It’s game day of North Dakota-Minnesota week.
Enjoy it fans, because I’m not sure when I’ll be able to say that phrase again.
Sadly, the best rivalry in college hockey will be going on a hiatus beginning next season and we’re not sure when it will return. That has been the storyline everywhere this week.
I talked to a bunch of former players — at least one from every decade dating back to the 1950s — about their thoughts on the rivalry going dormant for a while. The most common word that I heard? “Disappointed.” Read their thoughts here.
The players also had a ton of memories and shared their favorite stories from the rivalry series. Read some of those here.
On the Ice Time page this week, we compiled five memorable wins for North Dakota and Minnesota. The Herald site is getting an error message every time we try to post the Minnesota wins (if it doesn’t get fixed, you can find them in the hard copy of the paper), but the North Dakota ones are here.
The Pioneer Press talked to former Gopher Lou Nanne, who said a lot of the same things that the former players I talked to — he wants the rivalry to continue.
And the Star Tribune also went down memory lane with its story.
Virg Foss, who has covered this rivalry for more than 40 years, takes it to Minnesota coach Don Lucia for not wanting to play this series every year.
One piece of advice in the rivalry — don’t walk away from the TV or turn your back on the game, because you might miss a classic moment. I covered the “Blake Wheeler goal game,” but missed the goal. I was in the elevator for that one, but I’ve seen plenty of other classic moments in the rivalry.
One of those classic moments I’ve seen came one week after Wheeler’s goal. It was Chris Porter’s wraparound to send UND to the Frozen Four. Porter said he remembers that goal like it was yesterday and recounts it in this Q&A. (Hopefully that link works in the morning, it’s not working for me right now).
If you just want to watch Porter’s goal, it still lives on YouTube.
As for the game itself?
It should be a great showdown that college hockey fans around the country will be watching. Minnesota is ranked No. 1 in the country. North Dakota is ranked No. 6. The teams have the top two winning percentages in the WCHA in league play.
UND says it’s well aware of Minnesota’s accolades and knows it needs to play a near-perfect weekend. Read some comments about that here.
Senior Danny Kristo also said he’s learned over his time that you need to play with a level-head and not let emotions boil over. Read his comments, and Joe Gleason’s comments, about UND’s approach here.
If you want a rundown on the other WCHA games this weekend and to hear my picks, check out the pregame video blog. I’ll leave you with this week’s episode of Through These Doors.