It will be the Minnesota women’s hockey team, not the men, that will play the first outdoor hockey game on-campus in over 80 years. The two-time defending national champions will welcome the Mavericks of Minnesota State-Mankato to the first game of the Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium on Friday.
Minnesota continues to be the No. 1 team in the nation, despite a couple bumps in the road this season. Last weekend against Ohio State, the Golden Gophers were unable to pull off the sweep, as they would eventually fall in a shootout to the Buckeyes.
A tie officially shows up in the team’s overall record, as they sit at 20-1-1 overall and have a one-point lead in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings.
Head coach Brad Frost will lead his team into the outdoor game and where they will face chilly conditions. Forecasts call for single-digit temperatures for the 4:30 p.m. CT start for the women.
Both players and coaches will have to adapt to the air temperature and ice conditions for the event.
“I am growing a beard for the outdoor game just to keep my face a little warm,” Frost said.
It should be quite the event as the men’s team at Minnesota will take to the ice following the women to play Ohio State. Conference points will be on the line for all teams and they should try not to get lost in the fanfare of the event.
The Mavericks are struggling at the bottom of the WCHA standings as they continue to find their stride this season. They do have some nice senior leadership on their roster, as all six of their players in double-figures are seniors.
Mankato also has senior Danielle Butters in goal — who has seen solid playing time in four-straight seasons for the Mavericks.
The Gophers swept a home-and-road series already this season against the Mavericks. Minnesota outscored Mankato 11-1 in the two wins. The Maroon and Gold have not lost a game to MSU-Mankato since Jan. 2007.