GOPHERS MEN'S series preview

Home-and-home vs. Minnesota State Mankato

Schedule returns to normal

Schedule: 7 p.m. Friday at 3M Arena at Mariucci (FSN+, 103.5-FM and 1130-AM). 7 p.m. Saturday at Verizon Center in Mankato (no TV, 103.5-FM and 1130-AM)

Preview: For the No. 10 Gophers (1-1-1), it feels like the season finally is beginning with a weekend home-and-home series against No. 4 MSU Mankato (5-1). While the Gophers opened up the season a month ago, three weekends of one game each following that, including exhibitions against the under-18 U.S. national team and Trinity Western University, slowed them down and made for a pretty lackluster showing last week in a 3-1 loss to North Dakota in Las Vegas. From now until mid-December, though, the Gophers will be back to regularly scheduled college hockey programming. "It's a relief," junior defenseman Ryan Zuhlsdorf said. "Those two weeks we had exhibitions were, I was getting real anxious for the real deal to show up." The two teams last met Nov. 18-19, 2016 when they split.

Quotable: "I can't explain it. I don't know a lot of the players," Gophers coach Bob Motzko on the Gophers' 25 penalties for 80 minutes in three official games so far. "Now a couple players are leading the pack, and it's being discussed. It's going to be dealt with because, one, I'm not used to that, and it's crazy, the amount of really unnecessary, dumb penalties wave been taking. And I'm going to attribute some of that, too, to you're excited to play, you want to get going. We haven't had a lot of games. You want to get to the line … of high intensity. You want to crawl to that line, but you don't want to step over. We keep stepping over the line, and we've got to get on top of that."

Iron man: Senior forward Darian Romanko will likely play in his 100th consecutive game for the Gophers on Friday, the longest active streak on the team that dates back to Jan. 8, 2016.

Injuries: Gophers sophomore F Scott Reedy is out because of an undisclosed injury.