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Denver makes new travel plans; UND series still on for Friday-Saturday

The Pioneers' flight to Fargo was canceled due to Blizzard Alexandra, but they're still planning to be in Grand Forks on time to play the Fighting Hawks.

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UND's Matteo Costantini keeps the puck away from Denver's Mike Benning during Saturday's game at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS — The University of Denver men's hockey team did not arrive in North Dakota late Thursday afternoon as it had originally planned.

The Pioneers' scheduled commercial flight from Denver to Fargo was canceled due to Blizzard Alexandra sweeping through the Red River Valley.

But Denver has made alternate plans and is still expecting to be in Grand Forks on time for the showdown between top-15 teams in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

As of 6 p.m. Thursday, the series was still planned as scheduled — 7:07 p.m. Friday, 6:07 p.m. Saturday — according to officials from both schools.

Instead of flying to Fargo, Denver has re-booked its players to fly to Minneapolis-St. Paul. Then, the Pioneers will bus Friday morning to Grand Forks.

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Denver practiced at home Thursday before leaving.

This is the second weather-related travel incident for a UND-Denver series in the last five seasons.

During the 2019 National Collegiate Hockey Conference playoff quarterfinals, UND's flight to Denver was diverted to Albuquerque, N.M., because of a blizzard in Colorado. After landing, the Fighting Hawks took a bus to Raton, N.M., where they spent the night. Then, they drove to Denver the following day. In all, it was about a seven-hour drive.

The Pioneers swept UND in that series and advanced to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff.

There have been plenty of scheduling changes in the last two seasons because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but weather-related changes have been rare.

In the last 20 years, only one UND game has been altered because of weather.

In December 2010, UND played a Friday-Sunday series at Minnesota State-Mankato, because officials postponed the Saturday game due to a blizzard — one that caused the Metrodome's roof to collapse. UND swept that series.

No UND home hockey series has been altered due to weather since Ralph Engelstad Arena opened in 2001.

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Denver's volleyball team successfully traveled to UND on Wednesday ahead of its Thursday-night match in The Betty.

No. 2 Denver at No. 12 UND

When: 7:07 p.m. Friday, 6:07 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Ralph Engelstad Arena.
TV: Midco Sports (GF Ch. 27/622 HD).
Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM).
Stream: NCHChockey.com.

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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