We've had a bit of a break in our countdown, but don't worry this week the revealing will come at you fast and furious. Don't forget that last we were in the MTB College Sports Bucket List we were enjoying one of the more interesting football rivalries in the midwest - Michigan State vs. Notre Dame, so check that out if you want to get updated, or just hit the Bucket List button on the menu and you'll see all of our posts so far!
No. 55: Maine vs. New Hampshire (D1 Hockey):
When you think college hockey you can't help but think about the teams out east. They have some of the oldest and most bitter history between them. Well, Main and New Hampshire are no exception to this rule. They've been playing each other since December 15, 1979 and the Black Bears of Maine hold a 57-46-5 series advantage over the Wildcats of New Hampshire.
This may not have the cache that BC vs. BU has in Hockey East and general college hockey circles, but the schools are just 165 miles apart and the fan bases tend to live and work together quite often. In fact UNH has a hard time with the fact that so many Maine fans attend the games at their home arena because of the proximity to southern Maine, which is closer to the Wildcat campus than Maine's in Orono.
This is a series that's seen it's fair share of domination by one team or another, but the 1990's was probably the worst of it as Main won 18 of 19 games at one point in the decade. UNH has been able to slightly return the favor in recent years and at one point early in the 2000's they put on a six game winning streak of their own. 1999 is a season that neither fan base will soon forget and is probably the high point in the rivalry.
Known as "The Border War", these two faced each other to end the 1998-99 season with UNH having to win both games in the series to earn the regular season championship and the top seed in the playoffs. They did the sweep over their rivals at home and earned the top seed. It wasn't over there though as both teams would meet up again in the 1999 National Championship game with Maine taking the title.
Maine fans love to taunt UNH supporters with the moniker "University of No Hardware" as UNH can only claim two Hockey East championships, while the Black Bears are owners of two National Championships and five Hockey East titles.
The battles on the ice are huge, so big that they've made a move in recent years to make the final series of the season "The Border War," but what may be even bigger is the battles that take place off the ice and in the recruiting arena. Both schools are often vying heavily for the top talent in New England, albeit not necessarily inside their states. Those battles are about as bitter as anything that has ever happened on the ice and really keeps the heat on this rivalry year round.
Lately this has been a much more even series and one between two top line programs on a national level. So, if you want to cross this one off your list, doing so in the near future would help make it even more memorable.