Home ice: Weekend hockey features Gophers-Irish, SCSU-UMD, MSU-BSU

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Find a place in the world with a better slate of hockey games this weekend tucked within one state's borders and we'll be shocked.

Friday and Saturday night will feature some awesome in-state rivalries and some of the top teams in the country. St. Cloud State hosts Minnesota-Duluth, Bemidji State is on the road at Minnesota State-Mankato and the Golden Gophers are hosting Notre Dame.

#1 Gophers vs. #15 Notre Dame

Don Lucia's Golden Gophers will defend their No. 1 ranking against the No. 15 team in the country this weekend. And per usual, when the Gophers and Fighting Irish get together, a subplot to the game will be Lucia coaching against his son Mario, a junior left wing who was just named the Hockey East Player of the Month for October, NESN reports. Mario, who played for Wayzata High School, led the conference with nine points last month (7 goals, 2 assists).

The Gophers will be without defenseman Brady Skjei. According to SB Nation, the Lakeville native could be out until Thanksgiving with a lower-body injury. He was hurt in the second period of Minnesota's 4-3 overtime win over St. Cloud State last Saturday.

#7 St. Cloud State vs. #17 Minnesota-Duluth

The Herb Brooks National Sports Center in St. Cloud will be packed for this weekend series of NCHC rivals. The two squads have played incredibly difficult schedules through the first four weeks of the season.

The Huskies have already played defending champ Union, No. 1 Minnesota and Colgate, a team that according to the Duluth News Tribune, is good enough to make a run to the Frozen Four. Duluth, meanwhile, has played a ranked team every week with series against Mankato, Denver, Miami, and a pair of games against Minnesota and Notre Dame at the Ice Breaker Tournament.

#13 Minnesota State vs. Bemidji State

It's an early season series that could mean a lot to the eventual WCHA standings. The Mavericks (5-3-0, 3-1-0) are hosting the Beavers (3-3-0, 2-0-0) in a battle of potential top-of-the-league teams.

The Beavers are coming off a weekend sweep over Alaska in which they racked up nine goals. But scoring could be an issue against Mankato. The Mavericks lead the country in shots on goal allowed per game (20), according to the team's athletics department.

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