Forty years ago this week, an editorial in the Duluth Herald and News-Tribune called for a boycott of college hockey over UND's style of play.
"Listen, hockey is not for Caspar Milquetoasts, but the Sioux are brutal," sports editor Bruce Bennett wrote. "Their colors should be black and blue, not green and white. . . Sticks, elbows, anything you've got, that's the Sioux style. Pillaging, plundering their way through the arenas of the West."
The style may be a bit different, but the current team is pillaging and plundering their way through streaks and droughts across arenas of the West.
UND has played three road series so far this season.
In the first one, it ended Minnesota State-Mankato's 11-game home winning streak with a 4-4 tie in the series opener.
In the second one, UND won a series at Denver's Magness Arena for the first time since 2003.
In the third one, the Fighting Hawks swept rival Minnesota in Minneapolis for just the second time since the season in which Bennett's column appeared four decades ago.
While nobody would accuse this team of taking too many penalties -- UND ranks dead last in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference in penalty minutes per game -- this team has embraced life on the road like that 1979-80 team that ended up winning an NCAA national championship.
The coach of that team, Gino Gasparini, would content that the 1980 squad was so much more than just a physical team. Mark Taylor (92 points) and Doug Smail (87) were two of the top four scorers in the nation that season.
"It was a team like the one we've got right now. . . that's growing and getting better in how it's competing," Gasparini said. "If this team continues to grow, it can develop its own tradition and memories. As long as they know how to turn the page and move on and not dwell on what they've done."
UND will have one last road test at Western Michigan University and the raucous Lawson Ice Arena (6 p.m. Friday and Saturday) before its three-week holiday break.
The third-ranked Fighting Hawks (12-1-2) have a four-game road unbeaten streak and an NCAA-leading 11-game overall unbeaten streak.
"We've got some momentum and we're starting to build here a little bit," Berry said. "You want to keep that going through the last two games of the first half of the season and put an exclamation point to it.
"We know that we're going into a pretty tough environment in Lawson Ice Arena, where they play very well, they play hard and it's a tough place to pick up wins. There's a focus here this week and our guys know that, knowing there's a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel, a little break to recuperate here."
This fall, Berry emphasized the importance of UND improving its road record.
The Fighting Hawks went 5-11-1 on the road last season and 6-7-4 two seasons ago. They missed the NCAA tournament both years.
UND's road record has often been an accurate barometer about whether it will reach the NCAA tournament.
In the last 30 college hockey seasons, UND has posted a winning record on the road 22 times. It reached the NCAA tournament all 22 of those seasons. In the eight years it did not, UND missed the NCAA seven times.
The lone outlier was 2011-12, when UND was 6-8 on the road but reached the NCAAs.
'"We're just kind of focusing on each and every weekend," said Berry, whose team is 1-3 in its last four games at Lawson. "I know that sounds like a cliche, but it's true. We talk about what's done is done, it's in the review mirror. You try to not rest on your laurels, whether that's positively or negatively, and just try to keep moving forward. I think that's a strength of our team is the short-term memory of what just happened and just going after it again the next weekend."
Just as Gasparini suggested.
No. 3 UND at No. 17 Western Michigan
When: 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Where: Lawson Ice Arena, Kalamazoo, Mich.
Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM).