Reusse: It's just not the same for Gophers' former hockey rivals

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 1, 2014 - 11:45 PM

Teams in the new NCHC miss playing the Gophers.

– The last visit to St. Cloud State for a hockey game was on Nov. 18, 2011. Freshman Ryan Faragher was tremendous in goal and the Huskies held on for a 4-3 upset of the No. 1-rated Gophers.

The building was bursting with spectators and the atmosphere was charged from the start. When Kyle Rau scored with three minutes left, cutting what was once a three-goal lead to one, the St. Cloud State fans spent the remainder of the night standing, pleading, for the victory that finally came.

“I always loved having the Gophers here … loved having the chance to beat those smug son of a guns,” said John Kerber, a Huskies fan.

This comment came after the first period on Friday night, when the Huskies were holding a 1-0 lead over North Dakota.

This was the first game of the weekend series to determine first place in the new, eight-team National Collegiate Hockey Conference. The game was advertised as a sellout, but the place didn’t seem to be bursting with either the bodies or the energy that had been witnessed previously vs. the Gophers.

There is a disclaimer to that theory: North Dakota took over in a second period in which Faragher, now a junior, was lit up for five goals. Obviously, that took the steam out of the home crowd, while allowing the 1,000 or more fans in visiting green to celebrate incessantly.

The final was 5-2 and put North Dakota in prime position to become the first team to hold the Penrose Cup, the impressive trophy that goes to the NCHC’s regular-season champion.

I’ve heard plenty of complaints from Gophers fans over the dissolution of the WCHA as they knew it in favor of the six-team Big Ten. Apparently, the atmosphere for Penn State in Mariucci on Friday night was as electric as you could find across the street for a December hoops game vs. Coastal Carolina.

What I anticipated hearing from St. Cloud and North Dakota fans was that they had settled comfortably into the most competitive league, 1 through 8, in college hockey.

Nope. Whether in red or green, the eight or nine fans engaged were unanimous in their doubts about the NCHC as a full replacement for the old WCHA.

Pat Adair and his family from Lisbon, N.D., were in attendance. As a fan of the nickname-less North Dakota team (called the “Whioux” by opponents), he said:

“We still have Denver, Duluth, St. Cloud, but it’s not the same without the Gophers or Wisconsin. Especially the Gophers. We follow all the pro teams in Minnesota, and we followed the Gophers.”

Adair added: “We didn’t like the Gophers [in hockey], but we followed them. Even when we start playing Minnesota in a nonconference series, it’s not going to be the same.”

Four other WCHA rivals made the move to the NCHC along with the Huskies and the Whioux: Minnesota Duluth, Denver, Colorado College and Nebraska Omaha. The strangers are Miami (Ohio) and Western Michigan.

“When you ask people here about Miami, they say, ‘McKinnie stinks,’ ” Ron Kosel said.

Bryant McKinnie played for the Miami Hurricanes and then left the Vikings under a controversial circumstance. Kosel was exaggerating St. Cloudites’ lack of knowledge of Miami as a hockey rival … maybe.

“The remodeling that’s been done to the arena has been great, but some of the crowds haven’t seemed quite as large this season,” said Darren Brix of Sartell. “Of course, I’ve been puzzled for years why Huskies hockey — a St. Cloud team playing at the top level — isn’t an automatic sellout.

“Maybe it’s the price. Tickets are affordable, I think, but it’s also St. Cloud. We’re kind of cheap.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Arrieta 2 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: D. Axelrod 7
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 3
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 4
Tampa Bay - LP: K. Yates 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 5
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Danks 2
Minnesota - WP: A. Swarzak 11 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: B. Chen 5
Texas - LP: R. Mendez 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 4
Oakland - LP: R. Cook 3 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: F. Salas 4
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 23 FINAL
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 35
Kansas City 14 FINAL
Green Bay 34
NY Jets 7 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
St. Louis 13 FINAL
Miami 14
Carolina 10 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
New England 13 FINAL
NY Giants 16
Washington 24 FINAL
Tampa Bay 10
Baltimore 22 FINAL
New Orleans 13
Chicago 13 FINAL
Cleveland 33
Denver 27 FINAL
Dallas 3
Minnesota 19 FINAL
Tennessee 3
San Francisco 40 FINAL
Houston 13
Arizona 9 FINAL
San Diego 12
Seattle 31 FINAL
Oakland 41
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pm
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close