Gameday final: UND 4, Omaha 3, OT

TONIGHT’S VIEWING: Midco Sports Network, FCS Central, DirecTV 608-1, DISH 454. Lineup notes: Same personnel as last night for UND, only some minor changes on the D-pairings. Lone change for Omaha is O’Rourke for Youso. Full lines and live chat are below.

First period

UND 1, Omaha 0 — Mark MacMillan (Michael Parks, Paul LaDue) :37. UND scores on a beautiful transition play to start the game. LaDue starts a 3-on-2 rush with a pass to Parks, who flies up the right wing, gets space around an Omaha defender and feeds MacMillan backdoor.

UND 1, Omaha 1 — Jake Guentzel (Austin Ortega, Dominic Zombo) 3:23. Zombo makes a great play on the end wall to start a transition out of the zone. Ortega moves it to Guentzel, who is behind the defense. He shoots five-hole. McIntyre gets a piece of it but not enough and it trickles through.

UND 2, Omaha 1 — Mark MacMillan (Luke Johnson, Nick Mattson) 15:23. UND moves the puck quickly and gets a power-play goal right at the end of the advantage. Mattson moves it to an open Johnson in the slot. Johnson fires a shot that’s stopped by Massa, but MacMillan uses his quick hands to pick up the rebound and flip it past Massa.

Second period

No scoring.

Third period

UND 2, Omaha 2 — Jake Guentzel (Ian Brady, Austin Ortega) 4:00 (pp). Guentzel has the puck against the wall near the goal line and throws a weak one on net that fools McIntyre and goes five-hole. Definitely one Zane will want back.

UND 3, Omaha 2 — Stephane Pattyn (Nick Schmaltz) 9:15. The puck goes forward off the draw and Pattyn gets a sharp-angle shot on Massa. The rebound pops up in the air and Pattyn swats it out of midair for the goal.

UND 3, Omaha 3 — Brian Cooper (Jake Randolph, Justin Parizek) 16:16 (pp). Omaha gets a late power play on a too many men call and makes UND pay. Cooper shoots from the point through traffic and hits the corner of the net to even it.

Overtime

UND 4, Omaha 3 — Brendan O’Donnell (Connor Gaarder) 3:04. Gaarder wins a puck off the wall and gets it to O’Donnell, who snaps a shot from the left circle past Massa on the far side.

Live Blog Men’s Hockey at Omaha

UND’s lines

3 Tucker Poolman–16 Mark MacMillan–15 Michael Parks
29 Bryn Chyzyk–9 Drake Caggiula–27 Luke Johnson
28 Stephane Pattyn–8 Nick Schmaltz–17 Colten St. Clair
21 Brendan O’Donnell–13 Connor Gaarder–14 Austin Poganski

4 Keaton Thompson–24 Jordan Schmaltz
5 Nick Mattson–6 Paul LaDue
20 Gage Ausmus–2 Troy Stecher

31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson

Omaha’s lines

20 Jake Guentzel–14 Dominic Zombo–16 Austin Ortega
13 Jake Randolph–10 Tyler Vesel–25 Justin Parizek
7 Avery Peterson–19 Tanner Lane–12 David Pope
17 Luke Nogard–11 Kyle Mountain–9 James Polk

2 Brian Cooper–5 Joel Messner
4 Luc Snuggerud–28 Brian O’Rourke
24 Ian Brady–23 Grant Gallo

31 Ryan Massa
29 Kirk Thompson
1 Brock Crossthwaite

Friday night rewind

OMAHA, Neb. — The big top-five matchup between UND and Omaha did not disappoint on Friday night. The budding rivals played one fantastic college hockey game in CenturyLink Center that ended with a rarely seen 5-on-3 power play in overtime. Game stories:

Grand Forks Herald

Omaha World Herald

USCHO

Other notes:

  • UND and Omaha flipped spots in the Pairwise. UND dropped to No. 4, while Omaha jumped to No. 2.
  • That was easily the best Omaha crowd I’ve seen here. Student section was at least twice what I’ve seen before. They were loud and into the game. Final attendance was 11,168.
  • UND coach Dave Hakstol didn’t comment on the calls in overtime, but clearly was unhappy with them. NCHC supervisor of officials Don Adam was at the game and I believe he did talk to Hakstol after the game.
  • UND hit three posts in the game — Troy Stecher hit two and Keaton Thompson hit one. Stecher’s second one was actually a crossbar in overtime. He looked a little upset that he didn’t score on it.
  • Speaking of Stecher, he said that he felt all right on the ice. He was a little critical of his own play, saying he made some mistakes that were “very costly.” Stecher will only get better from here and I thought he was an impact player on Friday.
  • Clearly, UND was at its best in the third period, where shot attempts were 34-9 in favor of UND. I also thought UND was terrific in the opening six minutes or so, but couldn’t build the early lead.
  • The extras on the trip are Andrew Panzarella and Johnny Simonson, although I don’t think this is a game that will force the coaching staff to make wholesale changes.
  • UND went 1-for-7 on the power play, including a five-minute major. Obviously, they are going to want to be a little more efficient there. They did get a lot of pucks to the net on the power play, registering 13 of their 35 shots with the extra man.
  • Jordan Schmaltz led UND with seven shots on goal.
  • UND will try to avoid losing two straight games for the first time since November of last year.
  • Tonight is the last time that UND will play in the CenturyLink Center. Next season, the Mavs are opening their arena near campus.
  • Omaha will get steady defenseman Brian O’Rourke back tonight. He missed Friday night’s game serving a suspension for an illegal check against Colorado College.
  • At 1 p.m. today, Creighton is taking on Georgetown in the CenturyLink Center. Then, they are transforming it into hockey. So, ice conditions may be less than ideal for the 7 p.m. puck drop.

Gameday final: Omaha 3, UND 2, OT

TONIGHT’S VIEWING: CBS Sports Network (DirectTV 221, DISH 158). No webcast. Lineup notes: Stecher returns to the lineup, replacing Panzarella. Poolman stays up front. Full lines and live chat are below.

First period

Omaha 1, UND 0 — Tyler Vesel (Joel Messner, Tanner Lane) 18:19. Vesel enters the zone on a rush up the right side and pulls the puck to his backhand to get some space against Stecher, then flips one past McIntyre on the far side. McIntyre got a piece of it but not enough.

Second period

Omaha 2, UND 0 — Avery Peterson (Tanner Lane, David Pope) 2:46. Peterson enters the zone one-on-one with JSchmaltz on the left side. Schmaltz makes a stick check and gets the puck but not enough to get it away. Peterson flicks a shot at the net that hits Schmaltz and McIntyre before going in.

Third period

Omaha 2, UND 1 — Luke Johnson (Brendan O’Donnell, Nick Mattson) 3:23 (dp). Johnson is providing traffic on top of the crease and gets tripped by Gallo and takes out Massa. The puck gets to O’Donnell in the slot, who has a wide open net, but shoots it wide. Johnson gets puck and bangs home the rebound after a long bounce off the end wall.

Omaha 2, UND 2 — Drake Caggiula (Jordan Schmaltz, Nick Schmaltz) 19:12 (pp) (ex). UND pulls the goalie with a late power play and Caggiula scores his second extra-attacker, game-tying goal of the season. Massa can’t handle Schmaltz’s point shot and Caggiula jumps on the rebound.

Overtime

Omaha 3, UND 2 — Austin Ortega (Ian Brady, Luc Snuggerud) 4:27 (pp). Omaha gets an extended five-on-three power play in overtime and converts as the first penalty is about to expire. Ortega, on top of the crease, tips in Brady’s shot from the circle for the winner.

Live Blog Men’s Hockey at Omaha

UND’s lines

3 Tucker Poolman–16 Mark MacMillan–15 Michael Parks
29 Bryn Chyzyk–9 Drake Caggiula–27 Luke Johnson
28 Stephane Pattyn–8 Nick Schmaltz–17 Colten St. Clair
21 Brendan O’Donnell–13 Connor Gaarder–14 Austin Poganski

20 Gage Ausmus–24 Jordan Schmaltz
5 Nick Mattson–6 Paul LaDue
4 Keaton Thompson–2 Troy Stecher

31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson

Omaha’s lines

20 Jake Guentzel–14 Dominic Zombo–16 Austin Ortega
13 Jake Randolph–10 Tyler Vesel–25 Justin Parizek
7 Avery Peterson–19 Tanner Lane–12 David Pope
17 Luke Nogard–11 Kyle Mountain–9 James Polk

2 Brian Cooper–5 Joel Messner
4 Luc Snuggerud–23 Grant Gallo
6 Matt Youso–24 Ian Brady

31 Ryan Massa
29 Kirk Thompson
1 Brock Crossthwaite

Friday morning reading

It’s No. 1 vs. No. 5 in the polls.

It’s No. 2 vs. No. 4 in the Pairwise.

It’s No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the NCHC standings.

Whatever way you slice it, a lot of eyes will be on this weekend’s two-game series in the CenturyLink Center in Omaha. It’s not a surprise that some are calling this the biggest home series ever for Omaha hockey.

It’s also not a surprise that Omaha fans are doing everything they can to try to give themselves a home-ice advantage — something that hasn’t always been the case for games between these teams in Omaha.

The first time these teams played this season, UND earned a win and a tie (UND lost the shootout, which is the difference in the NCHC standings right now).

One thing I noticed from that series — and also from the Duluth series — is that the three NCHC teams that are coached by former Sioux players/coaches all play with a bit of an edge. You can tell that Dean Blais and Scott Sandelin brought that same brand of hockey to their new schools.

Blais, speaking to ESPN Radio on Thursday afternoon, had an interesting assessment of UND. He said: “North Dakota is a team that can beat you any way they have to, whether it’s being chippy, being physical or moving the puck.”

Blais went on to say that the Mavs can’t control what UND is going to do, but his team needs to be tenacious. He also insinuated that he doesn’t want to get in a run-and-gun game with UND, saying that Omaha could be “in trouble” if they get into “exchanging opportunities” with UND.

One reason UND will want to take advantage in tonight’s series opener: Omaha will be without solid defenseman Brian O’Rourke, who has to serve one more game of a suspension for an illegal check against Colorado College.

Meanwhile, there’s a possibility that UND could get Troy Stecher back tonight, which would be a huge boost.

For Thursday’s paper, I wrote about UND’s altered travel plans to Omaha this season. If you haven’t heard about what happened on the last two trips home, read this piece.

This week’s “Get to Know” segment is with forward Colten St. Clair, who returned to the lineup last Saturday and registered an assist. Find out what Arizona high school record his father held by reading this piece.

The Omaha World Herald had a second preview on the series here as well.

On to the picks…

St. Cloud State at Colorado College: Although the Tigers have just one win in 13 conference games, anyone who saw them last weekend knows that they are on the right track. The Huskies, meanwhile, continue to struggle to make up ground. St. Cloud State 4-1, Colorado College 3-2.

Minnesota Duluth at Denver: The Bulldogs looked great Jan. 9, handling UND 4-1 in Ralph Engelstad Arena. But they haven’t been the same team since. They are 1-3-1 since, and the lone win came against Minnesota on a third-period goal. The Dogs had only two shots that period. Denver continues to build a strong season. This one has split written all over it. Duluth 3-1, Denver 3-2.

Miami at Western Michigan (Saturday only): Miami is only 5-5 in the last 10 games and Lawson isn’t an easy road trip. Western Michigan 4-3.

UND at Nebraska Omaha: Okay, okay, people are bored with my split predictions. So, I’ll go out on a limb with this one. I think if UND gets Troy Stecher back, it could be a game-changer, especially against Omaha’s prolific offensive attack. I’ll say UND grabs another series win in two down-to-the-wire games. UND 3-2, 3-2.

********************************************************************

The UND women’s hockey team has started to find its way. It is 7-1 in the last eight games and is coming off of arguably its best performances of the year in sweeping Bemidji State at home.

Now, it’s off to Duluth for another key series in the battle for home ice in the playoffs.

For UND, this series is business as usual. For Duluth, it’s been anything but that.

I’ve talked to many people in Duluth and there is, not surprisingly, a major divide between the athletic department and the women’s hockey team. National attention has been focused on the fact that the school fired a five-time national champion coach due to finances.

That’s hardly the whole story as Miller has run afoul of NCAA regulations before, has alienated nearly the entire department and has won just 1 of the last 29 games against UND, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

This story details some of the problems associated with Miller and the program.

The women’s games will be on the radio in Grand Forks on 1440 AM as Darrin Looker made the trip to Duluth.

Adams commits to UND

UND picked up a verbal commitment from Honeybaked U16 forward Collin Adams on Wednesday night.

Adams is a draft pick of the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the USHL and has filled in for the U.S. Under-17 team at times this season.

Adams, a 1998-born forward from Brighton, Mich., had offers from a number of other different schools, according to SB Nation.

 

Stecher, Olson continue to skate

Both UND defenseman Troy Stecher and forward Trevor Olson continues to skate at practice as UND prepares for this weekend’s showdown against Nebraska Omaha in the CenturyLink Center.

It’s not out of the question that they play one or both games this weekend as No. 1 UND takes on No. 5 Omaha.

Stecher hasn’t played since Dec. 6, when he injured his leg in a game against Lake Superior State. He has missed the last eight games (UND is 6-2 without him). The original timeline pegged his return for around this time.

If Stecher does not play against the Mavericks, he will have an extra week to heal up as UND is off next weekend before hosting Denver.

Stecher rejoined practice last week but was unavailable for the games against Colorado College.

Olson also rejoined practice last week after being out with mono. He returned to practice quicker than the team originally thought.

Olson hasn’t played since Christmas break, missing the last six.

Colten St. Clair, who had missed eight games with a concussion, returned to the lineup Saturday night against the Tigers and tallied an assist.

Sweep lands UND back at No. 1

UND continued to take care of business Saturday night, finishing off a sweep of a Colorado College team that was much better than the one UND saw in October. With the sweep, UND regained the nation’s No. 1 ranking today. Game stories:

Grand Forks Herald – UND finishes successful homestand

Grand Forks Herald – Team still has room to grow

UNDsports.com – Balanced scoring leads UND to sweep

Other notes:

  • UND moved up to No. 2 in the Pairwise after the weekend. It is sitting in great shape there. Because everyone else UND plays is so high in the Pairwise, it almost feels like splits the rest of the way will probably be good enough to get in.
  • UND coach Dave Hakstol is two wins shy of going 11-for-11 in 20-win seasons.
  • Forward Connor Gaarder missed some shifts at the end of the game. Immediately afterwards, Hakstol said he doesn’t believe it’s going to be anything longterm, but he said he can’t say 100 percent right away. The line of Gaarder, Brendan O’Donnell and Austin Poganski was terrific all weekend, even if they didn’t get rewarded for it.
  • The race for the Penrose Cup now takes a turn and becomes more difficult. UND is on the road for six of the last 10 games going against Omaha, Western Michigan and Miami.
  • Colten St. Clair came back into the lineup and immediately provided an impact, setting up Stephane Pattyn’s goal with a nice far pad shot on a rush.
  • A total of 11 players tallied points in the series finale. Only four forwards did not. Three of the four forwards were Gaarder, O’Donnell and Poganski, who may have been UND’s best line.
  • UND had an uncharacteristically low four power-play chances the entire weekend, converting on one of them.
  • I thought Jordan Schmaltz started cranking up his game this weekend, doing some special things with his skating ability to create scoring opportunities. We’ll see if he can keep that up this weekend against Omaha.
  • Nick Schmaltz has three assists in six games since returning from the World Juniors. It will probably help him to have next week off.
  • Keaton Thompson is the defenseman of the week in the NCHC.

Gameday final: UND 5, CC 3

TONIGHT’S VIEWING: Midco Sports Network, Fox College Sports Pacific (DirecTV 608, DISH Network 452), NCHC.tv. Lineup notes: Wade Murphy is out. Colten St. Clair is back in for the first time since Dec. 5. A few lines are juggled. Full lines and live chat are below.

First period

UND 1, Colorado College 0 — Luke Johnson (Paul LaDue, Nick Mattson) 3:50 (pp). UND struggles to get anything set up for the first 1:30 of the power play, but once it does, it converts. Johnson snaps a shot from the top of the circle through a MacMillan screen.

UND 1, Colorado College 1 — Charlie Taft (Peter Stoykewych, Zach Aman) 12:41 (pp). The Tigers even it on their own power play. Fejes is screening McIntyre, so he has trouble controlling the rebound of a point shot and it kicks off to the side, where Taft is there to finish it.

UND 2, Colorado College 1 — Stephane Pattyn (Colten St. Clair, Nick Schmaltz) 13:58. After a terrific shift by the Tigers, UND catches them out of position and goes on a three-on-one. St. Clair, on the right side, shoots far pad and Pattyn finds the rebound.

UND 2, Colorado College 2 — Teemu Kivihalme (Cody Bradley) 18:24 (pp). The Tigers go to 2-for-2 on the power play as Kivihalme blasts one through a Wamsganz screen to even it up.

Second period

UND 3, Colorado College 2 — Mark MacMillan (Michael Parks, Nick Mattson) 17:19. Parks curls out of the corner with the puck and spots MacMillan cutting in the high slot. He puts the pass on MacMillan’s tape and MacMillan snaps one past Marble’s glove.

Third period

UND 4, Colorado College 2 — Bryn Chyzyk (Keaton Thompson, Drake Caggiula) 8:41. Thompson quickly transitions the puck up the ice and UND enters the zone on a rush. Chyzyk releases it from the top of the circle and goes bar down.

UND 4, Colorado College 3 — Aaron Harstad (Matt Hansen, Jaccob Slavin) 18:07 (ex). With the goalie pulled, CC works the puck around top and Harstad blasts one through traffic for the goal.

UND 5, Colorado College 3 — Drake Caggiula 19:33 (en). The Tigers win a draw back, but Caggiula wins the race to the puck and skates it the length of the ice for the empty-netter, fighting off a stick check as he scores it.

Live Blog Men’s Hockey vs. Colorado College

UND’s lines

3 Tucker Poolman–16 Mark MacMillan–15 Michael Parks
29 Bryn Chyzyk–9 Drake Caggiula–27 Luke Johnson
28 Stephane Pattyn–8 Nick Schmaltz–17 Colten St. Clair
21 Brendan O’Donnell–13 Connor Gaarder–14 Austin Poganski

20 Gage Ausmus–24 Jordan Schmaltz
5 Nick Mattson–6 Paul LaDue
4 Keaton Thompson–22 Andrew Panzarella

31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson
30 Matt Hrynkiw

Colorado College’s lines

11 Hunter Fejes–13 Cody Bradley–28 Alex Roos
18 Scott Wamsganz–15 Christian Heil–23 Matt Hansen
26 Zach Aman–9 Sam Rothstein–17 Charlie Taft
22 Peter Maric–8 Luc Gerdes–3 Michael King

6 Peter Stoykewych–16 Teemu Kivihalme
5 Jaccob Slavin–7 Garrett Cecere
20 Ian Young–27 Aaron Young

33 Tyler Marble
35 Chase Perry

Friday night rewind

UND moved into second place in the NCHC standings with a win over Colorado College in front of a sold-out crowd in Ralph Engelstad Arena. Game stories:

Herald – Another shorthander gives UND victory

Herald – CC shows depth of NCHC

UNDsports.com – McIntyre stops 30 in UND win

Other notes:

  • UND moved up to No. 3 in the Pairwise Rankings. One more win tonight would put UND in a strong position for the stretch run.
  • Goalie Zane McIntyre was once again outstanding. He stopped 30 of 31 shots. Only allowed a deflection. Made huge saves in the third period through traffic. He has now allowed just 4 goals in the last 4 games.
  • UND is trying to go 4-0 against Colorado College in the regular season for the first time since 1988-89.
  • UND now has nine shorthanded goals, halfway to the school record. The Hrkac Circus tallied 18 in 1986-87.
  • Michael Parks took over the team lead in scoring with a goal and an assist, surpassing Drake Caggiula.
  • Caggiula got the entire building buzzing with his dangle of Garrett Cecere, putting the puck between the defenders legs and nearly burying one five-hole. Caggiula has put the Tigers on the highlight reel a few times before — one of them a similar goal.
  • Did you notice between-the-benches camera man Marv Leier taking a puck to the helmet? Leier has worn a helmet for years, but says this is the first time he took a puck to the head. The puck also broke the camera’s viewfinder. Leier said one other time he had a viewfinder break. Also, big props to Leier for rocking Dave Starman’s Macon Whoopie jersey.
  • UND only ended up getting one power-play chance after getting a ton of them in Colorado Springs. I’m guessing that the second power-play unit is going to be broken up very soon.
  • Colorado College was significantly better than it was in October in the Springs.