Herald preview is out

If you live in the area and want to check out our annual college hockey special section, go pick up a copy of the Herald today. Newspapers are cheap and there’s lots of content in it.

This year’s section is a tiny bit different than the past few. Due to an increased number of ad sales, the section went from 12 pages to 16 pages. But since our press cannot print a 16-page book, it is two eight-page books.

The first eight pages focus on UND. The second eight are a look around the country, league by league. I ranked the top players and top recruits in nearly every league as well as picked the standings. We can all make fun of my picks in six months.

If you do not live in the area and want to get a copy, call 701-780-1215 or 1-800-811-2580.

The section is a print-only deal again this season. Perhaps next season we will have it arranged so fans can buy a .pdf of it (I know I had questions about that in the past, but it is not happening this year, I’m told).

Here’s the cover:

UND ranked No. 2 in national polls

The first national polls are out and UND is ranked second in both, a spot behind Minnesota and a spot ahead of Providence.

USCHO poll

1. Minnesota (36)
2. North Dakota (2)
3. Providence (2)
4. Boston College
5. Union (9)
6. Colgate (1)
7. St. Cloud State
8. Michigan
9. Ferris State
10. Wisconsin
11. Miami
12. Notre Dame
13. MSU-Mankato
14. Cornell
15. Quinnipiac
16. Northeastern
17. UMass-Lowell
18. Denver
19. New Hampshire
20. Boston University

USA Today poll

1. Minnesota (32)
2. North Dakota (1)
3. Providence
4. Boston College
5. Colgate
6. St. Cloud State
7. Michigan
8. Union (1)
9. Miami
10t. Ferris State
10t. Notre Dame
12. Wisconsin
13. MSU-Mankato
14. Cornell
15. Denver

Quick thoughts on UND’s exhibition

The UND women’s team played its first exhibition game of the season Saturday night and beat the Toronto Junior Aeros 9-1. It’s difficult to judge the level of competition, but for reference, St. Cloud State beat them 3-0 a day earlier.

Anyway, here are a few impressions from the team’s first outing:

  • Offense is going to be the big question mark for this team, so putting up nine goals is a good start, especially considering the fact that the team was missing three of its top players — Meghan Dufault, Becca Kohler and Halli Krzyzaniak — who are all at the Canadian National Team camp.
  • Gracen Hirschy is going to do a little bit of everything for this team. Hirschy is going to play both forward and defense. Coach Brian Idalski said he’s not sure how he’s going to list her. “She’s a hybrid,” he said.
  • One reason for moving Hirschy up is because UND is so deep on the blue line. With Northeastern transfer Jordan Hampton joining the D-corps, UND had six strong blue liners Saturday night, and it will add Krzyzaniak next weekend.
  • Leah Jensen is finally healthy and that’s a good thing for UND. She’s been injured much of her time at UND, but was one of the team’s top forwards this season.
  • Amy Menke’s minutes were limited, likely to keep her healthy for this week’s upcoming nonconference games.
  • One play that Idalski and the coaching staff is really going to like is Kayla Gardner’s goal. She drove the net hard, went to the far post and was rewarded for it. In the past, not enough players would go hard to the net like that.
  • It was tough to get any sort of read on the goaltenders. All three of them played but faced very minimal work.

Women’s final: UND 9, Toronto 1

Of note: UND playing without Meghan Dufault, Becca Kohler and Halli Krzyzaniak, all of whom are at the Canadian National Team camp. Gracen Hirschy playing forward.

First period

UND 1, Toronto 0 — Gracen Hirschy (Marissa Salo, Samantha Hanson) 6:05. Hanson makes a nice backcheck to break up a centering pass and deny Toronto a Grade A scoring chance. The puck goes the other way with Hirschy, who dishes it to Salo. Salo skates in and feeds Hirschy with a cross-crease pass.

UND 2, Toronto 0 — Shannon Kaiser (Leah Jensen, Jordan Hampton) 6:29. Hampton launches a shot from the point that Jensen deflects behind her back into the slot area. Kaiser is there to finish it off.

UND 3, Toronto 0 — Layla Marvin (Josefine Jakobsen) 12:50. Jakobsen treads an outstanding pass through three Toronto players to send Marvin in. Marvin skates it to the top of the crease and snaps one home.

UND 4, Toronto 0 — Shannon Kaiser (Josefine Jakobsen, Tori Williams) 19:01. Jakobsen, standing at the point, sends one to the side of the crease, where Kaiser makes a perfect tip over the goaltender’s glove.

Second period

UND 5, Toronto 0 — Kayla Gardner (Jordan Hampton, Johanna Fallman) 2:46. Gardner rushed the puck up the left wing and got a step behind the defenders. She got to the top of the crease, carried the puck to the far post and flipped a backhand just inside the post.

UND 6, Toronto 0 — Gracen Hirschy (Samantha Hanson, Nicole Novak) 3:40. Hanson has the puck at the top of the left circle and feeds Hirschy in the opposite circle. Hirschy sends a one-timer past the goaltender for her second goal of the game.

UND 7, Toronto 0 — Amy Menke (Gracen Hirschy, Leah Jensen) 12:07. Jensen made a pass from the bottom of the left circle to Hirschy. She couldn’t handle the pass, but Menke picked it up and threw a no-look backhand on net and it squeezed through the goaltender.

UND 8, Toronto 0 — Josefine Jakobsen (Leah Jensen) 17:42. Jensen, standing at the bottom of the left circle, found Jakobsen camped out on the other side of the crease. Jakobsen tapped it in.

Third period

UND 9, Toronto 0 — Leah Jensen 7:24. After putting on some pressure, Toronto tries to clear the puck out of the zone, but it hits Jensen’s hand in the high slot. Jensen picks it up and shoots. Her shot catches part of the goalie, but still goes in.

UND 9, Toronto 1 — Mikayla Grant Mentis 14:51. Mentis carries the puck from her own end to the center line, where she dumps a looping puck on net that Chipman loses and it goes over her.

UND’s lines

15 Kayla Gardner–25 Leah Jensen–6 Gracen Hirschy
10 Andrea Dalen–63 Josefine Jakobsen–13 Layla Marvin
11 Shannon Kaiser–55 Lisa Marvin–14 Marissa Salo
21 Amy Menke–32 Nicole Novak

8 Samantha Hanson–22 Tanja Eisenschmid
4 Sam LaShomb–16 Tori Williams
5 Johanna Fallman–7 Jordan Hampton

1 Shelby Amsley-Benzie
29 Lexie Shaw
34 Annie Chipman

NCAA rejects Karvinen’s bid for fourth year

The NCAA has rejected Michelle Karvinen’s appeal to gain a fourth year of eligibility.

The NCAA originally took away a year of eligibility from Karvinen because she played in a league while enrolled at UND. She played overseas in Finland while preparing for the Olympic Games.

Karvinen originally planned to play at UND that season, but the NCAA deemed her a non-qualifier because of issues with her school curriculum in Europe. She enrolled in order to become eligible the next season.

Karvinen racked up 131 points in 87 games while at UND. She was named team captain her senior season and she is a Dean’s List student.

At the 2014 Sochi Games, Karvinen was named the top forward in the tournament.

With the NCAA’s ruling, UND loses Karvinen, who would have potentially been the top forward in the WCHA this season.

UND picked to win NCHC

UND’s certainly hoping there’s not an NCHC poll jinx.

One year after the Miami RedHawks were picked to win the league only to finish in dead last, North Dakota has the bulls eye this season.

UND was officially picked to win the NCHC by media members, earning 12 of 25 first-place votes. Miami was picked second with nine first-place votes and St. Cloud State third with the other four.

Denver was picked fourth, followed by Minnesota Duluth, Omaha, Western Michigan and Colorado College.

I think Minnesota Duluth is the sleeper in the league this season. The Bulldogs are going to be extremely deep and explosive up front. If they can manage their goaltending and blue line well enough, I wouldn’t be shocked if they make a run at the Penrose Cup.

NCHC preseason media poll

1. North Dakota (12) 181
2. Miami (9) 167
3. St. Cloud State (4) 151
4. Denver 117
5. Minnesota Duluth 112
6. Omaha 73
7. Western Michigan 67
8. Colorado College 32

UND women picked fourth

UND is tabbed fourth in the preseason WCHA women’s poll behind Minnesota, Wisconsin and Duluth. UND was just one vote back of the Bulldogs.

Bemidji State and St. Cloud State — the two teams with new head coaches in the league — are picked in the final two spots.

Minnesota, despite losing Amanda Kessel for the season, is the favorite to win the league.

WCHA preseason coaches poll

1. Minnesota (6) 48
2. Wisconsin (2) 44
3. Duluth 34
4. North Dakota 33
5. Ohio State 26
6. MSU-Mankato 17
7. Bemidji State 13
8. St. Cloud State 9

WCHA preseason player of the year

Hannah Brandt, Minnesota (8)

WCHA rookie of the year

Annie Pankowski, Wisconsin (6); Baylee Wellhausen, Wisconsin (1); Cara Piazza, Minnesota (1)

McIntyre named preseason all-NCHC

The NCHC announced its preseason all-conference team and UND junior goalie Zane McIntyre was the squad’s only unanimous selection. Junior defenseman Jordan Schmaltz was left off the list by one vote.

F – Austin Czarnik, Miami (23)
F – Jonny Brodzinski, SCSU (19)
F – Riley Barber, Miami (12)
D – Joey LaLeggia, Denver (19)
D – Jaccob Slavin, CC (13)
G – Zane McIntyre, UND (25)