In what has arguably grown into one of the best rivalries in college sports (notice I did not limit it to hockey), The University of North Dakota visits Mariucci Arena to take on the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers this weekend. Unfortunately, due to the Conference Shuffle that has been going on, this will be the final regular season series between the two schools as WCHA members. In fact, it will be the final meeting between these two programs for several years, barring a meeting in the playoffs. Both schools will be moving on to new hockey conferences after this season.
I’m disappointed to see this bitter rivalry threatened. No doubt, fans of both programs will continue to hate each other with rabid passion, but I’m convinced that the intensity of the MN-NoDak Rivalry will not be sustained after the exodus from the WCHA. I really hope that I’m wrong. Only time will tell.
Still, we have one more to revel in. Minnesota is ranked #1 & NoDak is ranked #6 in the country. Both are tied for third in points in the WCHA, but both are tied for first in Win Percentage. Both teams hate each other, both teams want bragging rights in this final series, and both teams will put on a show.
Standing room only was sold out weeks ago; Mariucci will be rocking. The puck drops at 7 CST Friday & 5 CST Saturday.
In other hockey news: Congrats to the University of Alabama – Huntsville for being accepted into the WCHA… And congrats to the WCHA for doing the right thing by voting unanimously to add UAH into the conference. I’m glad Bruce listened to me when he was visiting Fairbanks.