51-20-12. That’s the record that Minnesota-Duluth compiled over the past two full seasons. In 2010-11, the Bulldogs won the national title, and they followed that up with a berth in the Northeast Regional final at the end of the 2012 campaign (falling to Boston College).

So the view is decidedly different for Scott Sandelin’s squad early this year. UMD has won just twice in eight games (2-5-1) and are winless over two WCHA weekends (0-3-1). Duluth finds themselves in last place in the league standings and traveling to Ralph Engelstad Arena on a short week of practice.

For the Green and White, the Friday/Saturday trend continues. UND is now undefeated on Friday nights (4-0-0) and winless on Saturdays (0-3-1). Last season , North Dakota had a fairly even split: 11-5-1 on Fridays and 14-6-2 on Saturdays.

Two current North Dakota forwards are members of UND’s Century Club (100 career points). Corban Knight (102 points) joined Danny Kristo (116) two weekends ago. With one more point, Kristo will pass former UND star Zach Parise, but Parise accomplished his 116 career points in only two seasons (2002-2004).

On the injury front, UND sophomore forward Michael Parks (10-12-22 as a freshman last season) has not played in a regular season game this year (lower body injury) but is expected to suit up for Friday’s opener.

At the end of the 2010-11 season, many expected these two squads to go to battle for the national title. Duluth held up their end of the bargain, dispatching Notre Dame in their semifinal. UND fell short, however, falling to Michigan 2-0 in heartbreaking fashion.

North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth are two of eight schools scheduled to begin play in the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference beginning next season. Four other current WCHA member schools (Colorado College, Denver, St. Cloud State, and Nebraska-Omaha) will join them.

Minnesota-Duluth Team Profile

Head Coach: Scott Sandelin (13th season at UMD, 219-215-59,.504)
National Rankings: NR
This Season: 2-5-1 overall, 0-3-1 WCHA (12th)
Last Season: 25-10-6 overall (NCAA Northeast Regional Finalist), 16-7-5 WCHA (2nd)

Team Offense: 2.38 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 2.88 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 23.3% (10 of 43)
Penalty Kill: 80.5% (33 of 41)

Key Players: Senior F Mike Seidel (5-4-9), Freshman F Tony Cameranesi (3-4-7), Freshman F Austin Farley (2-4-6), Senior D Wade Bergman (0-6-6), Freshman D Andy Welinski (1-2-3), Freshman G Matt McNeely (1-3-1, 2.78 GAA, .892 SV%)

North Dakota Team Profile

Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (9th season at UND, 217-109-31, .651)
National Ranking: #6
This Season: 4-3-1 overall, 2-1-1 WCHA (6th)
Last Season: 26-13-3 overall (NCAA West Regional Finalist), 16-11-1 WCHA (4th)

Team Offense: 3.00 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 2.12 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 17.2% (5 of 29)
Penalty Kill: 87.5% (21 of 24)

Key Players: Senior F Danny Kristo (1-6-7), Sophomore F Mark MacMillan (3-3-6), Freshman F Rocco Grimaldi (3-3-6), Junior D Derek Forbort (2-3-5), Freshman D Jordan Schmaltz (1-1-2), Junior G Clarke Saunders (3-2-1, 1.98 GAA, .931 SV%, 2 SO)

By The Numbers

Last Meeting: February 11, 2012 (Duluth, MN). North Dakota claimed an early 2-1 lead before the Bulldogs scored the next four goals. Duluth held off a furious UND comeback for a 5-4 victory and a split of the weekend series. UMD forward Jack Connolly was involved al night long, potting two goals and assisting on the other three.

Last Meeting in Grand Forks: November 6, 2010. The Bulldogs held on to the top spot in the WCHA standings with a 3-2 overtime victory over homestanding North Dakota. UMD senior forward Justin Fontaine netted the game-winner on a 2-on-1 less than a minute into the extra frame.

Most Important Meeting: March 22, 1984 (Lake Placid, NY) Minnesota-Duluth and North Dakota met in the national semifinal game, with the Bulldogs defeating the Fighting Sioux 2-1 in overtime to advance to the championship. UND went on to defeat Michigan State 6-5 (OT) for third place, while Duluth fell to Bowling Green 5-4 in four overtimes, the longest championship game ever played.

All-time Series: UND leads the all-time series, 135-75-8 (.638), including a 75-31-2 (.704) record in games played in Grand Forks.

Last Ten: North Dakota is 7-3-0 (.700) in the last ten games between the teams. UND has outscored Duluth 36-19 in the past ten contests. All three losses were by a single goal, including two overtime defeats.

Game News and Notes

UND forwards Carter Rowney and Danny Kristo each have seven career points against the Bulldogs. Duluth has scored more than half of their goals this season on the power play. Both head coaches this weekend are alumni of the University of North Dakota: Dave Hakstol (’92) and Scott Sandelin (’86) both played for UND.

The Prediction

UND will come out flying on Friday after last Saturday’s dismal performance in St. Cloud. The Bulldogs won’t have an answer for North Dakota’s team speed and will find themselves in an early hole. Saturday’s rematch will be a tighter checking affair that will go down to the wire. I feel like North Dakota will rally to tie late and survive overtime for a three point weekend. UND 4-1, 2-2 tie.