STrib: Gophers resume heated rivalry with North Dakota — and players can't wait
Friday, the Gophers and North Dakota will open their first regular-season series since conference realignment drove them apart in 2013. Much has changed since then; both are in new leagues, and North Dakota has changed its nickname (from the Fighting Sioux to the Fighting Hawks) and its coach (from Dave Hakstol to Brad Berry). In terms of sentiment, though, it’s as if time was suspended.
Only a few tickets remain available, despite face values of $100 and up for many seats and $90 for standing room. Internet fan forums have crackled with memories and insults all week, and North Dakota alumni are hosting watch parties in nine states. Former North Dakota stars T.J. Oshie and Taylor Chorney — who now play in the NHL — visited Grand Forks earlier this week to brief current players on the history and emotion that define the series.
Kloos is among four Gophers who skated against the former Fighting Sioux in the teams’ last meeting, a 2-1 Gophers victory in the 2014 Frozen Four semifinals. That game, won on a Justin Holl goal with 0.6 of a second remaining, only added to the lore. As the series reboots, players on both sides are eager to put their own stamp on a rivalry that never gets old, no matter how old it may be.
“The one time I played in it as a freshman, it was an unbelievable game,’’ said Kloos, the Gophers’ senior captain. “It’s an unbelievable rivalry, intense and mean and hard-fought.
“These are the ones you highlight. These are the ones you dream about.’’