Big Ten Hockey: Five Must-See Non-Conference Series

Minnesota Golden Gophers watch Union College celebrate a National Championship victory. [photo: Josh Smith]
Minnesota Golden Gophers watch Union College celebrate a National Championship victory. [photo: Josh Smith]
As we make our way through a very slow off-season, you can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There’s roughly 58 days until the 2014-15 college hockey season kicks off.

With last season’s realignment, we have had some interesting non-conference matchups that might not have taken place in the past. This season is no different.

Looking at the composite Big Ten Hockey Conference schedule, I’ve selected five must-see non-conference series that I think will pique your interest. In my opinion, these are more exciting non-conference matchups that will garner a lot of national attention. Moving forward, the Big Ten Hockey Conference should again have awesome national television coverage.

Series One: Miami vs. Ohio State University.
Date October 17-18, 2014.
Location Game One: Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio.
Location Game Two: Steve Cady Arena, Oxford, Ohio

Former CCHA rivals Miami University and Ohio State University play in a home-and-home non-conference series. Looking at the record books, there’s a lot of history between these two teams, Miami and Ohio State have played 141 games against each other.

This series is a  rematch of  last year’s home-and-home non-conference series. Last season, the RedHawks swept the Buckeyes in convincing fashion (6-3 and 6-2).

All-time, the Buckeyes have a 62-66-13 record against the RedHawks.

Series Two: Michigan vs. UMass-Lowell and Boston University.
Game one location: Tsongas Center, Lowell, Massachusetts.
Game two Location: Agganis Arena, Boston, Massachusetts.
October 24-25, October 2014.

After making the NCAA tournament 22 consecutive years, the University of Michigan has missed the NCAA tourney the past two seasons.

In 2014, Michigan’s season ended in the Big Ten Hockey Championship against Penn State. Michigan looks to rebound during the 2014-15 season. Getting a couple of non-conference wins against two quality Hockey East teams would help the Wolverines in the Pairwise Rankings.

For Michigan, this is the return trip to Boston. Last Season, Michigan entertained Boston University and UMass-Lowell at the Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

All-time, Michigan is 2-1-0 against Lowell. This will be the first matchup between the Wolverines and Riverhawks in Lowell. Last season, Michigan lost to UMass-Lowell 2-1 at home.

All-time, Michigan is 14-10-0 against Boston University. Last season, Michigan beat Boston University 2-1 at home.

Series Three: Saint Cloud State University vs. the University of Minnesota.
Date: October 31, November 1, 2014.
Game One Location: Herb Brooks National Hockey Center, St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Game Two Location: Mariucci Arena, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The campuses of the University of Minnesota and Saint Cloud State University are located roughly 60 miles apart. This is the re-match of the 2014 NCAA West Regional final, where the Golden Gophers shutout the Huskies 4-0. The Gophers would advance to the Championship game of the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four, and would lose to the Union College Dutchmen 7-4.

Minnesota also beat Saint Cloud in the semifinal game of the North Star College Cup.

All-time, Minnesota has a 54-28-12 record against Saint Cloud State.

Series Four: University of North Dakota vs. the University of Wisconsin.
Date: November 7-8, 2014.
Location: Kohl Center, Madison, Wisconsin.

The University of North Dakota will travel to Madison, Wisconsin, to take on the Badgers in an important two-game non-conference series.  This is the re-match of the 2014 Midwest Regional Championship. North Dakota beat Wisconsin 5-2 in the semifinals of the regional championship, sending UND to the championship game against Ferris State.

All-time, Wisconsin has an 86-65-12 record against North Dakota.

Series Five: Notre Dame vs. the University of Minnesota.
Date: November 7, November 9, 2014.
Location: Mariucci Arena, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

This series is a rematch of last season’s non-conference matchup between the two teams. The Gophers and the Irish split last season’s non-conference series at Compton Family Ice Arena, in South Bend, Indiana.

Notre Dame Junior forward Mario Lucia (Minnesota Wild), returns to his native Minnesota to take on his father’s team (Don Lucia, Notre Dame ’81) the Minnesota Gophers.

All-time, Minnesota has a 24-14-3 record against Notre Dame.