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Conventional wisdom tells us not to take too much out of exhibition games because, well, they don’t count. Remember, Omaha lost its tuneup game 4-0 last year and made it to the Frozen Four. It is, however, actual college hockey being played, which is something we haven’t seen for a couple months and it is a sight for sore eyes. While this weekend features exhibition play, five Big Ten teams hit the ground running next weekend for some important nonconference games that could factor into how many at-large NCAA berths the conference gets at the end of the year.
Four Big Ten teams play four Canadian college squads in exhibition at home this weekend. Saturday, Ohio State hosts Brock University at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, Windsor and Penn State face off at noon, Western Ontario and Michigan State play at 4:00 p.m. and Toronto faces Michigan at 5:00 p.m.
When Division I play begins next weekend, everyone but Michigan will play. Michigan State will travel to Portland, Maine, for the IceBreaker Tournament, which pits the Spartans against former CCHA rival Lake Superior in the second round. All told, there will be eight games Oct. 9-10 to begin the 2015-2016 season.
I’m heading to Mankato on Sunday to get my preseason hockey fix, since the closest game featuring a Big Ten team would be at Michigan State (just slightly too far at roughly a nine-hour drive) and my fantasy football team seems to do better when I do better when I pay little or no attention to the NFL games.
It’s unlikely that I’ll be able to get to either the Michigan or Michigan State exhibition games this weekend. Sadly. I’ll be writing, though — as will Drew, between trips and fantasy football — because our season preview will be posted this coming Thursday, Oct. 8.