Hull on UMD-Minnesota Rivalry

     The new issue of Sporting News Magazine, which hits newsstands later this week, celebrates the 50 best intrastate rivalries in sports. SN picked one per state.

Among them: Minnesota vs. Minnesota Duluth hockey.

     Sporting News enlisted the help of former Minnesota Duluth star winger Brett Hull, who wrote a guest column about the rivalry. “It’s a big brother-little brother situation,” Hull writes. “Duluth feels like the Gophers get all the best players in the state and everyone wants to go to the main U at the main campus. Players who want to go to the main U but get spurned by the Gophers end up going to Duluth. A lot of them feel like the people at the big U don’t have to work for anything and still get the best players. I never was recruited by Minnesota, but I’m a small-town guy and never would have gone there anyway.”

      The new magazine will be available at all Barnes & Noble, Borders and Hudson Retail outlets.

Also, the United States beat Finland 3-2 Wednesday in the World Championships in Berne, Switzerland and now faces Russia in Friday’s semifinals. Canada faces Latvia in a Thursday quarterfinal. Here’s a U.S.-Finland report from the tournament Web site:

BERNE – Buoyed by three goals in the second period, the United States rallied for a 3-2 win over Finland to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2004. They’ll play Russia on Friday at 3:15 p.m. Russia beat Belarus 4-3. U.S. goalie Robert Esche made 47 saves for the U.S., and goals were provided by Dustin Brown, T.J. Oshie and Ryan Suter.

The last time the Americans beat Finland at an IIHF event was at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake, a skein of eight games (seven wins and a tie for Finland). During that time the teams have met in the quarterfinals in 2008, 2007, and 2004, the Finns winning each time.

 "We’re excited we won the game," said Esche. "Finland was a great team the whole tournament. I think this was the best game I played so far," he admitted, referring to  the 49 shots he faced which earned him player of the game honours.

 On Wedesday, the Americans were the faster team and moved the puck more effectively and with greater confidence.

 "I dont think we played our game," admitted Jarkko Ruutu. "I think we were a little nervous. They got a couple of quick goals in the second period, and we couldn’t really answer." 

USA 0 – 3 – 0 – 3
FIN 0 – 2 – 0 – 2

First Period – Scoring: None. Penalties: USA, Brown (tripping), 9:30; USA, Blake (interference), 16:37; USA, Higgins (hooking), 19:03.

Second Period – 1, FIN, Kapanen (Hagman, Miettinen), :57 (pp); 2, USA, Brown (Suter, Hainsey), 10:31 (pp); 3, USA, Oshie (Backes, Okposo), 12:11; 4, USA, Suter (Blake, Wilson), 14:19; 5, FIN, Hyvonen (Immonen), 17:50. Penalties: USA, Foligno (slashing), 3:48; FIN, Lehtonen (boarding), 4:48; FIN, Hyvonen (interference), 8:29; FIN, Ruutu (tripping), 9:06; FIN, Hyvonen (roughing), 15:33.

Third Period – Scoring: None. Penalties: FIN, Santala (holding), 7:02; USA, O’Sullivan (holding), 12:29.
Power Play: USA 1-5; FIN 1-5
Penalties: USA 5-10; FIN 5-10
Officials: Referees: Daniel Piechaczek (GER), Brent Reiber (SUI); Linesmen: Petr Blumel (CZE), Chris de Haan (CAN).
Attendance: 9,334