Opponent Preview: North Dakota

MINNEAPOLIS — Top-ranked Minnesota will play host to archival No. 6 North Dakota this weekend at Mariucci Arena. Friday's game begins at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday's contest starts at 5:00 p.m. Both games will be televised by FOX Sports North.

No. 1 Minnesota (16-3-3, 8-3-3 WCHA) vs. No. 6 North Dakota (13-6-3, 8-3-3 WCHA)
Minneapolis, Minn. – Mariucci Arena
Friday 7:00 p.m. CT – FOX Sports North (Doug McLeod, Kevin Gorg)
Saturday 5:00 p.m. CT – FOX Sports North (Doug McLeod, Kevin Gorg)

PREGAME NOTES

Storyline
The stakes don't get any higher for No.1 Minnesota as archrival No. 6 North Dakota comes to town with first place in the WCHA potentially on the line. After playing six times last season, these teams are quite familiar with each other and should both be ready to square off when the puck is dropped.

Season to Date
UND has compiled an impressive overall record of 13-6-3 with an 8-3-3 conference mark, exactly the same as the Golden Gophers. North Dakota has impressive win over Holy Cross and Boston University but also own losses to Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Anchorage. They enter this weekend tied with Minnesota for third in the WCHA but have played just 14 conference games compared to 16 games played by Denver and Nebraska Omaha.

Coaching Preview
Dave Hakstol is in his ninth season with North Dakota and has compiled an amazing record of 213-106-30 while tallying a 129-75-20 mark in the WCHA. Although Hakstol has yet to win a title with UND, he has won a record three WCHA Tournament titles in a row over the past three seasons.

Last Meeting
The last meeting between these two rivals took place in the NCAA Tournament last March as the Gophers advanced to the Frozen Four with a 5-2 thrashing of North Dakota. Travis Boyd and Nate Condon each notched a goal and an assist in the contest.

Series History
The Gophers hold a 144-130-14 advantage over North Dakota in the all-time series. When playing in Minneapolis, the Maroon and Gold are 81-52-6.

Dynamic Duo
If the Gophers want to take the series against North Dakota they will have to shut down the scoring pair of Danny Kristo (13 G, 17 A) and Corbin Knight (10 G, 21 A)

"They're both outstanding players," said Don Lucia of Kristo and Knight. "To their credit, they came back for their senior year, and they're both having really good senior years. If we're going to have success this weekend, we're going to have to minimize what they do."

Quotable
"I like their goaltender; I think he's better than what they had a year ago. I think up front they're deeper. They had a lot of injuries last year, so their depth up front is a lot better. They were able to keep a couple of their seniors in Knight and Kristo who are having great years for them. The defensive corps might be a little more of puck movers more than brawn, which is what they've had the last couple of years. They're going to come after us, they're going to play aggressive, they're going to play to win as are we, and that's what makes for an entertaining game," said Lucia when asked what he expected to see from North Dakota this weekend.

Background
Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota
Enrollment: 15,250
Conference: WCHA
Mascot: None
Coach: Dave Hakstol (9th Season)


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