Breaking Down The 2012-13 Schedule

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Go Gophers! Mariucci Arena
Go Gophers!
Minnesota will open the 2012-13 season at home against Michigan State. It will be the third time that the Gophers will begin a season against the Spartans (1960-61 and 1979-80).
Go Gophers!
Minnesota announced its 2012-13 schedule yesterday, so we decided to break down the 36-game schedule for you. Here are some interesting notes that we came up with.

- Minnesota will play two exhibition games during the 2012-13 season. The Gophers will play an Oct. 6 exhibition against the Lethbridge Pronghorns, a Canadian college out of Alberta. The Gophers had previously played an exhibition game against the University of British Columbia each of the last four seasons. Minnesota last played an exhibition against Lethbridge on Oct. 8, 2006. The Gophers won that game 6-2. Minnesota will also play an exhibition game against the U.S. Under-18 Team on Oct. 26. The Gophers last played an exhibition against the U.S. Under-18 Team on Jan. 7, 2011, and won 9-0.

- The Gophers open the regular season against soon-to-be Big Ten conference rival and current CCHA member Michigan State. The last time Minnesota opened the season against a CCHA opponent was Oct. 12, 2002, when it beat Ohio State 7-2 in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game at Xcel Energy Center. This will be the third time that Minnesota will open a season against the Spartans. The Gophers beat Michigan State twice (9-8, 11-5) at home to open the 1979-80 season. Minnesota also began the 1960-61 season against the Spartans (the Gophers won those games 6-3 and 6-5 on the road).

- Minnesota will open the season at home for the third straight year. The Gophers began last season at home against Sacred Heart and opened the 2010-11 season at home against Massachusetts. Minnesota, who will host Michigan State to open the 2012-13 season, has not started three consecutive seasons at home since 1996-1998. The Gophers hosted Colorado College in 1996, welcomed Maine to Mariucci Arena in 1997 and played St. Lawrence and Ohio State in the Icebreaker Cup at Mariucci Arena in 1998.

- The Maroon and Gold will play only five regular-season games in October in the upcoming season, which is the fewest amount of October games for the Gophers since they also played five October games during the 2009-10 season. Minnesota played eight October games last year and during the 2010-11 season.

- The Gophers will make their first-ever trip to Vermont (and will play in the famed Gutterson Fieldhouse for the first time) when they travel to face the Catamounts on Nov. 23-24. It will be the third and fourth ever meeting between the schools, as they split a pair of games last year at Mariucci Arena.  

- The 2012-13 season will be the last year that Minnesota plays as a member of the WCHA conference. The Gophers, who will compete in the new Big Ten hockey conference in 2013-14, will play their final 28 games as a WCHA member this year. Minnesota will play conference road games at Alaska Anchorage, Michigan Tech and Colorado College. The 2012-13 season could be the last time that Minnesota travels to these three schools in the immediate future.

- The Gophers will play eight of their first nine road games outside the state of Minnesota this year. The lone exception is a back end of a home-and-home date at Minnesota State on Nov. 3. Minnesota's next road game in the state is when it makes a return visit to Mankato on Jan. 26. Before that January game, Minnesota will travel to Michigan Tech, Alaska Anchorage, Vermont and Colorado College.

- Ten of the Gophers 16 road games will be contested outside of Minnesota during the 2012-13 season. The Gophers played 12 of 16 road games outside of Minnesota last year. Two years ago, Minnesota played only six games outside of the state.

- The Mariucci Classic will be held Dec. 28-29 and will feature defending national champion Boston College, Atlantic Hockey champion and NCAA tournament qualifier Air Force and independent Alabama in Huntsville. The last time that the Mariucci Classic was held this early in December was 2002. That year the event was held on Dec. 27-28 and featured Boston College, Bowling Green and Yale. Minnesota beat Boston College 2-1 in overtime to win the title.

- The Gophers will play five straight road games from Jan. 26-Feb. 16 and will play one game at Minnesota State and two games each at St. Cloud State and Wisconsin. The Gophers have not had a five-game road stretch since Jan. 12-26, 2008 (one game at St. Cloud and two games at Minnesota Duluth and Wisconsin). This will be only the fourth time under Don Lucia that Minnesota will play five straight games on the road. In addition to the 2007-08 season, Minnesota also played five straight road games in the 2006-07 season and the 1999-2000 season.

- Minnesota will play a season-high, eight-game homestand from Dec. 28-Jan. 25. The homestand begins with two Mariucci Classic games and will also feature one game against Notre Dame and Minnesota State and two games with Alaska Anchorage and North Dakota. It is the Gophers' first eight-game homestand since they played eight straight at Mariucci Arena from Dec. 29, 2005, to Jan. 21, 2006 (Minnesota went 7-1-0 in that homestand).

- Notre Dame and Canisius will travel to Mariucci Arena for one game each during the 2012-13 season. The Gophers lost 5-4 to Notre Dame last year at home in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game and are now 22-13-3 all-time against the Irish. Minnesota has never played Canisius.

- In addition to playing 28 WCHA games, Minnesota will also play opponents from the CCHA (Michigan State and Notre Dame), Hockey East (Vermont) and Atlantic Hockey (Canisius). The Mariucci Classic schedule has not yet been set, but Minnesota could play Boston College (Hockey East), Air Force (Atlantic Hockey) or college hockey's lone independent Alabama in Huntsville. For the second straight year, Minnesota will not face an ECAC opponent in the regular season (last ECAC opponent the Gophers played in the regular season was Union in the 2010 Mariucci Classic).

- The Gophers will face Notre Dame this year and could face Air Force as well in the Mariucci Classic, which means for the second straight year there is potential to have a father-son matchup. Coach Don Lucia's son Mario has committed to Notre Dame and could be playing for the Irish when they visit Mariucci Arena on Jan. 5. Minnesota sophomore Tom Serratore's father, Frank, is the head coach at Air Force. Last year, Minnesota associate head coach Mike Guentzel coached against his son, Gabe, in two games when Colorado College visited Mariucci Arena.

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