Thursday, October 15, 2009

Can You Smell It?!

The MOST anticipated weekend of the year is here! Not only is this the first conference hockey game of the year, nor does it matter that it is taking place on home ice. What does matter is the opponent, the Golden Gophers of Minnesota are scurrying their way north to face the Fighting Sioux in what I anticipate to be a battle among all battles of the year.

North Dakota is notorious for having a slow start, and having 10 freshmen on the team with 3 seniors leading the pack, pure determination will help them win this series. On the other side of the river, Minnesota has always come out with a bang. Unlike long-distance running; however, the Gophers always look exhausted by the end of the season and into post-season. This is the two team’s 247th time of meeting each other, the longest in college hockey rivalries, with the Sioux holding a .489 record all-time record against the Gophers (124-130-12).

The difference this year is the timing. Being it’s the fourth and fifth game for the Sioux, and the second for the Gophers, the outcome is totally unpredictable! The Sioux are undefeated so far, facing Manitoba in exhibition play and sweeping the series last weekend against Hockey East member Merrimack. (Side note: Merrimack contends with Boston College and Boston University in conference play; not the easiest of contenders to knock off for post-season action). The Sioux freshmen have stepped up and already started making their mark in the sport, going as far as earning WCHA Rookie of the Week honors for Mike Cichy. 5 of the 6 freshmen who dressed for the Merrimack series have recorded their first career point (defenseman Andrew MacWilliam holds a +2).

The other fun storyline to follow is the friends/foes on the different lines. Check out Brad Schlossman’s article following Joe Gleason and Danny Kristo’s ties to the Gopher team. In a nutshell, Gleason played for Edina with Minnesota’s Zach Budish; Kristo played with stand-out Jordan Schroeder for the U-18 team. It will be interesting to see if any gloves drop between these four.

With the upcoming series, the events world is all a bustle making sure the arena is ready to go; and as long as the beer lines don’t tap out and the students lining up outside don’t break into our offices, we should be OK. And no, I don’t have extra tickets. Sorry folks! If you are coming, remember your WHITE SHIRTS as it is white-out weekend! Specialty rivalry shirts are available at the Sioux Shop for $12.00 & $16.00.

See YOU at the Ralph - Let’s Go Sioux!!