MINNEAPOLIS -- North Dakota and Minnesota have never done things conventionally when they face off on the ice.

The unexpected has become routine.

Highlight-reel goals, improbable finishes and classic games mark the college hockey rivalry.

So, maybe it's fitting that this weekend won't be any ordinary one, either.

When UND and Minnesota drop the puck at 7:07 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, it will mark college hockey's first game on the holiday since Wisconsin hosted Michigan in 2000.

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The Wolverines beat the Badgers 3-2 that evening thanks to a three-point game from Mike Cammalleri. Dany Heatley had two assists for the Badgers.

The following season, Air Force played an exhibition game in Coventry, England, during its week-long foreign trip.

But since then, there haven't been any college games on the holiday.

That changed this year due to Minnesota's home football game against Wisconsin on Saturday -- the football and hockey venues are adjacent -- and that's fine by UND.

"We're a tight family here," Fighting Hawks coach Brad Berry said. "We get to go on the road and be a family for Thanksgiving and try to grow together as a team.

"You spend time with your family on Thanksgiving, and then, guess what? You get to watch a great college hockey game that night. Usually around 3 or 4 o'clock, you get a little bored sitting around the house. I think it's going to be a great thing for families to get out and watch a great college hockey game. From a fan perspective, I think it's a great idea."

It won't be the first time UND has played on Thanksgiving, either.

In 1988, UND squeezed in a game against Air Force on Thanksgiving. WDAZ-TV televised the game, which UND won 8-1 (read the Herald's game story from that night here).

Minot's Matt Morelli, who had seven-career goals, scored three of them on that Thanksgiving Day. UND took Friday off, then hosted Denver on Saturday and Sunday and got swept.

According to UND's archives, the team also played a Thanksgiving Day game at Minnesota Duluth in 1968. UND beat the Bulldogs 4-1 en route to a two-game sweep.

Holiday menu

UND's players won't be eating turkey for Thanksgiving this season.

"Whatever it was we did two or three years ago, it's going to be a 180 from that," said Berry, whose team lost and tied to Michigan State in 2016 and Union in 2017 on Thanksgiving weekend at home.

The Fighting Hawks are sticking to their traditional meal plan: steak the night before the game and carbohydrates for pregame meal.

It is the first time UND has had to plan a Thanksgiving meal on the road since 2015, when the Fighting Hawks were at Michigan State. Jim and Darcy Greene, the parents of former UND captain Matt Greene who live in East Lansing, Mich., hosted the team for Thanksgiving that year.

This time, players won't see family members until after the game -- if that.

UND sophomore forward Gavin Hain said he has family members who are Gopher fans, and he's not sure which team's colors they'll be wearing.

"We'll see after the game," Hain said. "We'll see if I talk to them or not."

No. 3 UND at Minnesota

When: 7:07 p.m. Thursday, 7:07 p.m. Friday.

Where: 3M Arena at Mariucci (tickets available).

TV: Fox Sports North (GF Ch. 28/623).

Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM).

Webcast: foxsportsgo.com.

Live blog: GrandForksHerald.com.