The Minnesota and North Dakota hockey series is one of the best rivalries in college hockey.
Unfortunately, this past weekend was the final regular season WCHA series between the University of Minnesota and The University of North Dakota. There will be no more of these regular season battles.
The Rivalry has been likened by some as the modern day version of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s feud.
All a person has to do is go on YouTube.com and search for Sioux and Gophers and there are literally hours of video of scrums, dust-ups and fights.
From a historical perspective, last weekend’s series between there UND and UMN was rather tame. There were no major dust-ups or line brawls. Both teams were whistled for a combined miniscule total of 64 minutes in penalties over the course of a two game series.
What’s even more shocking, there were no major penalties called against either team all weekend long, not a single one.
I thought UND was a bunch of knuckle dragging Neanderthal goons? Looking at the numbers it’s safe to assume that North Dakota is not anymore.
This weekend’s penalty minutes were tame compared to last season’s series at the Ralph Engelstad Arena between UND and UMN on
January 13-14, 2012. Minnesota and North Dakota amassed 105 minutes in penalties. There were also two major penalties called during that weekend series, with each team garnering a five minute major penalty.
In years past, there were single periods that surpassed that penalty minute total of 64 minutes.
North Dakota Senior Defenseman MacWillam was asked about this past weekend’s games and if they were as tame as they appeared on the television.
“It has been in the past,” MacWillam said. “I think that hockey is changing a little bit. You can’t have the big hits anymore. So I think that might have contributed to some of it. It’s still heated between the whistles. It’s a little different than playing I assume. But that bitter rivalry is still there.”
UND Junior Defenseman Dillon Simpson who has played in the series for three seasons, had this to say about this past weekend’s series as well.
“On the ice there is a lot of stuff on the ice going on,” Simpson said. “Maybe not as much open to the fans as you can see. But it’s always heated when we play those guys, and it was rough, a lot of big hits but nothing out of control. I think for us we were more focused, we needed to two wins big time. We were trying to stay out of the box and try to make it a game. It was still rough and still a tough series but at the same time nothing outrageous happened.”
One could make the argument that the players do adjust to the way the game is being called.
When Simpson was asked about his thoughts on not playing the Minnesota Gophers next season, he went on to say.
“It sucks, this is the biggest rivalry I think in college hockey”, Simpson said. “This is the most fun that I have playing on the weekends. It kind of sucks! Who knows if we will see them down the line this year, but it’s not fun not being able to play them next year.”