7:30 p.m. Thursday, 3 p.m. Friday, 3M Arena at Mariucci TV: BTN both days • Radio: 103.5-FM, 1130-AM

Gophers open with defending Big Ten champs

Gophers at a glance: Minnesota (16-14-7 last season) opens as the favorite to win the Big Ten, according to the preseason coaches poll. The Gophers return their top six scorers and nine of their top 10 from a team that was 11-5-3 after the December break. … Senior F Scott Reedy is the team’s top returning goal-scorer with 15, while junior captain Sammy Walker leads all returning scorers with 30 points. … Jack LaFontaine is expected to start in goal, but coach Bob Motzko said sophomore Jared Moe likely will also see action early in the season.

Nittany Lions at a glance: Penn State (20-10-4) is the defending Big Ten regular-season champion, but the Nittany Lions suffered massive losses to graduation. Gone are five of their top six scorers (Nate Sucese, Evan Barratt, Cole Hults, Liam Folkes and Brandon Biro) and their workhorse goalie (Peyton Jones) from last season. Their top returning player is senior F Alex Limoges, who had 11 goals and 21 assists last season. Look for junior Oskar Autio (2-1-1, 1.87, .930 in four starts) to get the bulk of the work in goal.

Randy Johnson