A visit from the defending national champs, a home series against bitter rival North Dakota and a Mariucci Classic tournament that features an all-Minnesota field are among the highlights of the 2019-20 Gophers men’s hockey schedule announced Wednesday.

The 34-game regular-season slate begins Oct. 10-11 with a trip to Colorado College, a former WCHA rival. Minnesota hasn’t played the Tigers since the 2012-13 season, its last in the WCHA before the move to the Big Ten.

The home schedule for the 99th season of Gophers hockey opens Oct. 18-19 against Niagara before the Gophers play a home-and-home series against two-time defending NCAA champion Minnesota Duluth. The Bulldogs visit 3M Arena at Mariucci on Friday, Oct. 25, while the Gophers make the trip to the Twin Ports the following day.

November will be a big month on the Gophers’ schedule, with eight home games. It begins with four consecutive Big Ten series – home vs. Notre Dame (Nov. 1-2), at Michigan (Nov. 8-9), home vs. Penn State (Nov. 15-16) and home vs. Wisconsin (Nov. 22-23).

And November ends with a twist: a Thursday-Friday series against North Dakota at Mariucci on Nov. 28 and 29. Scheduling the Thursday-Friday series – on Thanksgiving and Black Friday – was done in part to avoid parking concerns with the Gophers football team playing rival Wisconsin on Saturday, Nov. 30, and to set up a rivalry weekend with Minnesota teams facing the Fighting Hawks and Badgers.

After a Dec. 6-7 series at Ohio State the Gophers are off until Saturday, Dec. 28, when they play Bemidji State in the Mariucci Classic. The other All-Minnesota matchup on the first day features St. Cloud State vs. Minnesota State. The winners play for the championship on Dec. 29, with the losers meeting for third place.

Beginning Jan. 10-11, the remainder of the regular-season schedule is Big Ten play, with home series against Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan, and road trips to Michigan State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Penn State.

The best-of-three Big Ten quarterfinal series begin March 6.

Along with the 34 regular-season games, the Gophers have two home exhibitions: Oct. 6 vs. Mount Royal University and Jan. 17 vs. the U.S. Under-18 team.

Game times and broadcast information will be announced later.

The complete regular-season schedule:

Oct. 6 vs. Mount Royal (exhibition)

Oct. 11-12 at Colorado College

Oct. 18-19 vs. Niagara

Oct. 25 vs. Minnesota Duluth

Oct. 26 at Minnesota Duluth

Nov. 1-2 vs. Notre Dame

Nov. 8-9 at Michigan

Nov. 15-16 vs. Penn State

Nov. 22-23 vs. Wisconsin

Nov. 28-29 vs. North Dakota

Dec. 6-7 at Ohio State

Mariucci Classic

Dec. 28 Gophers vs. Bemidji State; St. Cloud State vs. Minnesota State

Dec. 29 championship and third-place games

Jan. 10-11 at Michigan State

Jan. 17 vs. U.S. Under-18 Team (exhibition)

Jan. 24-25 vs. Ohio State

Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at Wisconsin

Feb. 7-8 vs. Michigan State

Feb. 14-15 at Notre Dame

Feb. 21-22 at Penn State

Feb. 28-29 vs. Michigan

March 6-8 Big Ten quarterfinals (best-of-three)

March 14 Big Ten semifinal (single elimination)

March 21 Big Ten championship (single elimination)

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