GRAND FORKS, ND – North Dakota and Minnesota have played in some epic battles over the years — one could compare UND and Minnesota hockey to the famous Hatfield’s and McCoy’s feud. Every game is highly contested and usually has a lot of drama. Tonight was no different, as the UND hockey team beat the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, 2-1.
Historically when the two team’s face off, the score sheets tend to fill up with penalty minutes. This game would prove to be highly contested, but not quite as many penalty minutes were called tonight. The games between Minnesota and North Dakota tend to be close games and even series and over 45 seasons of hockey between UND vs. UMN — there have only been five season series sweeps. Adding to the epic battles over the years, this weekend’s series is also historic because it will be the last time that UND and UMN will play in a WCHA regular season series in the Ralph Englestad Arena.
After the 2012-13 season, North Dakota will leave the WCHA for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. The University of Minnesota will leave the WCHA for the Big Ten Hockey Conference. With the reshuffling of the hockey conferences, its unknown how much the two teams will play each other in the future.
At the 18:59 mark of the first period the Gophers would get a five minute power play, when UND junior forward Danny Kristo hit Gopher defenseman Ben Marshall from behind into the boards with an elbow to the back of the head.
“We responded as we have to any bit of adversity that we have run into in the last couple of months, you suck it up and find a way to do the job,” North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol said. “Mike Parks went up with [Corban] Knight and [Brock] Nelson and did a solid job, and Taylor Dickin stepped into the fourth line role and did a solid job with his line mates and that’s what guys are expected to do.”
UND would kill off the Kristo major penalty as Minnesota was unable to generate any good scoring opportunities on the power play. North Dakota was able to generate a scoring opportunity shorthanded, but Nelson was stopped by Minnesota goalie Kent Patterson.
Minnesota and North Dakota would trade goals in the second period as Minnesota’s Kyle Rau scored on a nice pass from his line mate Zach Budish.
UND answered the Minnesota goal with nine seconds remaining in the second period. UND defenseman Andrew MacWillam would score the first goal of his UND career in his 101st game on a howitzer from the point. Mario Lamoureux drew the assist on MacWilliams goal.
“I always knew Mac would come up with a big time [goal]. I was just glad that I was the one that passed it to him and he buried it, and I was pretty ecstatic when it went in, and it couldn’t have came to a better guy,” Lamoureux said. “He is a heart and soul guy, he plays on the edge every single night and brings it every 100 percent effort. [We're] pretty proud to see him get it, especially in game like this.”
Nelson would get the game-winning goal at the 16:25 mark of the third period.
“[Michael] Parks started it off with a one on one battle in the corner, the puck kind of bounced out, I just wanted to get a puck on net,” Nelson said. “I had a couple of chances earlier in the game that didn’t go in, so I was just trying to create a chance, saw a couple guys out front and luckily it went in.”
“It was a high energy, hard-fought hockey game,” Hakstol said. “Obviously, when you come out on the good side of those, it was a great win for our team. It was an entertaining, high-paced game”
Both teams play again tomorrow night at 7:07 p.m. UND will look to get the series sweep and attempt to tie the season series at two wins each.