The top two teams in college hockey will meet this weekend in downtown Duluth. No. 1 North Dakota visits Amsoil Arena for a conference showdown with No. 2 Minnesota Duluth.
The showcase of the nation’s top teams in both polls, USCHO and USA Hockey, is a matchup that hasn’t happened often in the past decade. It is the first regular-season series between the top teams in the past nine seasons.
The Gophers were involved in both of the most recent 1 vs. 2 meetings. No. 2 Union beat the No. 1 Gophers 7-4 in the 2014 national championship game, and in 2013 the No. 1 Gophers beat No. 2 Notre Dame in a single game at Mariucci Arena.
Friday’s series opener will be broadcast on Fox Sports North at 7 p.m. The game will also air on Fox College Sports Pacific … maybe to show off the best teams to the growing college hockey audience out West. Saturday's game will be aired on Midco Sports Network in North Dakota and on My 9 TV in Duluth. The Gophers travel to New York for a non-televised road trip.
The Bismarck Tribune reminded us that North Dakota hasn’t played in a 1-2 matchup since October 2000 against Michigan and it ended in a 5-5 tie. Duluth has never played in a 1 vs. 2 showdown.
UND is 5-0 and received all 50 first-place votes in the USCHO poll. The Bulldogs are 3-1-2 with their lone loss to No. 5 Massachusetts-Lowell and the two ties against No. 7 Notre Dame.
Duluth was the last team to beat defending national champion North Dakota in last year’s NCHC Frozen Faceoff semifinals at Target Center.
The Gophers fell out of the Top 10 to No. 12 in the most recent poll after being swept by No. 10 St. Cloud State. The Gophers face Clarkson and St. Lawrence this weekend. Neither game will be on TV, but can be streamed online.
So if you're looking for good college hockey to watch this weekend, be sure to turn on North Dakota vs. Duluth Friday night.