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North Star College Cup switches tournament dates

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The North Star College Cup is shifting its schedule.

The third annual in-state college hockey tournament will be held Saturday and Sunday Jan. 30-31 at the Xcel Energy Center. Originally the tournament was scheduled for Jan. 29-30.

Defending cup champion Bemidji State, Minnesota State, St. Cloud State and the Minnesota Gophers will be in this year's field, meaning Minnesota-Duluth rotates out of it this year.

The tournament opens Jan. 30, when St. Cloud State meets up with Minnesota State at 1 p.m. Then Bemidji State will go head-to-head with the Gophers at 4.

The losers of the first round games will meet in the consolation game on Sunday at 1 p.m. and the championship will be played at 4 p.m.

Moving the tournament to Saturday and Sunday afternoon instead of Friday and Saturday, in theory, should help attendance, especially for the early first-round game, according to College Hockey blogger Nate Wells.

The Star Tribune notes the Gophers took home the inaugural tournament, but Bemidji State rode an outstanding effort from goaltender Michael Bitzer to upset two of the top 10 nationally ranked opponents to claim last year's championship.

Bitzer was named the 2014 MVP of the tournament after he stopped 54 of 55 shots.

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