UND set to play on St. Patrick's Day in St. Paul again
Will the Fighting Hawks wear their black jerseys as they did for their Game 2 and 3 wins over Omaha last weekend? Or will they wear green for the holiday?
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Downtown St. Paul will be covered in green Friday.
It may be difficult to tell whether they're St. Patrick's Day revelers or UND fans. If history is any indication, there will be plenty of both.
UND will play for the 12th time in program history on St. Patrick's Day when it takes on St. Cloud State in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Frozen Faceoff semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Xcel Energy Center.
It will be the seventh time it's happened in St. Paul amid the city's holiday celebrations.
"We know we have a lot of fans and family down there," UND coach Brad Berry said. "Our focus is just on our group here as far as how we have to execute and play at a high level to earn an opportunity to play another game. There's going to be a lot of excitement and enthusiasm on St. Patrick's Day weekend, but at the end of the day, our focus is going to be really refined into what we have to do."
UND's last St. Patrick's Day game was in 2018, when it beat Minnesota Duluth 4-1 in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff third-place game.
In all, UND has won four-straight St. Patrick's Day games. The last loss came in the 2007 Western Collegiate Hockey Association title game against Minnesota. Blake Wheeler scored a diving goal in overtime that night.
UND's most notable St. Patrick's Day victory came in the 2012 WCHA title game, when it beat Denver 4-0. That was the last time UND wore its Sioux jerseys.
"We have fond memories of the old WCHA playing in the Final Five in the Xcel Energy Center," Berry said. "It used to be a destination for our fans each and every year. They'd circle it on their calendars. With our up-and-down season there was probably a little ambiguity as far as if we'd be there. But we're there now. We're hoping a bunch of our fans will be there and I know they will be there."
In the old WCHA, UND and Minnesota fans dominated the stands at Xcel Energy Center. Since moving to the NCHC, UND has had the largest fan base at the event.
"We're expecting it to feel like a home game," UND junior Riese Gaber said. "We feel that a lot. I think we have the best fans in the nation. Being able to experience that night in and night out is pretty cool. It's going to give us an extra little boost, I think. Feeling that support is always pretty special. We're definitely very fortunate to always have our fans travel like that."
The holiday game means Berry has a decision to make on UND's attire.
The Fighting Hawks have typically worn green on St. Patrick's Day.
But after losing to Omaha last Friday in green, UND wore its black jerseys during Game 2 and 3 victories to earn the trip to St. Paul.
As the designated road team, UND will wear either green or black for Friday's semifinal.
"We'll have both sets available and ready to go," Berry said. "We'll make a decision Friday night. I think both sets would do and I think we've had a lot of success in both sets."
UND on St. Patrick's Day
2023 — UND vs. St. Cloud State, NCHC semifinal
2018 — 4-1 win over Minnesota Duluth, NCHC third place (green), St. Paul
2017 — 1-0 win over Denver, NCHC semifinal (black), Minneapolis
2013 — 6-0 win over Michigan Tech, WCHA first round (white), Grand Forks
2012 — 4-0 win over Denver, WCHA championship (green), St. Paul
2007 — 3-2 OT loss to Minnesota, WCHA championship (green), St. Paul
2006 — 4-3 win over Wisconsin, WCHA semifinal (green), St. Paul
2005 — 3-2 win over Wisconsin, WCHA quarterfinal (green), St. Paul
2001 — 6-5 OT loss to St. Cloud State, WCHA final (white), St. Paul
2000 — 7-3 win over St. Cloud State, WCHA semifinal (white), Minneapolis
1990 — 5-3 loss to Boston University, NCAA first round, Boston
1984 — 4-2 win over RPI, NCAA quarterfinal, Troy, N.Y.
NCHC Frozen Faceoff
Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul.
Semifinals: Colorado College vs. Denver, 4 p.m. Friday; UND vs. St. Cloud State, 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Championship: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
TV: CBS Sports Network.
Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM), UND's games only.