GRAND FORKS – It won’t be No. 1 vs. No. 2.
But for the fourth season in a row, the University of North Dakota is set to play in a showdown between two teams ranked in the top three nationally.
The Fighting Hawks checked in at No. 3 in this week’s USCHO national poll, and will travel to Denver to take on the top-ranked Pioneers in a two-game series at 8:05 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, and Saturday, Nov. 19, in Magness Arena.
Last season, Minnesota Duluth swept UND in a 1-2 matchup in Duluth’s AmsOil Arena.
The prior year, UND was ranked third when it beat top-ranked Quinnipiac 5-1 in the NCAA national championship game.
And one year before that, UND was ranked third when it lost to second-ranked Boston University 5-3 in the NCAA Frozen Four semifinals in Boston’s T.D. Garden.
For the Pioneers, it will be their second-straight weekend of playing a top-three series.
A week ago, Denver held the nation’s No. 3 ranking during a showdown with then-No. 1 St. Cloud State.
Denver swept the series to regain the top spot.
For the third week in a row, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference is holding down the top three spots in the poll with Denver, St. Cloud State and North Dakota. Minnesota Duluth is ranked No. 14 and Western Michigan is No. 15.
Colorado College and Omaha are receiving votes. The only NCHC team that isn’t receiving votes is Miami.
Mismash honored by NCHC
For the third time in the span of five weeks, UND forward Grant Mismash is the NCHC’s rookie of the week.
Mismash had a goal and an assist in Friday’s 4-1 win over Miami and an assist in Saturday’s 3-3 tie against the RedHawks.
Mismash leads UND in scoring with 11 points in 11 games.
Heated argument in Denver
Last weekend’s St. Cloud State and Denver series ended with a heated argument between Husky coach Bob Motzko and Pioneer coach Jim Montgomery in the handshake line.
Neither coach explained the argument in postgame interviews.
But St. Cloud State star recruit Cole Guttman, a Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick, de-committed late last week. If Guttman ends up signing with the Pioneers, that likely had something to do with the heated exchange.