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Six players who could make a difference in the UND-Minnesota rivalry series

The Fighting Hawks and Gophers will play a two-game set in 3M Arena at Mariucci this weekend.

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UND's Ethan Frisch (15) and Nick Portz (20) compete for the puck with Minnesota's Matthew Knies last season in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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MINNEAPOLIS — UND and Minnesota will play the latest edition of their 75-year-old rivalry at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in 3M Arena at Mariucci.

Here are six players who could be difference-makers — three from each team:

F Mark Senden, North Dakota

The UND captain, whose uncle Stuart played at Minnesota, thrived in this series last season.

The Fighting Hawks scored four times against the Gophers in Ralph Engelstad Arena. Senden was in on all four. He had two goals and two assists to help UND to a series split.

Senden might not be the flashiest player, but he can make things happen with his tenacious style, as he did last season.

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UND hockey vs. Manitoba - Oct. 1, 2022
Former Grand Forks Central hockey standout and current UND goaltender Kaleb Johnson (1) celebrates the Fighting Hawks' 5-1 exhibition win over the Manitoba Bisons with captain Mark Senden (19) Saturday, October 1, 2022 at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

F Logan Cooley, Minnesota

Cooley, a freshman, is the highest NHL draft pick in college hockey this season.

The Pittsburgh product, who was previously committed to Notre Dame, was selected No. 3 overall this summer by the Arizona Coyotes.

Cooley has blazing speed, good vision and can finish. On the power play, he is a threat from the right dot, but he's done his damage at even strength this season. Through four games, he has four points at even strength and one on the power play.

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Minnesota freshman Logan Cooley takes a shot in a game earlier this season.
Brad Rempel / Minnesota athletics

F Jackson Blake, North Dakota

Big games and big moments don't seem to faze Blake, a UND freshman forward.

Two years ago, he scored the game-winning goal in the Minnesota Class AA boys state championship game, and a few weeks later, scored the game-winning goal in the United States Hockey League's Clark Cup-clinching game.

Blake's father, Jason, had his moments in the rivalry series. Notably, he scored the game-tying goal in the 1998 comeback in Ralph Engelstad Arena. UND was down 3-0 in the third period, but scored five in a row to win. Jason went 10-3-1 against the Gophers while at UND.

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Jackson, who went to high school at Eden Prairie, will surely be looking to write his own chapter.

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Fighting Hawks freshman forward Jackson Blake (9) celebrates his third period goal in front of the UND student section at Ralph Engelstad Arena during a home hockey matchup against Quinnipiac on Friday, October 14, 2022.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

F Matthew Knies, Minnesota

Knies is Minnesota's top returning scorer after tallying 33 points in 33 games as a freshman.

At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, he's a big body and can play a physical game.

The second-round Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick has been adept at putting shots on target this season. He has attempted 18 shots. None have been shot wide of the net. Two have gone in, 15 have been saved and one has been blocked.

The power forward from Arizona plays around the net on the power play and can be tough for opponents to handle with his combination of size and skill.

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Minnesota's Matthew Knies (right) battles with Minnesota State-Mankato's Jake Livingstone in a game earlier this season.
Mansoor Ahmad / Minnesota State athletics

D Ethan Frisch, North Dakota

The UND senior blue liner has averaged more ice time this season than any player on either UND or Minnesota — 22:56 per game.

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Frisch, the reigning National Collegiate Hockey Conference defensive defenseman of the year, will be matched against a lot of Minnesota's high-end players this weekend. But don't discount what the former Moorhead High standout can do on the other end of the rink.

Frisch is smart about when he jumps into offensive plays and is one of the best at picking corners when he has a clean look.

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UND defenseman Ethan Frisch skates to the blue line during player introductions prior to the regular-season home opener against the Niagara Purple Eagles on Friday, October 8, 2021.
Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

F Jimmy Snuggerud, Minnesota

The freshman forward has been Minnesota's most frequent shooter.

Snuggerud has attempted 29 shots this season, three more than Cooley.

There's good reason for it. He's a pretty good finisher. Snuggerud tallied his first collegiate hat trick against Minnesota State-Mankato two weeks ago in 3M Arena at Mariucci. He leads Minnesota with four goals.

Snuggerud, a right-hander, plays in the left circle on the power play, leaving his one-timer open to receive passes from everyone else on the ice. He's a big threat from that spot.

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Minnesota forward Jimmy Snuggerud celebrates a goal against Minnesota State-Mankato.
Brad Rempel / Minnesota athletics

No. 7 North Dakota at No. 1 Minnesota

When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Where: 3M Arena at Mariucci.
Records: UND 2-1-1, Minnesota 3-1.
TV: Bally Sports North Extra (GF Ch. 339, 639 HD) on Friday, Bally Sports North (GF Ch. 28/623 HD) on Saturday.
Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM) on Friday; Cat Country (100.3 FM) on Saturday.
Stream: Big Ten Plus.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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