Gameday final: UND 6, Providence 1

Tonight’s viewing: Midco Sports Network (Ch. 27, 622 HD). Notes: Only minor changes for UND. Chyzyk is in for Poganski. Acciari is in for Providence. Gilmour returns to PC’s blue line. Full lines and live chat are below.

First period

UND 1, Providence 0 — Luke Johnson (Nick Schmaltz) 7:05 (pp). Johnson picks up the puck in his own end with a head of steam, flies up the right wing and beats Demopoulos as he enters the zone, then rips a wrist shot that beats Gillies clean from the dot.

Second period

UND 2, Providence 0 — Michael Parks (Drake Caggiula, Troy Stecher) 6:25. After some good pressure in the offensive zone, Stecher gets it to Caggiula on top of the crease. Caggiula tries a turnaround backhand that’s stopped by Gillies, but the rebound goes to the other side, where Parks buries it.

UND 3, Providence 0 — Paul LaDue (Nick Schmaltz, Drake Caggiula) 16:02. More offensive zone possession leads to another goal. On this one, Cagguila sets up Schmaltz in the slot. Gillies makes the initial save, but LaDue follows it up.

UND 4, Providence 0 — Tucker Poolman (Jordan Schmaltz, Drake Caggiula) 18:25 (pp). Poolman spins off a pursuing defender to create space, walks it to the inside of the circle and unleashes a big-time snipe in the corner of the net.

Third period

UND 5, Providence 0 — Bryn Chyzyk (Johnny Simonson, Troy Stecher) . Stecher makes a great zone entry, beating a Providence defenseman at the blue line. He chips a puck to Simonson, who taps one on Ellis (who came in after the second period) and Chyzyk follows it up on top of the crease.

UND 5, Providence 1 — Kevin Rooney (Trevor Mingoia, John Gilmour) 10:48. Just as a Friar power play expired, Rooney gets the puck near the side of the net. It looks like he’s going to play it behind the net, but he flips a backhand on net and it sneaks past McIntyre to break up the shutout.

UND 6, Providence 1 — Drake Caggiula (Jordan Schmaltz) 14:22 (sh). With Providence skating on a power play, Caggiula gets to a puck at center ice before a Friar defender, skates in all alone and snipes one off the bar and in.

Live Blog North Dakota Hockey vs. Providence

UND’s lines

28 Stephane Pattyn–16 Mark MacMillan–15 Michael Parks
21 Brendan O’Donnell–13 Connor Gaarder–27 Luke Johnson
9 Drake Caggiula–8 Nick Schmaltz–11 Trevor Olson
29 Bryn Chyzyk–10 Johnny Simonson–17 Colten St. Clair

6 Paul LaDue–24 Jordan Schmaltz
20 Gage Ausmus–2 Troy Stecher
5 Nick Mattson–3 Tucker Poolman

31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson
30 Matt Hrynkiw

Providence’s lines

22 Brandon Tanev–24 Noel Acciari–15 Steven McParland
12 Stefan Demopoulos–14 Ross Mauermann–26 Brian Pinho
29 Conor MacPhee–21 Kevin Rooney–11 Niko Rufo
20 Shane Luke–18 Nick Saracino–9 Trevor Mingoia

5 Kyle McKenzie–16 Anthony Florentino
19 Jake Walman–4 Mark Adams
3 John Gilmour–27 Josh Monk

32 Jon Gillies
35 Nick Ellis

Friday morning reading

The largest road crowd that Providence played in front of in the past two seasons is 7,884 in Boston College. Tonight, that number will jump by about 4,000.

Although there were limited tickets available when I checked Thursday afternoon, it will likely be a sold out Ralph Engelstad Arena by the time the puck drops at 7:37 p.m. for the No. 3 vs. No. 5 matchup.

This top-five matchup probably wasn’t what UND signed up for when it inked this series four years ago. The Friars were Hockey East bottom-feeders at that time but have evolved into the Hockey East frontrunners.

UND had a great crowd for the home-opener against Bemidji State. The arena was packed, the fans were revved up and ready to go and the atmosphere was good….. and then UND was down by five goals.

I thought one of the big keys for the Beavers in that game was getting through the first period, getting that first goal and letting the team (and its rookie goaltender) settle in. That’s something UND can’t let happen against the Friars.

I don’t think that goalie Jon Gillies is going to get rattled much. He has been around. He has been to the World Juniors. But this is a much larger crowd than the Friars are used to and UND may be able to make things uneasy if it has a strong start.

A lot of fans, media and scouts are going to have their eyes on the goaltending battle this weekend. Many thought that the 6-foot-5 Gillies would be Calgary-bound after last season, but he opted to return. Those in Grand Forks know what a pivotal role that Zane McIntyre has played for UND over the last two seasons.

Both are NHL prospects, but both are more focused on leading their college teams to special seasons this year. Read a little about the goalie matchup here.

I was trying to think of the last goalie of that size to play against UND. The only one who came to mind off hand was Maine’s Ben Bishop, who led the Black Bears to a sweep in The Ralph several years ago. Any others?

I posted the injury report a couple of days ago. The only question mark seems to be Providence forward Noel Acciari. He made the trip to Grand Forks, but coach Nate Leaman did not specifically say if he would play.

If Acciari does not play, it would be a hit to the Friars up the middle. Acciari is a centerman for Providence, as is Mark Jankowski, who will not play this weekend. The Friars returned all four of their regular centers from last season, but could be without two tonight. Expect veteran Nick Saracino to play center in Jankowski’s spot tonight.

The Providence Journal’s story today says that defenseman John Gilmour should return to the lineup tonight. The Calgary Flames pick hasn’t played yet this season.

Usually, you will be able to find a lot of players who were teammates in juniors on both sides of these nonconference matchups. There aren’t many in this one, though.

The ones I know of off hand: Nick Mattson played one year with Gillies with the Indiana Ice in the USHL. Also, UND’s Bryn Chyzyk played on a line with Providence’s Shane Luke for a year in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Stephane Pattyn said his team played against Luke’s team in the playoffs and Pattyn’s job was to shut down Luke’s line. So those two should have quite a bit of familiarity.

Speaking of Mattson, he’s the subject of this week’s ‘Get to Know’ segment. What movie made Mattson ask his father to go pick him up a hockey stick? Find out here.

More wall decorations are going up at The Ralph in the team area. Here’s how UND is displaying all of its team awards and the current player bios:

On to this weekend’s picks….. the NCHC has the best nonconference record of all leagues at this point, going 11-2 since that dreadful 2-5 opening night. There’s one league game this weekend, otherwise, the rest of the teams will look to keep it going.

Denver at Minnesota Duluth: Denver allowed just one goal in sweeping RPI last weekend, but the new goaltenders will surely get a workout this weekend facing one of the country’s deepest groups of forwards. The Pios may be able to outscore the Dogs one night but not both. Split.

St. Cloud State at Union: The Dutchmen haven’t lost since January, but this is a good, veteran St. Cloud State team that should be up for the task. St. Cloud State win and tie.

St. Lawrence at Miami: Preseason Hobey candidate Austin Czarnik has three times as many minor penalties (6) as points (2). Unfortunately for the Saints, it’s not going to stay that way for long. Miami sweep.

Colorado College at Boston College/New Hampshire: For a Tigers team that’s licking its wounds after a bad loss to UND on Saturday night, this isn’t the best road trip to take. Boston College and UNH win.

Alaska at Western Michigan: The Nanooks are red hot, coming in with a 4-0-0 record and a No. 16 national ranking to boot. The Broncos should have a chip on their shoulder after getting swept by Omaha in Lawson. Split.

Providence at North Dakota: Gillies has never lost on consecutive nights in his career. It’s only happened to McIntyre once. This highly entertaining series in The Ralph should end in a…. split.


The UND women’s team is in Minneapolis, preparing for a showdown against No. 1 Minnesota.

It will be UND’s first game back at Ridder since it ended the Gophers’ 62-game winning streak last season.

Nobody has had much success at Ridder in the last five years. But if anybody can knock off the Gophers there, it’s UND. Going back to the 2010-11 season, UND is 4-7 at Ridder Arena, while the rest of the nation is 1-66-4. Yes, that includes Wisconsin and Minnesota Duluth.

Here’s a story that details some of UND’s success at Ridder.

UND coach Brian Idalski would like to make Ridder a frequent stop in the next few seasons as it will host the Frozen Four two of the next four years.

This Minnesota team is typical of ones past. There are a few forwards who can really get up-and-down the ice and score. The D-corps is as good as any in the country with three 2018 Olympic candidates there.

UND, meanwhile, is trying to get more consistent in producing offense. It has 14 goals on Friday nights and 3 on Saturday nights this season. Becca Kohler and Meghan Dufault have been big offensive scorers, but UND could use some more production from other forwards in the lineup, which is what happened during the upset win over Minnesota last season.

UND also will need a strong game from goaltender Shelby Amsley-Benzie, who has a .968 save percentage and a 0.75 goals-against average so far this season.

That’s about all for now. Catch you tonight with the live chat and I’ll check back in the afternoon if any news breaks. For now, I’ll leave you with this week’s Through These Doors.

Caggiula to play, Jankowski out

UND forward Drake Caggiula is a full go for this weekend’s series against Providence, according to coach Dave Hakstol.

Caggiula was injured during the third period of UND’s 7-2 win over Colorado College on a hit by Tiger forward Christian Heil, who was given a five-minute major for contact to the head. Caggiula left the ice with trainer Mark Poolman and did not return.

He has practiced all week, though.

Providence, meanwhile, will be without first-round NHL draft pick Mark Jankowski. The junior forward will not travel to Grand Forks tomorrow, coach Nate Leaman said.

Providence junior defenseman Tom Parisi also will not make the trip, but standout forward Noel Acciari, who sat out last weekend’s exhibition game, will travel to Grand Forks.

Top-five series at the Ralph

For the first time since 2010, a weekend two-game series at The Ralph will feature two teams ranked in the top five nationally.

In this week’s USCHO poll, UND is ranked No. 3 and Providence is ranked No. 5 (No, polls don’t mean anything substantive at this time of year, but they sometimes can measure hype about teams).

The last time a top-five team came to The Ralph was Boston College in the 2011 Icebreaker. The last two-game series was Denver in January 2010. As you can see, there haven’t been many nonconference series featuring two teams this highly rated in the polls. You will have to go back further than 2007.

REA’s most recent top-five showdowns

Oct. 8, 2011: No. 5 Boston College 6, No. 3 UND 2.
Jan. 30, 2010: No. 3 Denver 4, No. 3 UND 2
Jan. 29, 2010: No. 3 Denver 2, No. 3 UND 0
Nov. 28, 2009: No. 4 UND 5, No. 1 Miami 5, tie
Oct. 13, 2007: No. 1 UND 6, No. 3 Michigan State 0

Providence seemingly received some good news today regarding injured standouts Mark Jankowski and Noel Acciari. Both will be on the trip, according to Providence Journal writer Mark Divver. They are listed as questionable right now, though.

Saturday night rewind

Five highlights from around the country:

1. Omaha continued to stay hot early this season, sweeping Western Michigan on the road. The top line of Jake Guentzel-Dominic Zombo-Austin Ortega now has 21 points in four games this season. Guentzel leads the way with nine of them.

2. In Denver’s first weekend without NCHC goalie of the year Sam Brittain, the heir apparent, Evan Cowley, stopped 40 of 41 shots (.976, 0.51) in leading Denver to a sweep of RPI. The lone goal allowed by Cowley was a power-play tally with :35 left in the game.

3. As expected with so many new players, Wisconsin is off to a tough start, dropping to 0-4 after getting swept by Northern Michigan. The Badgers have just 3 goals in 4 games this season. The Badgers now have two weeks to prepare for UND.

4. Union finished off a sweep of Maine with a 5-2 victory, setting up a key nonconference showdown against St. Cloud State next week in upstate New York. Union will take a 16-game winning streak and a 21-game unbeaten streak into that series. Its last loss came in January.

5. The Alaska schools are a combined 7-0-1 to start the season after the teams went 3-0-1 against Penn State and Air Force this weekend in Fairbanks.

In Colorado Springs, UND was dominant in its 7-2 win over Colorado College from the start to the end of the game. Game stories:

Grand Forks Herald

Colorado Springs Gazette

Other notes:

  • On Friday night, I thought Colorado College played a fairly even game with UND and that goaltender Zane McIntyre was a huge difference-maker. Saturday was completely one-sided from the start as UND won nearly every puck battle. The lack of compete from CC is likely why they held a players meeting after the game.
  • UND used the Olympic ice sheet to its advantage on the power play, going 5-for-11 on Saturday and 6-for-16 on the weekend.
  • Mark MacMillan will surely be the NCHC offensive player of the week with his five-point night and seven-point weekend. On top of that, MacMillan went 14-4 on faceoffs as UND dominated that category 34-21.
  • In the first period, CC had just one shot attempt between the dots. It came from Hunter Fejes, who was ejected by the end of the frame. In the second period, the Tigers got one shot on goal between the dots. It was the easiest 40 minutes that McIntyre has had in a while.
  • Johnny Simonson registered his first college point and came so close to getting his first goal. He rang two shots off the post. Simonson, a scratch in the season opener, is starting to leave the coaches no choice but to play him, much as Mario Lamoureux did as a youngster. Simonson now has worked his way onto the second power-play unit.
  • Tucker Poolman, who scored his first-career goal, also has worked his way onto the power play.
  • In past years, I’ve written about UND’s inability to score on five-minute major power plays. That obviously was not the case Saturday as UND tallied four goals on the two majors. MacMillan said after the game that the key is playing with urgency, instead of relaxing because of the extra time.
  • The seniors came up big this weekend for UND, combining for 6 goals and 14 points.
  • The biggest area of concern is the health of Drake Caggiula, who left the ice after a hit by Christian Heil, who was penalized for contact to the head. Caggiula did not return and there were no updates available at the end of the game.
  • Colorado College now has to go on the road for 13 of its next 14 games. It has just one home game between now and January 16. That’s a tough way for a young team to start the season.

Gameday final: UND 7, CC 2

Viewing: Notes: Two lineup changes for UND. Mattson and Poganski and in for Thompson and Chyzyk. UND also juggles the bottom two lines. CC goes with Marble in net again.

First period

UND 1, Colorado College 0 — Mark MacMillan (Michael Parks) 5:50 (sh). Harstad’s stick breaks on an attempt of a point shot and Parks wins a race to the puck starting a 2-on-1. He sends the puck over to MacMillan before a CC back-checker can get in position. Mark catches it on his forehand, sees Marble move over, then goes to the middle and scores on the backhand.

UND 2, Colorado College 0 — Paul LaDue (Mark MacMillan, Nick Mattson) 9:23 (pp). After a quick zone entry, MacMillan ends up with the puck behind the net. He spots LaDue walking down the shot, hits him for a pass and LaDue buries it.

UND 3, Colorado College 0 — Tucker Poolman (Nick Schmaltz, Drake Caggiula) 15:05 (pp). UND wastes no time scoring after a five-minute major is called on Fejes for checking Gaarder from behind. Poolman blasts one through a Johnson screen for the first of his career.

UND 4, Colorado College 0 — Jordan Schmaltz (Nick Schmaltz, Drake Caggiula) 16:31 (pp). Nick makes a play to draw a defender toward him at the top of the right circle, then dishes it to his brother, who blasts one past the glove of Marble. After the goal, Marble is pulled for Perry.

Second period

UND 4, Colorado College 1 — Cody Bradley (Ian Young) 11:43. Young spots Bradley behind the UND defenders and hits him with a stretch pass to send Bradley on a clean breakaway. He shoots stick side and scores.

Third period

UND 5, Colorado College 1 — Paul LaDue (Johnny Simonson, Mark MacMillan) 3:26 (pp). UND converts another major power play as Simonson tees one up for LaDue, who blasts a shot through a screen for his second of the game.

UND 6, Colorado College 1 — Mark MacMillan, (Paul LaDue, Michael Parks) 6:19 (pp). LaDue cuts toward the net at the bottom of the right circle and launches a shot that MacMillan tips past Perry.

UND 6, Colorado College 2 — Teemu Kivihalme (Scott Wamsganz, Jaccob Slavin) 10:32 (pp). Kivihalme tees one up at the top of the left circle and blasts it past McIntyre on the stick side.

UND 7, Colorado College 2 — Mark MacMillan (Michael Parks) 13:45 (sh) (en). Parks feeds MacMillan for his first-career hat trick. Mark’s fifth point of the night.

Live Blog UND at Colorado College

UND’s lines

28 Stephane Pattyn–16 Mark MacMillan–15 Michael Parks
21 Brendan O’Donnell–13 Connor Gaarder–17 Colten St. Clair
9 Drake Caggiula–8 Nick Schmaltz–11 Trevor Olson
10 Johnny Simonson–27 Luke Johnson–14 Austin Poganski

6 Paul LaDue–24 Jordan Schmaltz
20 Gage Ausmus–2 Troy Stecher
5 Nick Mattson–3 Tucker Poolman

31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson

Colorado College’s lines

22 Peter Maric–9 Sam Rothstein–12 Jordan Berger
11 Hunter Fejes–13 Cody Bradley–8 Luc Gerdes
18 Scott Wamsganz–15 Christian Heil–26 Zach Aman
23 Matt Hansen–14 Jordan DiGiando–28 Alex Roos

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

33 Tyler Marble
35 Chase Perry
30 Derek Shatzer

Friday night rewind

Five highlights from around the country:

1. Miami showed its offensive firepower against in-state rival Ohio State, scoring five times in a 5-1 win. The series finale shifts back to Oxford. Sean Kuraly led the RedHawks with 3 points.

2. Minot’s Bryce Schmitt scored his first goal of the season for Lake Superior State, which rallied to within a goal three times against Notre Dame, only to fall 5-3.

3. New Hampshire sent Michigan to an 0-2 record by dominating the Wolverines 5-1 on Friday night.

4. Evan Trupp’s brother, Hayden, scored the shootout winner to lead Alaska Anchorage to the championship game of the Brice Alaska Goal Rush against rival Fairbanks. Hayden also scored against the Badgers last weekend.

5. Colgate continues to look impressive with a 3-0 win over a good Northeastern team.

UND topped Colorado College 3-1 in the series opener at World Arena on Friday night thanks to three goals in the span of 3:25 and a great performance by goalie Zane McIntyre. Game stories:

Grand Forks Herald

Colorado Springs Gazette

Colorado Springs Gazette notebook on UND’s crowd

Colorado Springs Gazette column

Other notes:

  • My general thoughts were that UND made several miscues and that the team has things to clean up after this one, but it did all the things it needs to in order to win games. Zane McIntyre was great in goal. The team played hard. The forwards got to the top of the crease. All three goals were scored at the top of the crease.
  • Several players have talked in the last week about how they need to play to win games. I think they are starting to remember how hard they had to work last season to win.
  • CC goalie Tyler Marble gave up three quick goals in the first period, but I actually thought he played very well. UND was all over CC at the start of the second and he held the Tigers in the game.
  • UND coach Dave Hakstol was not happy with the penalties his team took in the second period. You could tell by his reaction on the bench that he didn’t like the call against Luke Johnson on the top of the crease, but he made a point in the postgame to say that the others were the correct calls and they were all bad stick penalties by his team. Hakstol thought the penalties really cost the team energy.
  • From CC’s perspective, I thought the line of Hunter Fejes, Cody Bradley and Luc Gerdes was really good tonight. Fejes had a good freshman year but was unnoticeable as a sophomore (when he didn’t score any goals). He was all over the ice on Friday.
  • Two of UND’s unsung players for this game were Troy Stecher and Gage Ausmus. Right now, Ausmus is making himself a must-have in the lineup, especially due to his play on the penalty kill. Stecher was terrific there as well.
  • Mark MacMillan registered eight shots in the first two periods alone for UND.
  • Faceoff numbers weren’t in the final stat packet, so I don’t have those.
  • Tonight, UND will look for its first October sweep since 2010, when it won the first two games in Bemidji’s Sanford Center. No player on the current roster has been part of an October sweep.

Gameday final: UND 3, CC 1

VIEWING: only. Notes: Only one lineup change from Saturday’s game in Bemidji: Keaton Thompson is in for Nick Mattson on the blue line. Nick Schmaltz also moves to center of his line. Full lines and live chat are below.

First period

UND 1, Colorado College 0 — Mark MacMillan (Michael Parks) 16:33 (pp). Parks takes the puck from the wall to the crease area, where UND’s three forwards crash. MacMillan finds it and scores his first of the year on a shortened, 49-second power play.

UND 2, Colorado College 0 — Brendan O’Donnell (Connor Gaarder, Paul LaDue) 17:17. Gaarder gets the puck in the corner and protects it as he walks the back wall before finding O’Donnell camped on top of the crease. Gaarder hits him with a perfect pass and O’Donnell sneaks a shot five-hole.

UND 3, Colorado College 0 — Mark MacMillan (Troy Stecher, Nick Schmaltz) 19:58. Just before time expires in the period, Stecher blasts one from the point and MacMillan tips it in from the top of the crease.

Second period

UND 3, Colorado College 1 — Hunter Fejes (Garrett Cecere, Teemu Kivihalme) 6:00 (pp). Cecere launches a shot from the point that takes a long bounce off the end wall. Fejes, camped out by the side of the post, sneaks it in before McIntyre can get to his post.

Third period


Live Blog Men’s Hockey at Colorado College (Friday)

UND’s lines

28 Stephane Pattyn–16 Mark MacMillan–15 Michael Parks
9 Drake Caggiula–8 Nick Schmaltz–27 Luke Johnson
21 Brendan O’Donnell–13 Connor Gaarder–17 Colten St. Clair
29 Bryn Chyzyk–10 Johnny Simonson–11 Trevor Olson

6 Paul LaDue–24 Jordan Schmaltz
20 Gage Ausmus–2 Troy Stecher
4 Keaton Thompson–3 Tucker Poolman

31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson

Colorado College’s lines

22 Peter Maric–9 Sam Rothstein–17 Charlie Taft
11 Hunter Fejes–13 Cody Bradley–8 Luc Gerdes
26 Zach Aman–15 Christian Heil–28 Alex Roos
18 Scott Wamsganz–14 Jordan DiGiando–23 Matt Hansen

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

33 Tyler Marble
35 Chase Perry
30 Derek Shatzer

Friday morning reading

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Is the weather ever bad here?

This is my eighth trip to the Springs, and I can’t ever remember it being bad. Once again, it was in the upper 60s today and the forecast calls for it to be in that vicinity for the rest of the weekend.

The team practiced this afternoon at World Arena for about an hour. Former UND goalie Tate Maris stopped by to visit the old team.

The Tigers practiced after UND and I chatted with new coach Mike Haviland for a little bit. He talks about the challenges of stepping into the college game from the pro game and his thoughts on his team in this notebook.

When you think of Colorado College, you think about the high-flying offense and the dynamic forwards that the Tigers boasted for so many years. From Brian Swanson to Peter Sejna to Noah Clarke to Brett Sterling to Marty Sertich to Chad Rau to Jaden and Rylan Schwartz, the Tigers could score with anyone. But they weren’t great on the back end and that was usually their downfall.

What makes things strange is that the Tigers have been the opposite for the past two seasons. Up front, they don’t have anyone that really scares you, especially now that Alexander Krushelnyski is gone. But on the back end, the Tigers are very good. They have a group of older players who have developed through their careers mixed in with some very talented youngsters like Jaccob Slavin (Carolina pick), Teemu Kivihalme (Nashville pick) and Garrett Cecere.

Another Tiger blue liner to watch is Peter Stoykewych. He scored three goals during his first three years in college and two of them came against UND.

Look for the Tigers to lean on that group to help provide offense and to help transition the puck out of the zone, making it more difficult on UND to score goals.

For UND, I think it once again comes down to grinding and competing as hard as they did at the end of last season and Saturday night against Bemidji State. If they can find that in their game, I think they can make things hard on the Tigers this weekend.

UND also will hope to get a few more players on the scoresheet. One of those players is senior Michael Parks, who answered some random questions for our “get to know” segment.

For Thursday’s paper, I wrote a feature on the East Grand Forks and Grand Forks Central players on this team’s roster. There are five of them and they played against each other in a pretty intense high school rivalry. Now, they are not only teammates but they also all live together (the two freshmen in the dorms and the other three in an apartment). I can’t find it online at the moment.

This week’s NCHC picks….

UND at Colorado College: Vegas bookies say a split is likely. UND and CC have split 5 of their last 6 series here. UND has only swept once in the last 10 trips here. But I think the Tigers have too many questions both up front and in goal for me to confident in picking them. So I’m going with a UND sweep.

Omaha at Western Michigan: Omaha likes to get up and down the rink. Western Michigan likes to lock it down defensively. Should be a good matchup between contrasting styles. Split.

MSU-Mankato vs. Minnesota Duluth: Home-and-home series between old WCHA rivals. Should be highly entertaining. The Bulldogs have tons of skill up front. The Mavs have a deep, veteran team that could make an NCAA tournament run this season. Can’t see either team getting the upper hand here. Split.

Miami vs. Ohio State: Home-and-home series between old CCHA rivals. Ohio State has a lot to replace up front, which isn’t good news because the Buckeyes will need to score to keep up with the RedHawks. Miami win and tie.

RPI at Denver: RPI coach Seth Appert returns to DU, where he was an assistant coach on Denver’s national title teams. Denver was the only team off last weekend, so it’s hard to know a lot about the Pioneers. Split.


On the women’s side, UND has a big rivalry series coming up against Minnesota Duluth.

Minnesota Duluth went 31-2 against UND in the first 33 meetings between the teams. So, it’s hard to believe that UND has totally flipped this series and will enter this weekend on an eight-game unbeaten streak against the Bulldogs.

There’s a story in the Herald about how UND ended the whole “Big Three” thing by finishing ahead of Duluth in the WCHA standings for each of the last three years. That story doesn’t appear to be online right now though.

Another big development for the women’s team is that sophomore defenseman Halli Krzyzaniak was named to the Four Nations team for Canada. This is the top National Team, which means she’s definitely making her way onto Hockey Canada’s radar for the 2018 Olympics. The Four Nations will be played next month.

It’s going to be a very interesting weekend on the women’s side in the WCHA with every team playing someone that they will be close to in the standings.

Minnesota is playing Wisconsin. Those teams should finish 1-2. UND and Duluth are playing while Ohio State and Bemidji State are playing. Those teams should finish 3-4-5-6. Then, Mankato is playing against St. Cloud in a battle of teams that should finish 7-8. This weekend will go a long way in separating out some of those teams (unless they are all splits).

I’m off to mentally prepare for how many spicy cajun dogs I’m going to destroy postgame on Tejon Street in downtown Springs.