One small, recurring storyline for UND this season was faceoffs. There were a few games early in the season where UND got dominated in the circle, and it was especially noticeable on special teams.
But in looking at season-ending statistics, maybe I was a bit too harsh on the team’s performance in the dot.
UND actually finished second in the NCHC in faceoffs (.529), only behind Miami. It finished quite a bit ahead of St. Cloud State, a team that had UND’s number in the dot a couple times this season.
UND’s .529 percentage was better than its team percentage of each of the previous two seasons (.523, .525).
Nationally, UND finished ninth. Minnesota was first at .556 and Princeton was last at .419.
UND’s coaching staff worked on this throughout the season at practice. They didn’t just drop the puck for two guys to face off, they also had the wingers present because they can be as critical as the centerman to winning draws sometimes. The work paid off.
Top NCHC faceoff teams
.529 North Dakota
.518 Western Michigan
.500 St. Cloud State
.459 Minnesota Duluth
.454 Colorado College
Mark MacMillan was UND’s best, but they had several guys who finished with very nice marks.
UND’s top faceoff men
.572 Mark MacMillan
.566 Stephane Pattyn
.561 Connor Gaarder
.542 Drake Caggiula
.495 Nick Schmaltz
.473 Luke Johnson
Obviously, UND loses its top three on this list and will need others to improve in this area for next season.