After UND’s 6-1 win over Denver in the Midwest Regional final, I had multiple photographers come up to me in the media room and ask: “What? No celebration at all?” Sorry, photogs, no postgameÂ celebration shots. In part because of the lopsided score and in part because of this team’s business-like attitude, there wereÂ only a few handshakes and fist bumps after they punched their ticket to the Frozen Four. Twitter comments:
Mike Commodore: “Fighting Sioux crush DU 6-1…frozen four ticket punched…next up Mich..NCAA loves Mich..UND will have to battle Mich and pro Mich refs.”
Ryan Duncan: “Fighting Sioux back to the Frozen Four! Fantastic news to wake up to! Well done men. Keep it going.”
- St. Paul businesses have to be thrilled with UND coming back in two weeks. Sioux fans are the most passionate in all of college hockey, which was demonstrated today. They brought a nice crowd to Green Bay, there were 2,000 watching in Ralph Engelstad Arena and we had just under 4,000 on our live chat.
- UND didn’t lose in either February or March this year.
- UND is going to the Frozen Four for the fifth time in Dave Hakstol’s seven years as head coach, a remarkable feat.
- Hakstol also is a finalist for the Spencer Penrose award for the national coach of the year. He has been a finalist for this award six times in his seven years at UND.
- In seven years as a college coach, Hakstol’s teams now have two more NCAA tournamentÂ victories than Dean Blais’ teams have in 12 years, which is somewhat surprising considering Blais’ teams won two national championships.
- Aaron Dell broke Ed Belfour’s school record for wins in a season. Dell now has 30. He won the regional MVP award. Recent UND regional MVPs include: Jean-Philippe Lamoureux (2008), Chris Porter (2007),Â Jonathan Toews (2006) and Jordan Parise (2005).
- Dell now ranks No. 1 in the nation in goals-against average (1.81), winning percentage (.816) and shutouts (six).
- Denver was gassed by the end of the game. That was evident. Did the 2 OT game the night before play a role in that? You have to believe it did. UND’s grinding style of game couldn’t have helped, either. But the Pioneers hardly had a quality scoring chance in the third period.
- Captain Chay Genoway had a fantastic weekend, racking up five assists, a plus-3 and joining with Andrew MacWilliam to shut out each opponent’s top line. UND tried to match Genoway and MacWilliam on the Drew Shore line.
- Genoway wasn’t the only defenseman that played well. All six of them did their jobs well. I thought Ben Blood should have been on all-tournament team at Final Five and this weekend at the regional. Really, though, I thought every defenseman played well this weekend.
- Carter Rowney and Derek Rodwell were both held off the scoresheet, but both played key roles in this game, I thought. They gave UND a ton of energy every time they were on the ice and had the puck in Denver’s zone on almost every shift. They were fast and physical. Their center, Mario Lamoureux, chipped in a snipe for a shorthanded goal in the first.
- Brock Nelson’s goal, a backhand top shelf from in tight, is the type of play we saw him make in high school. Nelson has looked a lot stronger on his skates recently than he was at the start of the season. He’s now going back to St. Paul, where he scored some pretty goals in the state tournament.
- Danny Kristo’s three-game goal streak is over, but he continued to prove that he can be a big factor even when he’s not scoring goals. In some ways, I think his goal drought at the start of the season was good for him. Right now, he has the attitude that he doesn’t care if he scores as long as he helps his team win in other ways. He did that today.
- Denver coach George Gwozdecky had some good things to say about UND in the postgame press conference. He talked about how difficult it is to win the WCHA regular season title, playoff title and regional title.
- One big key to the game was holding Denver scoreless on four early power-play chances. Denver didn’t even get a ton of good looks on those power plays and I think the brutal ice conditions might have had something to do with that. It was hard to make crisp passes because the puck was bouncing so much. After practice Thursday, some of the guys were already talking about how bad it was.
- Corban Knight was 23-12 on faceoffs this weekend.
- During UND’s current 15-game unbeaten streak, Brett Hextall has 10 goals andÂ 19 points. He was asked to do the postgame press conference. But don’t worry, he wore his “Give Blood, Play Hockey” hat to the press conference.
- If there were regional champion hats, UND didn’t put them on.