During the four seasons of the Dave Hakstol era, St. Cloud State has engineered some big wins over the Fighting Sioux. But it’s been UND that’s come up with the important late-season victories over the Huskies when they mattered most.
For example, in 2005, the Sioux went to St. Cloud for their last regular-season series desperately in need of points to secure home ice and to improve in the PairWise Rankings. UND and SCSU played to a 2-2 tie in the Friday game and the Sioux won the Saturday game 2-0. That finish, combined with a three-point series against Wisconsin the previous weekend, secured home ice and began the momentum that carried UND all the way to the national championship game against Denver.
During the 2005-06 season, coach Bob Motzko’s first year at SCSU, the Huskies went 3-1 against the Sioux during the regular season, including a sweep of UND at home. But in the game that mattered most – the WCHA Final Five championship – the Sioux won their fourth Broadmoor Trophy by defeating the Huskies 5-3.
The 2006-07 season saw UND travel to St. Cloud once again for the final series of their WCHA schedule. The Huskies, ranked second nationally, went into the weekend with a chance to catch league-leading Minnesota. Eighth-ranked UND had a chance to move up to third place in the WCHA. The Sioux tied the first game and dominated the second game, winning 7-2. That gave UND enough points to capture third place in the conference and avoid the Final five play-in game.
UND and SCSU met again in the conference tournament and, once again, the Sioux put on a dominating performance, defeating the Huskies 6-2. UND went on to defeat Michigan and Minnesota in the NCAA West Regional to gain a third consecutive Frozen Four appearance. SCSU never recovered from its losses to the Sioux and was “one and done” in the NCAA playoffs.
None of this is to say that the Sioux can afford to take the Huskies lightly. I don’t think they will. However, history shows that UND under Hakstol has traditionally used its late-season games against SCSU as a springboard to success in the playoffs while the Huskies have faltered. Will history repeat itself this weekend? Stay tuned.