The Herb Brooks National Hockey Center looked a lot different last year after the renovation, but on the ice, it was the same old result. Yet another split for UND and St. Cloud State.
In recent years, that’s been the norm when these teams have gotten together in St. Cloud. The last time there was a sweep? 2001. The last time UND got the sweep? 1998.
As I wrote in my preview today, in 1998, Brad Berry was a Kalamazoo K-Wing, Dane Jackson was a New York Islander and Austin Poganski was 2 years old.
Here are the results of UND’s most recent trips to St. Cloud:
2010-11: UND win and tie.
2006-07: UND win and tie.
2004-05: UND win and tie.
2003-04: UND win and tie.
2001-02: SCSU sweep.
2000-01: Did not play in St. Cloud.
1999-00: SCSU win and tie.
1998-99: UND sweep.
So on one hand, UND hasn’t earned a sweep in the National Hockey Center in seemingly forever, yet it also has gone to St. Cloud for 12 consecutive years without losing a series.
Strangely enough, during those 12 years, there have been six sweeps in Grand Forks (four by UND, two by SCSU).
This weekend continues the very difficult early-season schedule for St. Cloud State, which has already played against Union, Colgate, Minnesota and Duluth. I’m guessing that when the Huskies signed the nonconference deals, they didn’t know Colgate was going to be this good.
Three things to watch on the St. Cloud State side this weekend:
1. The junior forwards. Jonny Brodzinski, Joey Benik, David Morley, Kalle Kossila and Jimmy Murray are the engines that make the Huskies go. Brodzinski, only a month past his sophomore season, has more career goals than anyone else in the NCHC.
2. Charlie Lindgren. St. Cloud State will give UND a different look with the right-hand catching goaltender. You don’t see many of them. The last one that UND faced that I can think of off hand is Jon Olthuis from Alaska Anchorage.
3. The power play. The Huskies are at 25 percent there and make a lot of plays. The junior class and senior D Andrew Prochno are key. UND continues to emphasize eliminating stick penalties.
Three things to watch on UND’s side:
1. The Schmaltz-less power play. Without Nick Schmaltz last weekend, the power play seemed to lose a little bit of its playmaking. The unit has had another week of practice under its belt without Nick. Will it improve?
2. The big ice surface. The Olympic ice helped UND against Colorado College because it was the faster and more skilled team (and CC gave UND too many power plays). St. Cloud State is built much better for the big sheet than CC. How will UND play on it this time?
3. Wade Murphy. The coaching staff is waiting for a breakthrough. He has come close to scoring the last couple of games. Does he get No. 1 in St. Cloud? Does he play well enough with and without the puck to help earn a more consistent spot in the lineup?
This week, I also wrote a feature on Bryn Chyzyk, who seems a lot more comfortable on and off the ice this season. He went through a tough time last season when he got suspended, but he seems to be taking the right approach since then. Read that story here.
This week’s Q&A is with Mark MacMillan. Find out what game was his most memorable in his career here.
The St. Cloud Times has its preview of the defending champ vs. the preseason favorite here.
On to the predictions….
Western Michigan at Miami: The Broncos brought a physical game against the RedHawks last season and it worked to perfection. Western swept all four games against Miami. Judging by what I saw last weekend, Miami can play the physical game better than last season, but I still think Western gets a game on the road. Miami 4-1, Western Michigan 3-2.
Minnesota Duluth at Nebraska Omaha: These two teams could very well be in Penrose Cup race at the end of the season. Both are off to great starts and this should be a great weekend between two teams that like to get up and down the ice. Omaha 4-3, Duluth 5-2.
Colorado College vs. Air Force/Wisconsin: The Tigers have lost seven in a row. More embarrassing, none of them have even been one-goal games. Luckily for the Tigers, they are playing a struggling Air Force team to close the weekend. Wisconsin 3, CC 0; CC 3, Air Force 2.
Denver vs. Air Force/Wisconsin: The Pioneers are playing like a deep, veteran team. The NCHC is having success out of league. Denver 5, Air Force 1; Denver 2, Wisconsin 0.
UND at St. Cloud State: You all read the results in the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center up there earlier. These teams love splitting in St. Cloud and I don’t see much of a reason why they shouldn’t once again this weekend. Should be a very entertaining one for fans. UND 3-2, St. Cloud State 4-2.
On the women’s side, there’s really only one story to talk about right now and that’s what’s happening with forward Lisa Marvin.
In case you didn’t hear, read this story here.
I wrote that piece late Wednesday night. On Thursday morning, Marvin was scheduled for a quick, 30-minute surgery. It ended up being more than four hours. Her bones shifted when doctors moved one of the plates in her arm, and they had to open her arm back up again.
It’s going to be a long road ahead for Marvin. It’s hard to imagine that she’s ever going to play again, but at this point, the focus is just on getting her to the point where she can go back to having a normal, pain-free life.
Her UND team plays Ohio State this weekend in The Ralph. Her sister, Layla Marvin, will play.
I’ll pass along any further updates that I hear regarding Lisa.