Bob Motzko's first test as head coach of the Golden Gophers men's hockey team will come against the kings of college hockey, the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs in the 2018-19 season opener.
UMD won four consecutive one-goal games in the NCAA Tournament, capped by a 2-1 victory over Notre Dame to claim its second national title since 2011.
The Gophers and Bulldogs will open the season Oct. 6 at Amsoil Arena in Duluth and then travel south to Minneapolis where they'll play Oct. 7 at 3M Arena at Mariucci.
Had it not been for a freakish final weekend the Gophers would've made the tournament and UMD would've stayed home, but Minnesota lost to Penn State and six other whacky results turned Minnesota's 98.2 percent chance of getting in to zero.
The Gophers' loss plus all of these were necessary for UMD to get in.
- Michigan Tech won the WCHA tournament.
- Boston University won the Hockey East tournament.
- Princeton won the ECAC tournament.
- Air Force won the Atlantic tournament.
- Denver won the NCHC tournament.
- Notre Dame won the Big Ten tournament.
Had just one of those not happened, Minnesota would've been in the field of 16 as one of the four No. 4 seeds.
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The flop eventually led to the resignation of longtime head coach Don Lucia, who was replaced by Motzko, whose St. Cloud State Huskies got bounced by Air Force as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Minnesota will also renew its rivalry with former WCHA foe North Dakota when they play in Las Vegas on Oct. 27.
Minnesota State will play the Gophers for the first time in two years with a home-and-home series Nov. 2-3.