Penn State Hockey

Penn State ice hockey: Big Ten announces 2013-14 schedule

The entire schedule for the coming season for the Penn State men’s ice hockey team — and its brand new home — may not yet be set, but Nittany Lion fans now know some of the key dates.

The Big Ten announced the season conference schedule Wednesday afternoon, with the first Big Ten game for the Nittany Lions in early December and the first conference matchup at home to feature powerful Minnesota in early January.

Penn State has not announced its full schedule yet, with some details still needing to be set before it becomes official, but the first season inside Pegula Ice Arena is taking shape.

The first Big Ten games will be played the same place last season ended — Dec. 6-7 at Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions closed their first NCAA Division I season beating the Badgers at the Kohl Center.

The conference slate then takes a month off until Penn State hosts Minnesota Jan. 12-13 for the first Big Ten games in Pegula Ice Arena. The Golden Gophers spent much of last season among the nation’s top five teams including many weeks at No. 1, and are expected to be among the nation’s best again this coming winter.

After visits to Michigan State and Ohio State on Jan. 17-18 and Jan. 31-Feb. 1, respectively, the Nittany Lions return home Feb. 7-8 for their first meeting with Michigan. The following weekend, Michigan State visits. The Nittany Lions and Spartans split two games in East Lansing, Mich., last season.

The next two weekends are on the road at Michigan and Minnesota before the regular season closes with two more homestands against the Badgers on March 7-8 and the Buckeyes March 14-15. Penn State won its only meeting with Ohio State last season as well.

The conference season opens a week earlier for four Big Ten schools, with Michigan hosting Ohio State and Wisconsin visiting Minnesota on Nov. 29. The Wolverines and Buckeyes meet the next day in football, the same day the Nitany Lions and Badgers meet in Madison, Wis., to close the football season.

The first Big Ten hockey tournament will then be held Feb. 20-22 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., with a single-elimination tournament for all six teams.

While the complete Penn State schedule has not been announced, a few other dates are known.

The season opener, and opening night for Pegula Ice Arena, the new home for both the men’s and women’s teams being built across the street from the Bryce Jordan Center, will be Oct. 11 against Army. Homecoming will be the next night for a football game against Michigan.

The Nittany Lions also will return to both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for games.

Later in October, Penn State and Vermont will once again face off in the Well Fargo Center.

Neither school has officially announced the contest, but has already put tickets on sale for the game at 5 p.m. Oct. 26 for the second annual Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff.

The Nittany Lions won 4-2 last season in front of 19,529 fans, the largest crowd to see a college hockey game in Pennsylvania.

Wells Fargo Center will host the NCAA Frozen Four next April.

Also, Penn State will once again take part in the Three Rivers Classic at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh along with Robert Morris, Bowling Green and Boston College during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Penn State also announced that deposits are still being accepted, with fewer than 1,000 seats remaining in the allotment for season tickets. Fans who purchase tickets by the end of business May 24 will be given priority for seat selection in June. Tickets are available through the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office.

Student tickets will go on sale in September.