Saturday, March 17, 2012

Power of Sioux Green

When the Minnesota Gophers and the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux meet up, their hockey games are usually intense affairs. This is one of the biggest rivalries in college hockey, if not all of college sports. So when the two teams met in the semi finals of the WCHA Final Five tournament on Friday night, Sportmentary expected a close and intense battle between these two teams.

What we saw was a tail of two halves of the game. The Gophers took control early, scoring three goals midway through the second period. The Gophers looked like a lock to win the game. The Gophers came into the tournament as the top ranked team and were playing in front of a home crowd at the Excel Energy Center.

Even after the Sioux scored a late second period goal, most fans were expecting the Gophers to finish the game strong. The Gophers best period all year has been the third period and they came into the game leading all WCHA teams in third period goal differential.

That wasn't what happened. The power of green took over in the third period as the Sioux throttled a confused and beleaguered Minnesota Gophers squad. The Sioux scored five, count them, five third period goals, on route to a 6-3 drubbing of the Gophers.

For Sportmentary who is a UND  alumn and huge Sioux fan, this was an awesome game to watch. The Gophers collapsed. The gophers who've been a dominant team all year, finished the game looking like chumps and not champs.

What made this game even more pleasing was that the Gophers were playing in front of a home crowd. I dislike this obnoxious team who seem to feel that the world owes them. They almost had everything lining up for a victory. The referees were biased in favor of the home team but that didn't stop the power of green from crushing the Gophers.

This has to go down as both the greatest comebacks and collapses in WCHA Final Five history. The announcers, who are Gopher homers, couldn't believe what they were watching. I couldn't either but instead of a frown, I was wearing  a smile.

The Sioux earned the right to play in the tournament final against Denver on Saturday. The Sioux seem to have an advantage as Denver earned their way to the final with an overtime win in game one and a double overtime win on Friday against defending NCAA champions, UMD Bulldogs.

Denver has played almost three more periods than the Sioux throughout the first two games and were playing with only five defenseman on Friday afternoon. The Sioux better not take Denver lightly as they have a lot of scoring power.

If the Sioux play as well as they did in the second half of Friday's game, the power of green should prevail and the Sioux could be WCHA Final Five Champions.

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