After all, you can go back to the third year of the program’s existence and find UND played a two-game series against Michigan in Albuquerque, N.M. That was December 1948.
But the first attempt of the modern-day destination game idea came in January 2012, when UND played Clarkson in Winnipeg’s MTS Centre, the home of the Winnipeg Jets. UND and Ralph Engelstad Arena gave up a home game to put that one on.
The following year, UND played an outdoor game at Omaha’s T.D. Ameritrade Field, home of the College World Series. That was Omaha’s game, but still, it became a destination for UND fans to travel to. They took over the baseball venue that weekend. At that point, the potential of these unique games became apparent.
In 2016, UND played Boston College in New York City’s Madison Square Garden in the College Hockey Showdown. The National Collegiate Hockey Conference put on that game. And in 2018, UND went to Las Vegas to play Minnesota in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game.
This weekend, UND is off to Nashville to play Penn State in the latest destination game. This also will be a U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game.
Here’s a look back at UND’s previous destination games:
UND 3, Clarkson 1
Venue: MTS Centre. Attendance: 7,075.
UND goals: Carter Rowney (2), Mark MacMillan.
The U.S. College Hockey Classic was originally supposed to feature UND and Omaha. But because of scheduling conflicts, Omaha backed out and UND lined up Clarkson.
UND trailed 1-0 after one, but rallied behind back-to-back goals by Carter Rowney in the second. Dillon Simpson had two assists.
UND played with just five defensemen in the game because of injuries and Derek Forbort’s absence at the World Juniors.
Former UND forward Mark MacMillan shields a Clarkson player from the puck during their 2012 game in Winnipeg’s MTS Centre. Photo by UND athletics.
UND defenseman Nick Mattson makes a pass through a Clarkson defender during their 2012 game at MTS Centre in Winnipeg. Photo by UND athletics.
UND 5, Omaha 2
Venue: T.D. Ameritrade Park. Attendance: 13,650.
UND goals: Jordan Schmaltz, Nick Mattson, Mitch MacMillan, Corban Knight, Danny Kristo.
The event was called “Battles on Ice.” It featured two outdoor games on the same day. It started with the United States Hockey League rivalry between the Omaha Lancers and the Lincoln Stars, and it ended with UND and Omaha.
It wasn’t without some drama. It was a sunny and unusually warm February day, causing the ice to melt during the afternoon USHL contest. The creases and blue lines were especially a mess. The UND-Omaha game was pushed back a couple of hours so the sun would go down. It did, and the game was played.
UND’s coaches wore letter jackets on the bench — all three coaches were letterwinners at UND — and the team stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the first period.
North Dakota’s Stephane Pattyn (28) checks Nebraska-Omaha’s Ryan Walters in the first period of an NCAA college hockey game held outdoors in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013. The rink sits between what would be first and third bases at TD Ameritrade Park, the baseball stadium where the College World Series is played each June.(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
New York City 2016
UND 4, Boston College 3
Venue: Madison Square Garden. Attendance: 11,348.
UND goals: Tyson Jost (2), Joel Janatuinen, Trevor Olson.
The College Hockey Showcase was part of a hockey doubleheader at Madison Square Garden. The New York Rangers beat the Carolina Hurricanes in an afternoon game. Former Boston College star Chris Kreider scored back-to-back goals in the third period, but Kreider’s alma mater didn’t fare as well at night.
Although New York City is far closer to Boston College’s campus in Chestnut Hill, Mass., the crowd was heavily partisan in favor of UND. They had plenty to cheer for. Tyson Jost scored twice, Joel Janatuinen once and Trevor Olson scored his first of the season.
It marked UND’s first victory over Boston College since the 2005 NCAA regionals. UND lost to the Eagles in the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Frozen Four semifinals.
Tyson Jost celebrates a goal during UND’s 4-3 win over Boston College in Madison Square Garden. Photo by Russell Hons/UND athletics.
Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Phil Jackson watch UND take on Boston College on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Russ Hons/UND athletics.
Las Vegas 2018
UND 3, Minnesota 1
Venue: Orleans Arena. Attendance: 7,412.
UND goals: Colton Poolman (2), Joel Janatuinen.
UND and Minnesota took their rivalry to Las Vegas to play the 2018 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game.
The game was booked at Orleans Arena before UND and Ralph Engelstad Arena officials saw the overwhelming response in New York City. But after seeing the turnout at Madison Square Garden, officials privately began pondering whether they could have sold out the much larger T-Mobile Arena, home of the Vegas Golden Knights.
Orleans Hotel and Casino made Minnesota big favorites in the game, but there was such heavy action on UND that it was virtually even by the time the puck dropped.
UND got down 1-0 on a power-play goal, but rallied behind a pair from defenseman Colton Poolman. The Fighting Hawks won the game and their fans cashed big at the sportsbook.
The North Dakota Fighting Hawks celebrate a third period goal by defenseman Colton Poolman (6) during the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game against Minnesota Golden Gophers at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. Richard Brian / Las Vegas Review-Journal.
UND poses for a photo after beating rival Minnesota in the 2018 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game in Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Photo by Russ Hons/UND athletics.