When 10th-ranked Michigan and second-ranked Minnesota clash this weekend for a two-game series, it will reignite one of the most historic rivalries in college hockey. Minnesota takes a six-point Big Ten standings lead against Michigan into the weekend, with one month remaining in the conference slate.
The two schools haven't played since Nov. 28, 2010, when they met in the last edition of the College Hockey Showcase, but with the creation of the Big Ten Hockey conference, the schools, which rank No. 1 and No. 2 all-time in NCAA Division I wins, will now meet four times each season. Two schools that were both there when it all began will now begin a new chapter of their prolific rivalry.
On Jan. 23-24, 1923, U-M and Minnesota played against one another in just the fifth and sixth games in Michigan's Division I college hockey history. Since then, the schools have combined for nearly 3,300 wins, hoisted 14 national title banners and made 44 Frozen Four appearances, 20 of which have come since 1990.
Now, the two schools will meet in Minneapolis for the first time since 2010, and the Maize and Blue are fired up for the challenge.
"It'll be a good test for us," Michigan coach Red Berenson said. "We went from playing a team that maybe didn't have as much momentum or respect for [in Penn State] to playing a team who has a lot of both."
Berenson notes this year's team under head coach Don Lucia is a prototypical Golden Gophers squad.
"He coaches the team like Minnesota has been known to play," Berenson said, "They're a good offensive team, a good skating team and their defense are always dangerous. They're like us. They lose players every year, and [Don] has done a good job of keeping Minnesota hockey at a high level."
While the two teams will meet for the first time in more than three years, it won't be difficult for Michigan to jump right back into the rivalry.
"Much like a lot of teams get up to play us, we're going to get up to play Minnesota," senior captain Mac Bennett said.
Boston College swept Vermont -- this weeken's opponent -- in the Hockey East quarterfinals last season. ... Union (N.Y.) is 9-0 versus the Ivy League this season, outscoring teams by a 36-15 margin. ... Quinnipiac meets Yale for a rematch of last season's national title game. ... Wisconsin last went to Columbus to play Ohio State on Jan. 29, 1969. ... Providence's Ross Mauermann is the first Friar to top the 31-point plateau in a season since Torry Gajda had 34 in 2005-06. ... Doug Carr has won eight of his past nine starts for Massachusetts-Lowell. ...Sophomore forward David Morley will bring a five-game scoring streak for St. Cloud State into the Minnesota-Duluth series. ... Ferris State sits in second in the nation with 20 wins heading into the weekend series against Bemidji State.
Mike Driscolli enters Babson's series against Norwich with five goals and four assists in his past six games. ... Three of the top four goal scorers for Trinity (Conn.) are either freshmen or sophomores. ... St. Norbert won an overtime road game for only the seventh time in school history last weekend. ... Duston Hebebrand enters the weekend series against Lake Forest on the heels of a four-goal weekend for Adrian. ... Wisconsin-Eau Claire coach Matt Loen earned his 100th career win last weekend. ... Garrett Ladd scored two third-period goals as Wisconsin-Stevens Point beat Wisconsin-Eau Claire earlier this season. ...