And there was no better stage than the old Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center, where fans would pack the 18,000-seat venue. With half of the arena UND fans, and the other half Gopher supporters, the two fan bases would trade chants and barbs throughout the game in an electric atmosphere.
The rivals met four times on that stage, and they were all classics.
The final meeting before the conference split up — with Minnesota going to the Big Ten and North Dakota to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference — happened in March 2012. It was one of UND hockey’s most memorable games of the last two decades.
This is an oral history of the game in the words of those who were a part of it.
UND lost numerous key players from the previous year’s team: Matt Frattin, Brad Malone, Evan Trupp, Jason Gregoire, Brett Hextall, Brent Davidson, Chay Genoway, Jake Marto and Derrick LaPoint. In the summer, the team’s top recruit, first-round draft pick J.T. Miller, signed