MacMillan listed as ‘out indefinitely’

Mark MacMillan will have surgery tomorrow and the school is listing him as “out indefinitely” with a “lower-body injury.”

That means the school is not willing to say he’s out for the season yet, nor is the school listing the exact nature of the injury.

Obviously, UND has to be holding out hope that he could come back for the NCAA Frozen Four if the team is fortunate enough to make it. It would be hard to see him coming back soon from surgery, whatever the operation is.

Without MacMillan, UND will need to bring one forward back into the lineup. It is most likely to be Trevor Olson, Jonny Simonson or Coltyn Sanderson.

MacMillan is the team’s leading goal-scorer, top faceoff man and top penalty killer.

What are UND’s options without MacMillan?

It has been almost a month and a half since UND has made a change to any of its forward lines. They have stuck for the last nine games as UND has gone 7-1-1, clinching a share of the Penrose Cup as NCHC champs.

But they will have to change soon.

Mark MacMillan, the team’s top-line center and leading goal scorer, was injured Saturday night blocking a Jonny Brodzinski shot. The school has not yet commented on whether MacMillan is done for the season, but all signs are pointing that way.

Regardless, he’s certainly not playing any time soon and UND has to try to fill the shoes of its leading goal scorer, top penalty killing forward, top defensive forward and top faceoff man.

What do you do?

My first thought is that you DO NOT want to break up the Brendan O’Donnell, Connor Gaarder, Austin Poganski line. That has arguably been UND’s best and most consistent unit during the last month. You leave that one together.

I’m thinking that it makes sense to move Nick Schmaltz from third-line center up to the top line. He was very good last weekend and may be ready for more responsibility. We’ll see if he can handle the defensive side.

Plus, then you have a pass-first guy in Schmaltz with two pretty good finishers in Tucker Poolman and Michael Parks. I also think MacMillan’s injury solidifies that Poolman stays up front for the rest of the year (if that wasn’t solidified already).

If you move Schmaltz up, that leaves a hole up the middle on the third line between Stephane Pattyn and Colten St. Clair. Here’s where the coaches could get creative.

Option No. 1: Move Jonny Simonson to center on the third line. Coach Dave Hakstol said a couple weeks ago that Simonson was pushing hard to get in the lineup. Simonson was solid on draws earlier this season. He could jump in there.

Option No. 2: Move Pattyn from wing to center on that line and bring in a winger like Trevor Olson or Andrew Panzarella. I don’t see Wade Murphy coming back in the lineup. I think they’d go with a more physical body for that spot and make it an all-out grind line. Olson hasn’t played in a long time. Panzarella has practiced at D almost all season, so he would have an adjustment to make, but UND reached the Frozen Four a year ago with Panzarella playing forward. Both Olson and Panzarella are right-handed shots, though, and one would have to play off wing.

It’s probably wrong, but here’s my best guess for Friday’s lines:

Poolman – NSchmaltz – Parks
Chyzyk – Caggiula – Johnson
Pattyn – Simonson – St. Clair
O’Donnell – Gaarder – Poganski

Mattson – LaDue
Thompson – JSchmaltz
Ausmus – Stecher

McIntyre

Let’s see your lines, couch coaches….

Playoff tickets on sale

Ticket packages for UND’s first-round NCHC playoffs series (March 13-15) are now on sale.

Series ticket packages are reserved seating and are $50 for adults, $30 for youth, and $20 for UND students. Adult and youth series packages may be purchased in person at the UND Box O​ffice at Ralph Engelstad Arena or online at http://ticketmaster.com/artist/821823.

UND students may purchase up to four series packages and must do so in person at the UND Box Office at Ralph Engelstad Arena. A valid UND student ID must be presented with each game ticket to gain admittance into each game.

Season-ticket holders already received their NCHC quarterfinal tickets as part of their season-ticket package.

Any unclaimed student tickets will become available to the general public Friday at 10 a.m. Central.

Single-game tickets for the NCHC quarterfinals will go on sale to the public on Tuesday, March 10th at 10 a.m.

The NCHC quarterfinals take place March 13, 14 and 15 (Game 3 if necessary). Game times are 7:37 p.m. on Friday and 7:07 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. UND’s first-round opponent will be either Colorado College or Western Michigan.

If UND gets one point this weekend against Miami, it will host Colorado College. If Miami sweeps, UND will host Western Michigan.

UND clinches share of Penrose

Two things are for sure after this weekend’s sweep of St. Cloud State: 1. UND will host a first-round series in two weeks. 2. There will be a Penrose Cup celebration in Ralph Engelstad Arena at some point.

UND clinched at least a share of the Penrose Cup, taking a six-point lead over Miami, which happens to be next weekend’s opponent.

If UND takes one point from Miami, it will clinch the league’s No. 1 overall seed, it will win the Penrose Cup outright and UND will play Colorado College in the first round of the NCHC playoffs.

If Miami sweeps UND, then the teams are declared co-champs, but Miami will have the No. 1 seed for the playoffs and North Dakota will host Western Michigan in the first round.

UND cannot drop below No. 2 in the league standings.

For starters, here are some stories about Saturday’s victory:

Grand Forks Herald — Pattyn requests black jerseys for home game

St. Cloud Times — “They do what championship teams do,” Motzko says

USCHO — “In three wins they have against us, their fourth line has five goals.”

UNDsports.com — Fans roar for great penalty kill and seniors

Other notes:

  • I have nothing on Mark MacMillan’s health at the moment. I will update the blog as soon as I have something confirmed.
  • I’ve been on the students’ case for the last two years, but they had a great turnout this weekend. It led to an attendance of 12,004, the largest in Ralph Engelstad Arena since March 2, 2013.
  • The crowd was definitely into the game. The largest roar came as UND killed a five-on-three power play for a full two minutes. UND’s MacMillan, Troy Stecher and Drake Caggiula all jumped in front of Jonny Brodzinski’s shot, which may be the heaviest in the league. That sequence explains why this team has an extremely impressive 24-6-3 record right now.
  • Everyone in the postgame interviews talked about how loud it got during that kill and how much the team fed off of the fans’ energy.
  • Read my game story to see how they chose to wear black jerseys. I believe it’s the third weekend and fourth game they’ve done so. Interestingly enough, all have come vs. St. Cloud State. I believe they wore them for both games after Ralph Engelstad died. They wore them in December 2010 against the Huskies and scored five goals in the first period that night.
  • During the Senior Salute, the students changed “Sioux forever” at the last class to wear the Fighting Sioux jersey.
  • Tucker Poolman returned to the power play on Friday and he played some ‘D’ on the penalty kill as well Saturday. Poolman still leads the team in power-play goals with five.
  • When MacMillan went out, Stephane Pattyn took his place on the power play. He didn’t take draws, but he went to the front of the net, where he excelled at the end of last season.
  • It had to be a special weekend for Connor Gaarder. His brother, Casey, flew home from Thailand for the first time in more than a year for Senior Weekend and Connor scored a goal both nights.
  • UND continues to roll on Saturdays. It is now 15-0-2 on Saturdays this season.
  • UND is 11-1-1 in the last 13 games with the lone loss being the overtime game in Omaha, where the Mavs had a lengthy five-on-three power play.
  • Last night’s loss eliminated St. Cloud State from home-ice contention. The Huskies, Broncos and Tigers all will be on the road. UND is the only team to clinch home ice so far.

Gameday final: UND 3, SCSU 1

TONIGHT’S VIEWING: Midco Sports Network (GF 27/622 HD), Fox College Sports Atlantic, DirecTV 608, Dish Network 449. Notes: No lineup changes for UND. Full lines and live chat are below. Huskies go with Peterson for Bertsch up front and Rabey for Ilvonen on D.

First period

UND 1, St. Cloud State 0 — Austin Poganski (Connor Gaarder, Brendan O’Donnell) 7:53. O’Donnell has the puck below the goal line and made a centering party to Gaarder, who put a backhand on the net. Lindgren kicked the rebound near the goal line and Gaarder swatted at it again. Lindgren stopped that one, but Poganski made a diving attempt and slid the puck underneath Lindgren’s glove.

Second period

UND 2, St. Cloud State 0 — Connor Gaarder (Tucker Poolman, Keaton Thompson) 6:58. UND gets the puck down low and Poolman shoots from an angle. The rebound comes out to the post and Gaarder picks it up and wraps it. Lindgren gets caught on his own player, Oliver, and can’t get across.

UND 3, St. Cloud State 0 — Nick Mattson (Paul LaDue) 19:19 (pp). Another senior. Mattson stays red hot and blasts a point shot through a screen to give UND a three-goal lead.

Third period

UND 3, St. Cloud State 1 — Ethan Prow (Judd Peterson, Joe Rehkamp) 4:43 (pp). The Huskies win a draw and get the puck to Prow at the top of the zone. He walks it until he spots a lane through traffic and fires one past McIntyre.

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
20 Gage Ausmus–2 Troy Stecher
5 Nick Mattson–6 Paul LaDue

31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson
30 Matt Hrynkiw

St. Cloud State’s lines

16 Jimmy Murray–11 Kalle Kossila–22 Jonny Brodzinski
9 Joey Benik–13 David Morley–63 Patrick Russell
42 Blake Winiecki–37 Joe Rehkamp–17 Judd Peterson
4 Ben Storm–27 Nick Oliver–6 Daniel Tedesco

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

35 Charlie Lindgren
45 Rasmus Reijola

Women’s final: UND 2, OSU 1, 3 OT

Notes: No lineup changes for UND. Ohio State makes a change in net, one of many changes for the Buckeyes.

First period

No scoring.

Second period

UND 1, Ohio State 0 — Samantha Hanson (Meghan Dufault) 9:03. Dufault wins a draw cleanly back to Hanson, who blasts a slap shot through a Jensen screen to give UND the first lead.

UND 1, Ohio State 1 — Kayla Sullivan (Danielle Gagne, Sara Schmitt) 19:23. UND gets outnumbered down low and Gagne feeds Sullivan for backdoor tap-in to tie the game.

Third period

No scoring.

Overtime

No scoring.

Second overtime

No scoring.

Third overtime

UND 2, Ohio State 1 — Amy Menke (Meghan Dufault, Becca Kohler) 3:17. UND punches its ticket to the Final Faceoff with a two-on-one goal in transition. Dufault, coming up the left side, feeds Menke, who buries it to end the second-longest game in program history.

UND’s lines

51 Becca Kohler–19 Meghan Dufault–21 Amy Menke
10 Andrea Dalen–63 Josefine Jakobsen–25 Leah Jensen
15 Kayla Gardner–11 Shannon Kaiser–13 Layla Marvin
16 Tori Williams–14 Marissa Salo–4 Sam LaShomb

6 Gracen Hirschy–18 Halli Krzyzanaiak
22 Tanja Eisenschmid–8 Samantha Hanson
5 Johanna Fallman–7 Jordan Hampton

1 Shelby Amsley-Benzie
29 Lexie Shaw
34 Annie Chipman

Ohio State’s lines

18 Julianna Iafallo–6 Taylor Kuehl–19 Danielle Gagne
24 Claudia Kepler–27 Lauren Spring–17 Julia McKinnon
26 Kendall Curtis–7 Kayla Sullivan–16 Melani Moylan
9 Bryanna Neuwald–13 Jessica Dunne–14 Maggie Rothgery

22 Sara Schmitt–2 Cara Zubko
10 Kara Gust–21 Alexa Ranahan
20 Kari Schmitt–8 Dani Sadek

32 Kassidy Sauve
39 Stacy Danczak
35 Selena Hunter

Friday night rewind

UND checked Goal No. 1 off the list Friday night by securing home ice for the first round of the playoffs for a 13th consecutive season, a remarkable run when you look at streaks of other teams around the country. It also inched up to No. 1 in the Pairwise Rankings, passing MSU-Mankato. Game stories:

Grand Forks Herald — Homeward bound again

St. Cloud Times — UND holds off St. Cloud State

USCHO — UND hands Huskies loss in front of 11,900

UNDsports.com — UND wins another nail-biter

Other notes:

  • UND cannot win the league title outright tonight, nor can it clinch the No. 1 seed. It could clinch a share of the Penrose with a victory AND a Denver win over Miami.
  • UND extended its unbeaten streak to six games. It has one loss in the last 12.
  • The Connor Gaarder, Austin Poganski, Brendan O’Donnell line continues to have its way with opponents. They combined for 12 shots on goal (Gaarder a career-high seven). They had more shots on goal than the rest of UND’s forward lines combined (10).
  • Since Jan. 24 (the last eight games), UND’s leading scorer is….. Nick Mattson. Yes, the senior defenseman has come up big. He has 10 points in the last eight games. Nobody else on the team has more than seven during that stretch. Mattson also has a team-high plus-7 rating during the last eight games.
  • UND coach Dave Hakstol said his team “got their asses kicked” the last two periods in the faceoff circle. St. Cloud State’s top three faceoff men, Kalle Kossila (20-5), David Morley (9-5) and Jonny Brodzinski (4-0) went a combined 33-10 in the circle. Total faceoffs were 41-24 SCSU. The Huskies dominated UND in faceoffs in St. Cloud earlier this season, too.
  • The faceoff disparity was a major factor in St. Cloud’s success on the power play. The Huskies always were able to set it up right away. Kossila also won a clean draw with 6.5 seconds left to the right guy — Brodzinski — but his shot was blocked. That was UND’s biggest problem area.
  • Brodzinski had seven shots on goal and hit a post. That’s got to be too many for UND’s liking.
  • The power play kept St. Cloud State in the game. Both of the Huskies’ goals came with the man advantages, where they were 2-for-4. St. Cloud State now ranks fourth nationally in power play percent.
  • Goalie Charlie Lindgren also had a very strong game. UND had chances to put this away, but he was up for the task.
  • The UND men’s and women’s teams are now a combined 20-2-2 since mid-January. Both have key home games today (2 p.m. and 7 p.m.).
  • Remember to stick around after tonight’s game for the senior tribute.

Nick Schmaltz goal makes SportsCenter

Nick Schmaltz’s highlight-reel goal in the first period of last night’s 3-2 win over St. Cloud State made SportsCenter’s Top 10 list. It checked in at No. 8.

In case you missed it, here’s the highlight from UND with Tim Hennessy and Steve Olson on the call. “You had hands like that, didn’t you, Oly?” “If I did, I wouldn’t be sitting here.”

Also, Goon posted the CBS Sports version of the goal. That’s Ben Holden and Dave Starman with the call.

Gameday final: UND 3, SCSU 2

TONIGHT’S VIEWING: CBS Sports Network, DirecTV 221, Dish Network 158, NO webcast. Lineup notes: No changes for UND. No surprises for SCSU. Full lines and live chat are below.

First period

UND 1, St. Cloud State 0 — Nick Schmaltz (Stephane Pattyn, Colten St. Clair) 11:44. LaDue makes a great pass to start a transition play to Schmaltz. After his initial shot is denied, St. Clair tracks it down and dishes to Pattyn. The captain makes a no-look backhand feed to Schmaltz, who uses some ridiculous hands to get past a Husky defender, around the goalie and slip it in.

UND 2, St. Cloud State 0 — Brendan O’Donnell (Nick Mattson, Paul LaDue) 17:36 (pp). Mattson skates a puck from the point to the left circle, then puts it on a tee for O’Donnell, whose blast deflects off of the defenseman Storm and gets past Lindgren.

Second period

UND 3, St. Cloud State 0 — Connor Gaarder (Austin Poganski, Nick Mattson) 5:57. O’Donnell makes a nice play to get a loose puck and throw it to space, where Mattson picks it up and tries to dangle an SCSU defender down low. He loses the puck, but Poganski picks it up and fires a shot that’s tipped by Gaarder past Lindgren.

UND 3, St. Cloud State 1 — Ben Storm (Andrew Prochno, Jimmy Murray) 7:58 (pp). Storm launches a point shot that changes direction off of Pattyn’s leg and gets past McIntyre’s glove as the nation’s No. 3-ranked power play cashes in on its first chance.

Third period

UND 3, St. Cloud State 2 — Joey Benik (Ethan Prow, Jonny Brodzinski) 4:47 (pp). Prow sends a cross-ice pass to Benik in the right circle. Just as Benik winds up to shoot, McIntyre’s five-hole opens and Benik snaps a shot right there for the Huskies’ second power-play goal in three chances.

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
20 Gage Ausmus–2 Troy Stecher
5 Nick Mattson–6 Paul LaDue

31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson
30 Matt Hrynkiw

St. Cloud State’s lines

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

28 Andrew Prochno–12 Ethan Prow
5 Nathan Widman–40 Tim Daly
7 Niklas Nevalainen–26 Mika Ilvonen

35 Charlie Lindgren
45 Rasmus Reijola