Close friends Scott Sandelin of Minnesota Duluth and Dean Blais of Nebraska-Omaha have meet just four times since Nebraska-Omaha joined the WCHA three years ago. The rivalry stands 2-2, with a series split in Duluth in 2010-11 and a series split in Omaha last season. UMD leads in goals 13-11. About as even as you can get.
The teams play four times this season, in Omaha on Saturday (7:07 p.m.) and Sunday (2:07 p.m.) and March 8-9 at Amsoil Arena to close the final WCHA regular season for both programs. Both move to the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference in 2013-14.
Sandelin was an assistant under Blais at North Dakota before Sandelin took over at UMD in 2000-01.
The News Tribune has some UMD-Omaha notes, including recent news of an approval of an on-campus rink in Omaha, here.
The Omaha World Herald looks at Nebraska-Omaha’s penalty killing, which ranks second in the WCHA. That story is here.
College Hockey News has Nebraska-Omaha as its team of the week, following a road sweep of Michigan Tech. That story is here.
The NCAA early-signing period for player commitments is Nov. 14-21. Of players who have made an oral commitment to UMD, those likely to officially sign are forwards Alex Iafallo of Eden, N.Y. (Fargo of USHL), and Kyle Osterberg of Lakeville, Minn. (Omaha of USHL), and defenseman Dan Molenaar of Eden Prairie, Minn. (Sioux City of USHL).
Good guy Bill Butters left as a University of Wisconsin assistant coach Wednesday. His story from Andy Baggot of the Wisconsin State Journal is here.