Boston bound, and my apologies

The trip to Boston has been booked, and for that, I apologize, UND fans.

In my 10 years on the beat, UND has never won a game in New England that I’ve covered…. and it has never lost a game in which I didn’t cover.

When I first started covering UND regularly in 2005, the paper didn’t always send me to every road series. And apparently, I was just the team’s bad luck charm out there.

Since I’ve been on the beat, UND is 0-7-1 in New England in games that I’ve covered, and 6-0-2 in games that I haven’t covered.

The only time UND didn’t lose was the 3-3 tie last season against BU. UND outshot the Terriers 58-31 in that game.

New England games I’ve covered

T at Boston University, Nov. 2013
L at Boston University, Nov. 2013
L at Maine, Oct. 2010
L at Maine, Oct. 2010
L vs Yale in Worcester, March 2010
L vs New Hampshire in Manchester, March 2009
L vs UMass in Agganis, Oct. 2008
L at Boston University, Oct. 2008

New England games I didn’t attend

W at Harvard, Dec. 2008
W at Harvard, Dec. 2008
W at Northeastern, Oct. 2007
T at Boston College, Oct. 2007 (fog game, two periods)
W vs St. Lawrence in Hanover, N.H., Dec. 2006
W at Dartmouth, Dec. 2006
T at New Hampshire, Oct. 2005
W at New Hampshire, Oct. 2005

Me vs. the Quarter

With the unpredictability of the NCAA tournament, I decided to fill out two sets of predictions again this season: No. 1, my own; No. 2, my coin flip. How’s it going so far?

For the second year in a row, I’ll end up beating The Quarter…. but it was close.

I went 5-3 in the first round (missing wins by RIT, Denver and Omaha). Two of my Frozen Four picks made it in Providence and Boston University.

The Quarter went 6-2 in the first round, only missing wins by BU and Denver. It boldly predicted RIT to win and nailed it. But The Quarter only got one team to the Frozen Four in Providence.

My championship pick of BU over Providence is still alive. The Quarter’s pick of SCSU over Providence is dead.

Press conference quotes

If you wanted to see some of the press conference quotes from UND’s win, here you go…


On his thoughts on St. Cloud State’s early goal and how that affected his play the rest of the game…

“It was a quick faceoff play, obviously the guy made a nice chip, we’d be kind of working on our faceoffs, we’re doing a little bit of pre-scouting on their faceoffs and stuff because we knew that they had a couple good shooters that like to do whirl-arounds and stuff. Quick play like that just got it started and I think it caught our whole team off guard. You know what, resiliency has been in our vocab as a team I think all year, so it was no surprise the boys battled up and really put it all together and came back strong.”

On how it feels to be returning to the Frozen Four…

“It feels pretty special. Going back to last year, we knew that we had a strong core of players coming back and could really push the envelope for this season. So I think collectively as a group it feels incredible to get back for all our hard work that we put in throughout the year. A lot of practices, the bag skates with the coaches and stuff, we’ve put in a lot of work and I think our team’s really come together and it feels pretty dang special to be back there.”

On if it makes it sweeter, being able to beat St. Cloud State to get back to the Frozen Four after they eliminated UND in last weekend’s NCHC Frozen Face-Off…

“I think certainly as a hockey player you’re competitive by nature and going back in the previous week when we played them in the Frozen Face-Off, it was obviously a tough loss that we had. We felt that we had it in our control, to control the game and control the outcome but that was hockey and if we got another chance at them, that’d be great. We took our opportunity, guys came prepared, came to the rink, came into the weekend really prepared, and I think it all started with the coaching staff here. It really just went from there so it was good.”

On if there was something special about doing what he did in this building that he has so many memories in…

“Yeah I think certainly. Number one, it was great to play in our home state. Playing for UND, it was great to have the venue here in Fargo, because we could have so many fans support us and it was absolutely incredible. But then going back to my junior days here as well, I kind of knew this rink, it was like a second home when I played my two years here. So it was pretty special to come back and obviously see the fan support, but seeing some familiar faces around the rink, it was great. It was just one big happy family back here.”

On what was going through his mind when St. Cloud State scored right off the bat and how he bounced back from it…

“Don’t let the next shot in, I guess is number one. In that situation, it’s playoff hockey, it’s that time of year, this is what we all worked hard for throughout the year. Just had to kind of reset, re-focus and just kind of go from there. You’re going to have bounces, and you’re going to have ups and downs throughout the game and the course of the year, but the best thing I’ve maybe learned over my past three years here is just stay the course. Work your butt off and just keep going because you never know what could happen. I think myself and my team really believed that and had that mission in mind throughout this week and throughout this year and had some positive results.”

On the fan support not just tonight, but over the course of the season…

“I think you look at attendance rates throughout the whole college hockey, it’s no question UND is number one for a reason. You go across the whole state, it’s UND Fighting Sioux colors and bleeding green and stuff. It’s pretty special to be a part of, not only as a player but as a teammate for all these guys and all these coaches. It’s pretty special to have all the coaching staff who used to play here and they’ve been around it and they know the culture and it’s great to be a part of great teammates and stuff too. You know what, it’s pretty special is all I can say. And with that, thank you guys.”


On his journey today and scoring his first goal of the season after jumping into the line-up tonight…

“Yeah, it’s morning, I knew that we had some guys that were feeling a little under the weather and I might get a chance so I mean it’s something that’s always kind of under your control and you just work hard to be where you are and the team did a great job helping me transition and especially Schmaltz, I think he really carried me out there and really made it easy on me.”

On if scoring a goal was a part of the plan and what his reaction was to it…

“It’s always part of the plan but it’s hard to execute obviously, but it felt great. I actually kind of joking around told Troy Stecher before the game that I was going to score and do the sword through my belt. But I didn’t really think about it, it was kind of reactionary, it was pretty cool.”


On how much juice the fans in the building gave the team…

“Obviously playing so close to home with the fan support that we had. It was crazy, fans were sold-out and sometimes it’s hard to hear yourself talk on the ice. It’s just a great amount of support from the fans. It was pretty cool.”

On the goal he scored and what scoring some dirty goals this weekend says about the team’s efforts…

“It was just kind of a scrum in the corner. I was just trying to get the puck out and the puck popped out to me and I just tried to get it through that first defender. I think it hit the goalie’s shoulder or something and went up in the air and it kind of just trickled in. So a little bit of luck on that one but I’ll take it.”


“Congratulations to North Dakota continuing the terrific season they’ve had. They’re an extremely hard working team. We wish them the best as they represent our league and our conference in the Frozen Four. There are two trains of thoughts right now, how proud I am of my team, and how frustrated I am that we made mistakes in a 60-minute game to get us behind like that. The game was scripted exactly how we thought, we turned it over in the first period and they missed a couple back checkers and threw one off our goalies back and we were behind the 8 ball. It seems like a game of ifs and buts because their goaltender was awfully strong. He made a lot of saves, but he looked good doing it. That’s a little frustrating right now because I think we could have had a better fate tonight if we didn’t make the critical mistakes we made. On the flip side, we put closure to our season. I’m so proud of our seniors and our leadership. Things weren’t bad the first half, but we hung in there, that was leadership. We took off the second half and got right back to where our program should have been.”

Demeanor calm after regional win

FARGO — Press conferences are usually time consuming — and often don’t produce a ton of golden quotes. With a very tight deadline looming (stupid 8 p.m. starts…), I went straight to the locker room and skipped the pressers after UND beat St. Cloud State 4-1 to earn a trip to the Frozen Four.

What kind of celebration was going on behind the scenes?

Well, none, really.

The players were in good spirits and were happy, but no celebration carried over into the locker room. I didn’t see much hugging going on or anything like that. Players basically just sat in their stalls and had light conversation with each other. There wasn’t even music blaring like usual.

Maybe part of it was because so many guys were sick. They had to have been gassed by the end of the game.

But it’s probably also because of what captain Stephane Pattyn said to me at the end of every quote. He would talk about the game, or talk about winning the regional, but every line ended with something along the lines of the team having more work to do.

It was a huge win for the team. Going to a Frozen Four is a great accomplishment. So, I found it interesting that the locker room atmosphere was the same as it was in October when I interviewed them after sweeping Colorado College in the Springs.

UND headed to Frozen Four again

FARGO — UND is headed back to the Frozen Four for the second straight year and the seventh time in 11 years.

It will take on Boston University on April 9 in the Garden. It is expected to be the late game, but we’ll know that for sure today.

It got there in impressive fashion, winning 4-1 against St. Cloud State despite illness running through the team. Game stories:

Grand Forks Herald — UND beats illness, SCSU to get back to Frozen Four (plus PHOTOS and VIDEO)

Grand Forks Herald — Postgame video blog breakdown with WDAY’s Dom Izzo

Grand Forks Herald — Panzarella comes up big when his name is called

Fargo Forum — Zane for Hobey chants ring out as McIntyre delivers

USCHO — North Dakota heading back to Frozen Four — Shippin’ up to Boston

St. Cloud Times — Huskies’ season ends with loss to North Dakota

I’ll have more tomorrow, but here are my five big takeaways from this game:


I’m told that Pattyn was in the worst shape today of anyone outside of Keaton Thompson with illness today. Word is that he was vomiting before the game and on IVs. Yet he delivered. One of my big keys before the night was faceoffs. Pattyn went 6-0, taking a lot of key draws on the left side. UND controlled faceoffs against the Huskies, going 38-28. Earlier this season, UND struggled in that category against the Huskies. Pattyn didn’t get on the scoresheet, but he had an impactful performance, especially in the circle.

Luke Johnson (9-7), Connor Gaarder (7-4) and Drake Caggiula (5-4) all were above .500 in draws, too.


UND blocked 28 shots against Quinnipiac and 23 against the Huskies, including 12 in the final period alone. Gage Ausmus, who also had a thundering hit in the third period to rev up the crowd, led the way with four blocked shots. St. Cloud State had a tough time getting anything to the net at the end of the game because UND was so good at getting in lanes.


You can read a lot about Panzarella in Miller’s column above, but I thought his goal was the key to the game. The Huskies got off to a 1-0 lead and were pressuring for a two-goal lead. Panzarella’s goal turned the tide of the game and UND dominated the next 35 minutes as it built a two-goal lead.

Most of the time, when you throw someone in who hasn’t been in the lineup for two months, it’s a concern and someone you worry about. It says a lot about Panzarella that the coaches, players and fans weren’t at all worried about what type of performance he was going to give. I think most know that he’s not only a strong player, but that he works hard enough that he’s always ready to come in the lineup, whenever that may be.


I thought goaltending was terrific on both ends. If not for Charlie Lindgren playing the way he did, this could have been out of reach by the start of the third period. Zane McIntyre didn’t see a heavy workload, but he did face several Grade As, and he really shut them down. He should have won the regional MVP a year ago in Cincinnati. This time, there was no doubt.


Three players worth mentioning: Tucker Poolman, Colten St. Clair, Wade Murphy. Poolman was outstanding all weekend long. I put him on my all-West Regional ballot. He and St. Clair helped set up Panzarella’s goal tonight. St. Clair added a lot to UND this weekend coming back into the lineup. He’s just solid in all areas. And the light may be going on for Murphy. He looked so much better this weekend than he has previously. He was engaged. He won puck battles. And he’s close to scoring.


The atmosphere in the rink was outstanding, one of the loudest buildings I’ve been to. I’ve said it repeatedly, but this is the atmosphere where regionals should be played. I just watched part of the game on DVR, and it looked great for the cameras, too. It’s the type of game and atmosphere where you might hook some people on college hockey. Hakstol also said he thought the crowd made a difference, especially early on. More on that later.

Gameday final: UND 4, SCSU 1

TONIGHT’S VIEWING: ESPNU, Lineup notes: Same lines for UND. As expected, Brodzinski is in for St. Cloud State. Full lines and live chat are below.

First period

St. Cloud State 1, UND 0 — Jimmy Murray (Joe Rehkamp) 1:29. Rehkamp goes forward with the draw and gets it to Murray, who snaps a shot past McIntyre five-hole just 89 seconds in.

St. Cloud State 1, UND 1 — Andrew Panzarella (Tucker Poolman) 8:59. A great forecheck by Poolman leads to a UND goal. Panzarella gets the puck at the point and blasts one through traffic, off the post and in.

Second period

UND 2, St. Cloud State 1 — Drake Caggiula 18 6:49. Caggiula gets the puck in the neutral zone and skates in the offensive zone with speed. He toe drags around a Husky defender to get space and spans a shot on net. Lindgren makes the initial save but the rebound hits off of a SCSU defender and goes in.

Third period

UND 3, St. Cloud State 1 — Luke Johnson 2:53. Johnson has the puck in the corner, turns around and whips one toward the net. The puck hits the crossbar, goes up in the air and lands behind Lindgren and in the net.

UND 4, St. Cloud State 1 — Colten St. Clair 19:22 (en).

UND’s lines

9 Drake Caggiula–27 Luke Johnson–15 Michael Parks
28 Stephane Pattyn–8 Nick Schmaltz–7 Wade Murphy
29 Bryn Chyzyk–17 Colten St. Clair–3 Tucker Poolman
21 Brendan O’Donnell–13 Connor Gaarder–14 Austin Poganski

22 Andrew Panzarella–24 Jordan Schmaltz
5 Nick Mattson–6 Paul LaDue
20 Gage Ausmus–2 Troy Stecher

31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson
30 Matt Hrynkiw

St. Cloud State’s lines

42 Blake Winiecki–11 Kalle Kossila–22 Jonny Brodzinski
9 Joey Benik–13 David Morley–63 Patrick Russell
16 Jimmy Murray–37 Joe Rehkamp–17 Judd Peterson
4 Ben Storm–27 Nick Oliver–21 Brooks Bertsch

28 Andrew Prochno–12 Ethan Prow
5 Nathan Widman–40 Tim Daly
7 Niklas Nevalainen–2 Jarrod Rabey

35 Charlie Lindgren
45 Rasmus Reijola

Fast starts key for UND-SCSU games

St. Cloud State has been as good as anyone against UND the past three seasons. Most of those wins involve holding UND’s shot total low and keeping UND’s Grade A scoring chances to a minimum.

How are the Huskies able to do that?

I asked coach Bob Motzko that question after St. Cloud State beat UND 3-1 at the NCHC Frozen Faceoff last week.

Motzko said that his bet is if you go back and look at the games that St. Cloud State has won, that the Huskies have had strong starts. He said UND often comes out of the gates strong, and if they can match that, they have a great shot to win.

If they get behind early, UND “smothers you defensively.”

Here are this year’s meetings…

SCSU wins

3.20.15 — SCSU 3-1 (SCSU led 2-1 after one)
11.21.14 — SCSU 3-1 (No score after one)

UND wins

2.28.15 — UND 3-1 (UND led 1-0 after one)
2.27.15 — UND 3-2 (UND led 2-0 after one)
11.22.14 — UND 3-2 (UND led 2-1 after one)

Three other factors to watch tonight that have been big this season between the teams:

1. Faceoffs. St. Cloud State has trounced UND on draws this season, and with Kalle Kossila back in the lineup, that could be a major factor again.

2. Special teams. St. Cloud State has arguably the best power play in the nation. Give them an extra man and it could get ugly.

3. Fourth line play. There isn’t a lot of it when you get into these TV timeout games, but during UND’s three wins, the fourth line has really hurt the Huskies.

Friday night rewind

HOCKEY TALK: If you are in Fargo, I’ll be on 970 AM with Dom Izzo from 10:20 to 11 a.m. today. So tune in if you wish.


FARGO — Yep, this is the team we’ve watched all season along.

Finding a way to win a hard-fought game against a good opponent? Check.

Getting enough timely plays offensively to win it? Yep.

Winning a game that advanced stats say UND should have lost? Yep.

Zane McIntyre playing terrific and losing a shutout bid in the last couple of minutes? Yep, that happened again, too.

It all means that UND is in the NCAA regional championship for the ninth time in 11 years under coach Dave Hakstol and the 10th time in 12 years overall. This is the second straight senior class that will have not only played in every NCAA tournament, but also will leave campus having never lost in the first round even.


Herald – Game story, photo gallery, video of UND presser

Herald – UND gives fans something to cheer about this time

Bonus quotes — Pecknold, Hakstol comment on game – UND advances to regional final with win

USCHO – UND wins in electric atmosphere

College Hockey News – UND turns the page

Other notes and comments:

  • Shot attempts in this game were lopsided in favor of Quinnipiac (73-43), but if you look at the shot chart, most of them came from the outside. The defenders did a great job in front of the net, making it difficult to get Grade As on goalie Zane McIntyre.
  • That being said, UND didn’t generate a ton of Grade As, either. In the second period, UND only attempted two shots in the prime scoring area. It scored on one. The other goal came when Garteig misplayed a shot from the corner by Bryn Chyzyk.
  • Shot blocks were 28-7 in favor of UND. All but three players had a blocked shot.
  • Quinnipiac spent about 15 minutes of this game on the power play, but couldn’t get anything to go until a 6×4 conversion with just 1:26 remaining.
  • Even-strength shots on goal were: UND 18, Quinnipiac 15.
  • McIntyre nearly scored a goal with just over a minute to go. Devon Toews picked it out of the air with his stick on a great play or else that was headed for the net. McIntyre would have been just the fourth to do it in NCAA history.
  • Wade Murphy was back in the lineup and nearly scored the first goal of the game on a toe-drag-and-shot. He played a solid game.
  • Tucker Poolman was the No. 1 star of the game for me. I thought he was fantastic shift in and shift out. His goal was huge, but he did so much more than that.
  • The Connor Gaarder line, which has been UND’s best in the last month and a half, had a relatively quiet game, registering only one shot.
  • Troy Stecher, who got the hard hat, had an assist, blocked three shots and registered a plus-three rating.
  • Sam Anas, who played limited minutes, actually led Quinnipiac with five shots on goal. QU coach Rand Pecknold estimated that he was at 60 percent. Anas had a couple of nice offensive plays, where you could see some flashes, but he also struggled greatly at times.
  • Goaltending is big at this time of year and UND clearly had the better goaltending tonight. I thought McIntyre was tremendous again, while Bobcat goalie Michael Garteig let in a tough one.
  • UND got two more shorthanded goals tonight — after having a long break in between them — for 11 on the season. Only seven to go to catch the Hrkac Circus (yep, not gonna happen).
  • UND lost the faceoff battle 39-33. Luke Johnson was 9-17, but I didn’t think it felt that bad. He won some key faceoffs on special teams and when he lost faceoffs, he wasn’t losing them clean.
  • The officials were from the WCHA.
  • Paul LaDue got a game misconduct at the end of the contest. For those asking, he is fine to play tonight.

Postgame quotes

Here are a few postgame quotes from the head coaches. If you want to watch UND’s presser, we have video here.

Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold:

“I just want to congratulate North Dakota, I thought they were very committed tonight. I haven’t gotten a final stat sheet yet but through two periods they had 21 blocks and that’s impressive, I would assume they had over 30 in the game and anytime you get a team to commit to that you’re going to do well.

“Shot attempts were 50 to 27 for us, again that’s not the score, but we played well tonight I was happy with when we were down 2-0 our guys kept battling. We had the five (minute major) and we killed that off. You know, I was really happy. Did everything go our way? No. You know we had that fluke second goal that just killed us but we didn’t quit and battled. North Dakota played well, they deserved to win. I thought we played well tonight. It wasn’t our best game. I want to thank our seniors Alex Barron, had a great three years with us and Justin only had one, those guys did a great job for us. Our two captains Danny Federico and Matthew Peca are as good of players and as good of people that I’ve ever coached.”

Pecknold on Sam Anas:

“Yeah, we weren’t really sure all week if the knee was going to swell up or not. I know the media wanted to know but we didn’t know until noon today. He wasn’t himself, we got down and he wanted to play, he kept telling me he was fine, he was probably like 60 percent, I would say. But he made some plays and we needed to score some goals but I probably played him more than I wanted to. The plan was to give him power plays and odd shifts, the O-Zone drop. But we got behind and I used him a little more than I wanted to. But like I said he was about 50 to 60 percent.”

Pecknold on the crowd:

“I didn’t think it was intimidating. I really thought it was a great atmosphere. I got to give it to North Dakota, they have some of the best fans in the country. Obviously the arena is great, it’s really a good venue. Having been on the committee before, it is a battle to keep neutral sites and obviously this was not a neutral site, but hey, we were the 14 seed so you have to go on the road and take your lumps. If we would have gotten a little bit higher up and had a better regular season, we wouldn’t have to come here and play, but I thought it was great. The city of Fargo has been outstanding, our hotel Best Western has been great. I have never been to Fargo before. I’ve obviously been to Grand Forks but it was a great experience.”

UND coach Dave Hakstol:

“Well, when you get to this time of year, this is the kind of game that you expect. This was a fast-paced game, it was a hard-nosed game, and it was a good, tight battle. Our guys battled and worked hard, I thought executed at key times of the game, and to a man, really worked hard together, and that was our goal coming in. Twenty minutes ago now, we’ve turned the page and started to look forward to tomorrow night’s game.”

Hakstol on UND’s bounce-back game:

“We weren’t looking for a bounce-back. We were just coming to win a hockey game. Everybody’s made an awful lot of it, and I’ve heard an awful lot about last week. Teams have ups and downs and reasons why you have ups and downs. I think we’ve said it about a hundred times, we turned the page a week ago, and this group of guys has been able to do that through the season, whether it be good or bad results. Last weekend has very little to do with this weekend. It’s part of the season and that’s why it does have something to do with it, but tonight’s performance is a credit to the guys in our locker room. You heard them speak about it and their will to win.”

Hakstol on the atmosphere:

“It was awesome. Right from walking in the building a couple of hours before the game, right through the end of the final buzzer. What a tremendous atmosphere for our players to have the opportunity to play in. As I said yesterday, you’re not guaranteed anything at this time of year. Playing in an environment like this in your home state, because the teams are so good, everybody that we’re playing has been in these environments before but no question tonight we wanted to try and take advantage of this opportunity and I thought our guys acquitted themselves pretty well with that in mind.”

Gameday final: UND 4, Quinnipiac 1

TONIGHT’S VIEWING: ESPNU, Lineup notes: UND goes with expected lines. Sam Anas is playing for Quinnipiac. Full lines and live chat are below.

First period

UND 1, Quinnipiac 0 — Tucker Poolman (Paul LaDue, Stephane Pattyn) 12:59 (pp). LaDue moves the puck to Poolman at the left point. Poolman settles it and picks the corner through traffic.

Second period

UND 2, Quinnipiac 0 — Bryn Chyzyk (Gage Ausmus) 7:09. Ausmus holds a puck at the point and puts it in the corner, where Chyzyk gets it and blindly throws one toward the net. It hits Garteig and goes in for his first goal in 15 games. That’s one Garteig will want back.

UND 3, Quinnipiac 0 — Drake Caggiula (Troy Stecher) 9:55 (sh). Skating four-on-three, Stecher wins a battle and skates the puck out of the zone on a 2-on-1 the other way. Stecher feeds Caggiula, who buries UND’s 10th shorthanded goal of the season.

Third period

UND 3, Quinnipiac 1 — Andrew Taverner (Bo Pieper, Tanner MacMaster) 18:34 (pp) (ex). Taverner one-timed a Pieper pass to break up McIntyre’s shutout bid.

UND 4, Quinnipiac 1 — Luke Johnson (Drake Caggiula) 19:44 (sh) (en). Johnson ices the game with an empty-netter.

UND’s lines

9 Drake Caggiula–27 Luke Johnson–15 Michael Parks
28 Stephane Pattyn–8 Nick Schmaltz–7 Wade Murphy
29 Bryn Chyzyk–17 Colten St. Clair–3 Tucker Poolman
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
30 Matt Hrynkiw

Quinnipiac’s lines

8 Alex Barron–26 Travis St. Denis–19 Tanner MacMaster
18 Soren Jonzzon–20 Matthew Peca–16 Landon Smith
39 Andrew Taverner–23 Tommy Schutt–7 Sam Anas
2 Brayden Sherbinn–11 Tim Clifton–24 Bo Pieper

22 Danny Federico–4 Connor Clifton
14 Derek Smith–12 Justin Agosta
6 Devon Toews–27 Kevin McKernan

34 Michael Garteig
29 Sean Lawrence
35 Jacob Meyers