The biggest rivalry in college hockey will enter a new chapter in the history of UND vs the University of Minnesota this weekend.
The Hawks will travel to Minneapolis this weekend to take on the U of M Golden Gophers.
Games against the Gophers are different from other games. The intensity is ratcheted up not another level. They are truly special games.
“We had TJ Oshie and Taylor Chorney come in and they gave their points of view of how special this weekend is not only for our players, but for alumni watching,” Head Coach Brad Berry said. “We haven’t played them in few years, but history and tradition resonates through this building, and through this program.”
After dropping both games last weekend in Duluth, the Hawks will look to right the ship against the Gophers this weekend at Mariucci Arena.
The last time the Fighting Hawks and Golden Gophers faced off was in the Frozen Four in 2014. The Gophers edged the Hawks with a goal just before time expired to send the Hawks home and advance the Gophers to the championship.
In two years, many things have changed.
Gone is former head coach Dave Hakstol. He is now the coach of the Philadelphia Flyers and was replaced by Brad Berry.
The sports teams are now known as the Fighting Hawks.
The Hawks hung banner number eight last season and have been ranked in the top five for over a year now.
In 2014, the Gophers were the team to beat. They dominated most of their schedule en route to national championship game.
This season, UND is coming off of one of their best seasons in a long time punctuated by a national championship.
While the Hawks will come in to the weekend ranked third in the country, the Gophers have sputtered after two wins to start the season in Alaska.
The Gophers were swept by the St. Cloud State Huskies two weeks ago, and Lost to Clarkson and tied St. Lawrence last weekend. Overall, they are 3-2-1 on the season.
Even though the teams haven’t faced each other in a few seasons, and have players on their rosters that have never taken part in the rivalry, it still remains an intense rivalry.
“Obviously I would have loved to play them in series all four years here, One is better than none, but it’s very exciting,” Ausmus said. “Growing up here and watching the series, the rivalry, it’s something to get excited about.”
The Hawks are sitting at 5-2 after sweeping both Canisius and Bemidji State to start the season and beating Rensselaer at home for the hall of fame game.
Although the Hawks are the better team on paper, these rivalry games always seem to end close.
“Everyone is very aware of this rivalry and what goes on and how games are played,” Ausmus said.
lt was a rough trip to Duluth, the team will have a short memory as they head into the weekend.
“We’ve had a good week of practice,” Berry said. “I know there was a little bit of disappointment as far as the results in Duluth.”
Captain Gage Ausmus echoed what Berry said.
“This week has been great so far,” Ausmus said. “We’ve been sharp in practice, which is nice to see. We’ll try to take last weekend as a learning experience for the young guys and move on from there.”
The series begins Nov. 4 at Mariucci Arena with a 7 p.m. puck drop.
Adam Gunderman is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]