a little excited for that game. The two teams will head back south after the game and will play the second game of the series at Mariucci on Sunday.
Then the Gophers schedule gets weird. Thanks to Minnesota trying to get out of a scheduled road trip to upstate New York to play Clarkson and St. Lawrence, they Gophers had some rather large holes in their schedule. Thus, Minnesota will play single exhibition games two weekends in a row. On Saturday October 13th the Gophers will head to Michigan to play AT the US Under-18 Team. The following week the Gophers will host Trinity Western University, a private liberal arts school from British Columbia. Its quite unusual for Minnesota to play two exhibition games AFTER they have allready played two games that count, but thanks to UMD demanding they drop their banner against the Gophers...here we are.
Minnesota’s October gets even weirder the next week when they will play just one single game for the third week in a row. On Saturday October 27th Minnesota will travel to Las Vegas for the Hockey Hall of Fame Game against North Dakota. Yes, the two midwest rivals will play one game in Sin City. Seems stupid doesn’t yet. Blame North Dakota—its their “home” game...the Gophers are just along for the ride.
Minnesota finally gets back to a “normal” schedule the following week. Minnesota will play a home and home series against former WCHA rival Minnesota State-Mankato. Friday the teams will be in Minneapolis with Saturday in Mankato.
The following weekend Minnesota will begin Big Ten play with a trip to Madison to face the Wisconsin Badgers. The conference grind is just one week this time as the Gophers will host St. Lawrence the week after the Badger series. Minnesota then completes the first half of the season with three more Big Ten series—home for Michigan State and Ohio State and a road trip to Ann Arbor to face Michigan.
The Mariucci Classic is one again not happening next season. Minnesota will fill the hole in their schedule by hosting a series against Ferris State on the usual weekend of the classic between Christmas and New Years. It also is the beginning of ten straight weekends of hockey for Minnesota. They have no bye week in the second half of the season and will be in action from December until March. The Gophers will have nine consecutive Big Ten series after the Ferris State series and will end the conference slate at home against Notre Dame on February 22-23.
The Gophers will have one last series after the completion of Big Ten play. With seven teams in the Big Ten, one team is destined to have their conference “bye” week on the last week of the regular season. Minnesota drew the short straw this season. But instead of sitting out and taking a bye week a week before the opening weekend of the Big Ten Tournament, the Gophers will host Arizona State. The Sun Devils will make their inaugural trip to Mariucci with many Gophers fans hoping that Minnesota will make a return trip to Tempe in the middle of the season in 2019-20.
A few weekends of note:
The Gophers have two series that will overlap with home football weekends. The opening weekend of the season against UMD is the same weekend as the homecoming game against Iowa. The hockey series will avoid a conflict with a Saturday game in Duluth and a Sunday game in Minneapolis. The other weekend with a conflict will be the November 16-17 home series against St. Lawrence. The football team is playing Northwestern on Saturday, so depending on the time of the football game it is definitely possible the Saturday hockey game could move to Sunday.
The Gophers have two road back-to-back series in the Big Ten in the second half of the season. Minnesota will take trips to Notre Dame and Michigan State on back to back weekends in January and will make back to back trips to Penn State and Ohio State in February.
The Gophers will play four straight weekends in October, but only have three games that will actually count in their official record, and only play two games at Mariucci Arena. It’s definitely the weirdest start to the season that I can remember.
For the second year in a row it is fairly likely that the Gophers will have no role in Hockey Day in Minnesota. The traditional weekend the event usually falls on will see the Gophers on the road in either East Lansing or South Bend—games that FSN will not pick up one would expect. If it would be in late January, it is possible that the Gophers home series against Wisconsin could be a part of the event.
The full schedule is below. Game times and TV will be announced in September sometime.
The full 2018-19 #Gophers schedule is now available with 11 nonconference games and 2 exhibition contests added to the 24-game Big Ten schedule.— Minnesota M Hockey (@GopherHockey) May 24, 2018
Release: https://t.co/P0a7CTRSsr pic.twitter.com/IuLLvI3x95