A tradition returns to Mariucci Arena starting Friday night in the 93rd campaign for the Minnesota men’s hockey team, and it is the Gophers’ opening foray into Big Ten hockey for the balance of the season. However, the season starts with the IceBreaker at Mariucci Arena where Mercyhurst, Clarkson, and New Hampshire are with the Gophers this weekend. Let’s take you inside the numbers of the game versus Mercyhurst (7pm Friday, FOX Sports North):
3: Minnesota is appearing in the IceBreaker for the third time, with previous appearances in 1998 and 2007. The 1998 event was also played at Mariucci Arena like this season’s, and 2007 saw the Gophers win it all in St. Paul at Xcel Energy Center.
1: You have to go back to 2003 to see the only meeting between these two schools, and that game saw a 9-2 axe-handling at Mariucci Arena as the homestanding Gophers won the game, advancing to the West regional final.
5: Minnesota opens the season as the fifth best preseason team in the country according to both the USCHO.com poll and the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll. We’ll see how far that preseason ranking helps or hurts the Gophers this year.
28: Minnesota’s Brady Skjei is the highest drafted Gopher on this year’s team, being taken 28th overall by the New York Rangers in the 2012 NHL Draft at Pittsburgh’s CONSOL Energy Center.
71: The combined number of points from 2012-13 for co-captains Kyle Rau and Nate Condon. Rau had forty points on fifteen goals and twenty-five assists while Condon picked up thirty-one points on twelve goals and nineteen helpers.
Geoff Discher is Examiner.com's Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey Examiner as well as the National College Hockey Examiner. Leave a comment below, or feel free to reach him at Disch61@hotmail.com with comments, story ideas, or any general talk surrounding college hockey. You can find him on Facebook as well by clicking here as well as here and joining the conversation from the social media side as well. He's always chock full of fact and opinion. I’m also on Twitter @Disch_InTheVOX.
Until next time, I’ll see you at the rink!