Playing North Dakota in Grand Forks has never been easy for UAA -- a 3-26-3 record at both the old Engelstad Arena and the new one attests to that -- but at least the Seawolves are catching the Sioux in the first half of the season.
As history shows, that's the best time -- if there is such a thing -- to catch Dave Hakstol's club. In the second half of the WCHA season, his teams have been particular beasts, which is one reason North Dakota has been to the NCAAs in each of his eight seasons as bench boss.
By the way, this WCHA series, which opens Friday in Grand Forks, will mark three meetings in a four-game span for the Seawolves and the No. 4-ranked Sioux -- NoDak beat UAA 5-0 last Friday at the Brice Alaska Goal Rush tournament in Fairbanks.
In any event, in Hakstol's eight seasons, the Sioux have gone 59-49-4 in WCHA games in the first half of the season -- that's a .545 winning percentage, good, but certainly not great.
But check out his clubs in the second half of the WCHA regular season -- North Dakota has gone 70-26-16 -- that's a .696 winning percentage, great, and bordering on ridiculous.
For what it's worth, UAA is 1-6-1 in Grand Forks in coach Dave Shyiak's previous seven seasons. The Seawolves have been outscored 27-11 in those games, managed more than one goal just twice and never scored more than three goals in a game.
In those eight games UAA has played under Shyiak in Grand Forks, UAA has only played two of them in the first half of North Dakota's league schedule, and went 1-1-0 in those games. Playing in Grand Forks in the second half of North Dakota's league schedule, the Seawolves have gone 0-5-1.
So, tough test for the Seawolves this weekend, but history -- again, for what it's worth -- indicates now might be the best time to play the Sioux.