MINNEAPOLIS- If it seems like every weekend the University of Minnesota hockey team plays for a different trophy, well that is the case.
This time around Minnesota retained the Mariucci-Bessone Trophy that it plays for with Michigan State. Co-captain Kyle Rau and Nate Condon skated over to receive it after Saturday's game at Mariucci Arena, a 1-0 victory for the Gophers, as the home team took the season series with two wins compared with the Spartans' two ties/shootout wins.
It's the second straight weekend Minnesota has left the ice with a trophy. Last weekend saw the top-ranked Gophers (19-2-5, 8-0-2-0 Big Ten) defeat Minnesota-Duluth in a shootout to take the inaugural North Star College Cup at the Xcel Energy Center. Throw in the Ice Breaker (which Minnesota won), Mariucci Classic (which Minnesota lost) and at least three upcoming trophies in the Big Ten regular season, conference tournament and NCAA Tournament, and the Gophers have a lot of hardware on the line.
Heck even the Minnesota and Michigan State SB Nation Blogs have something on the line.
However, the Mariucci-Bessone Trophy, named after legendary coaches John Mariucci (Minnesota) and Amos Bessone (Michigan State) is not new; a fact not lost on Rau.The trophy goes back far beyond the formation of the Big Ten (which is sponsoring hockey for the first time this season) when the two teams played for it annually during the College Hockey Showcase.
Back then the Spartans played in the CCHA and Minnesota in the WCHA.
Now that Minnesota and Michigan State, which have combined for 8 national championships, are in the same conference the battle for a trophy that has been forgotten by fans could build.
"The competition in the Big Ten, I think, is really going to build into something special. It's premature to say too much too soon, but you can feel momentum building," Spartans head coach Tom Anastos said after Friday's game. "I hope we build rivalries with Minnesota and all the other schools. I think it'd be great for college hockey."
Just don't expect the Jug to start making its way around.
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Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate