9 p.m. Saturday vs. North Dakota • Orleans Arena, Las Vegas
TV: Comcast (999)/Mediacom (MC22)/Charter (TBD)/Midco (TBD), NCHC.tv. Radio: 103.5-FM; 1130-AM
Rivalry renewed in Sin City
Preview: The No. 5 Gophers (1-0-1) come off two weeks of exhibition games to face No. 17 North Dakota (1-2-1) in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game in Las Vegas. This will be the 296th meeting between the storied former WCHA rivals. Most recently the two split a series last season in North Dakota. This will be the 15th neutral-site game, though Gophers coach Bob Motzko is hesitant to call it that: “Not a neutral site at all. It’s going to be all green. We’ll have a handful of people there, but it’s pretty hard to find them in a sea of green.”
Quotable: “We’ve played them four times when I’ve been here, and they’ve been battles every time, especially going up there last year. It was crazy to play in that arena. I grew up watching Gophers hockey, and it was always the most fun going to North Dakota games, especially when we would win at Mariucci. It was just a great feeling.” – Gophers senior forward Darian Romanko on the rivalry
Lucky number seven: It’s rather fitting the Gophers are heading to Vegas for this game, since they’ve scored seven goals in each of their past three games. While two of those were exhibitions against a youthful U.S. national team and a Canadian college, the Gophers have still outscored opponents 22-7 in four games. North Dakota, meanwhile, has been outscored 15-13 by its opponents, including one exhibition.
Not just a business trip: The Gophers have work to do, but they’re still finding some time for fun throughout the weekend. The team planned to do some sightseeing after landing Thursday morning. The team also planned to go to the Vegas Golden Knights’ game Friday night and watch alum Erik Haula.