This weekend the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux 20-11-5 overall and 15-10-3 5th PWR play the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers 17-17-2 overall and 12-14-2 23rd PWR in the WCHA in a best 2 out of 3 game playoff series at Ralph Englestad Arena. The series winner will play in the Red Baron WCHA Final Five on March 18th - 20th at the Xcel Energy Center.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES: UND trails the all-time series 125-131-14 (.489) but is 67-53-8 (.555) all-time against the Gophers on home ice. The UND Fighting Sioux are 6-0 all time against the Gophers in Grand Forks, ND and the last time the Sioux and Gophers met in the playoffs in Grand Forks, ND was in 1986-87, when the Sioux took the WCHA series with a pair of 5-3 wins. During Coach David Hakstol tenure as head coach the Sioux have a 12-7-3 against the Gophers.
The UND Fighting Sioux have went on another Dave Hakstol text book second half surge; the Sioux have currently won 7 straight hockey games and are 7-1-0 in February and March. Ironically the second half surge commenced when Brett Hextall returned from a lower leg injury in February 12th against the SCSU Huskies. Below is a year-by-year comparison of UND's pre and post-Christmas records:
Year Before After
2004-05 13-7-2 (.636) 12-8-3 (.587)Frozen Four
2005-06 12-7-1 (.625) 17-9-0 (.654)Frozen Four
2006-07 7-10-1 (.417) 17-4-4 (.760)Frozen Four
2007-08 8-6-1 (.567) 20-5-3 (.768)Frozen Four
2008-09 9-8-1 (.528) 15-7-3 (.660)NCAA playoffs
2009-10 9-6-3 (.583) 11-5-2 (.667)?
In Hakstol we trust
Under head coach Dave Hakstol the Fighting Sioux have gone 25-12 in the playoffs (WCHA and NCAA), that is eight more wins than any other WCHA team. That includes a 16-7 record in the WCHA playoffs, a victory total that also tops every WCHA team. The Sioux are 16-3 (.842) in the playoffs at the new Ralph Engelstad Arena, including a 14-3 record in the WCHA playoffs and a pair of wins in the 2006 NCAA West Regional. [Fighting Sioux]
What does this mean?
I was thinking about this up coming series last night and I really don't know what to think. I am not into making grandiose predictions nor do I have Delusions of Grandeur either. The 2009-2010 season for the Fighting Sioux has had many ups and downs, the injury to Chay Genoway, getting swept by the Denver Pioneers at home back in January was a major downer. I like many Sioux fans were ready to stick a fork in the Fighting Sioux after that series.
Since the sweep at the hand of the Denver Pioneers the Fighting Sioux have gone an impressive 7-1-0 role, during that time period they Sioux have beaten the SCSU Huskies, C.C. Tigers and the UMD Bulldogs and finally the MTU Huskies. Before that brutal schedule all of those teams were ahead of the Fighting Sioux in the standings but the MTU Huskies. The Sioux over took two of those teams and finished on single point behind the SCSU Huskies.
Most Sioux fans that I know including my self hate the "Golden Rodents", they are our heated and hated rival, nothing brings a smile to my face more than a win against the Golden Rodents, except maybe a finely struck golf shot or shooting a double during duck hunting season. Their fans drive us nuts and say the stupidest things, comments like 25 year old Canadians or Manitoba's Pride on Ice. Unfortunately, my brother in law was one of them (Golden Gopher Hockey player) and a lot of my family members are fans of the hated Gophers as well, It's the old saying you can chose your friends but you can chose your family members.
None the less, let's keep some perspective and let's also remember it's only a hockey game. We don't need anymore ugly incidents before, during or after the hockey games. Let's remember to keep our heads about ourselves and don't get into senseless or needless fist fights. Let's think twice before we get into confrontations with opposition fans. I learned along time ago that alcohol makes people braver and there is always someone tougher than you. No one needs to get killed over a hockey game, no one needs to get arrested and no one needs to throw knuckles. Be the better person and walk away. If you find your self getting into a situation remove yourself from it. Also, show some respect for your neighbors at the game. Please don't ruin our experience at the game because you decided to be an ass. Let's Go Sioux lets end the Gophers season this weekend.