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Knight said the teams’ skills could be mitigated if ice conditions are rough.

“It might be a thing where you see more dumping of the puck and some chipping,” he said. “Surely the puck is going to bounce around a little bit. That’s something we have to take into consideration for our game plan.”

Adding intrigue is that Blais led North Dakota to two of its seven national championships and was either an assistant or head coach at the school for 19 years. He’s in his fourth season at UNO.

The Mavs’ Matt White, who grew up in Whittier, Calif., is one of the few players for UNO and North Dakota who didn’t play outdoor hockey as a youngster.

“I don’t really know what to expect,” he said. “It’s just a different atmosphere, so I think I’m going to keep everything the same.”

White said he enjoys watching the NHL Winter Classic, but never imagined he’d get to play in an outdoor game himself.

“I’m glad it’s finally made its way to Omaha,” he said. “Just playing a powerhouse like North Dakota, it’s great for our program and a step in the right direction for Omaha hockey.”