Minnesota Vikings football on a Tuesday night and Sioux hockey on Thursday. This is really messing up my weekly rhythm.
As such, I don’t have a preview full of facts, figures, and statistics. If you’d like to look back at the UND/Duluth series history and matchup through the years, click here.
This preview will focus on just one thing: how crucial this game is to the Pairwise standings at the end of the year. The two teams will not meet again in the regular season but could possibly play at the WCHA Final Five in St. Paul. If Duluth can “hold serve” in their new arena, they will have a decided advantage going forward.
Both teams are missing key players. For North Dakota, top-line forwards Jason Gregoire and Brett Hextall will miss their fifth straight game due to injury, while defenseman Derek Forbort and forward Brock Nelson represent the United States at the World Junior Championships. Duluth’s top two point-scoring defensemen, Dylan Olsen and Justin Faulk, are also in Buffalo, New York wth Team USA.
It’s always difficult to predict how teams will come out after a holiday break, and the edge is certainly with the Bulldogs. North Dakota spoiled Bemidji’s arena opener earlier this season, and I have a feeling that they’ll do it again. UND 4, UMD 3.