The preseason ended Friday night for UND with a 6-4 win over the U.S. Under-18 team in a game where UND charged ahead to a big lead and put it on cruise control to the final buzzer. Game stories:
- My story highlights some of the positives and negatives of UND’s exhibition games. Overall, I don’t think they were really much different than other early-season performances they’ve had. UND is never real physical early on and usually isn’t a good cycling team to start the year. That stuff usually takes time to develop.
- Will the exhibitions help UND develop those things earlier in the regular season than past years? Time will tell I guess. It will be hard to judge next weekend because of how many guys will be out of the lineup.
- UND could keep two of tonight’s lines together for the season opener if it wants. Steph Pattyn, Colton St. Clair and Derek Rodwell made up the third line. Bryn Chyzyk, Drake Caggiula and Jim made up the fourth line. All six of those guys should play against UAA. That would mean a Mark MacMillan, Rocco Grimaldi, Connor Gaarder top line, and Coltyn Sanderson by himself on the fourth line.
- Corban Knight’s dominance in the faceoff circle is getting ridiculous. He went 18-4 against the Americans. He is the best faceoff man in the WCHA. Danny Kristo’s goal was a direct result of a clean faceoff win by Knight. Must be nice not to have a broken hand anymore.
- Jordan Schmaltz quietly had three assists. He also almost scored on a breakaway, where he was able to split the defenders.
- I believe Clarke Saunders probably earned himself the start next Friday. He stopped 24 of 25 shots. The lone goal was the result of a miscommunication with his defenders (both goalies have allowed a goal because of that now).
- Tate Maris entered the game for the last couple of minutes to a huge ovation from the crowd. If you check his Twitter timeline, fans were blowing him up on there after getting into the game. He has become a cult hero at UND (and a hugely popular teammate in the dressing room).
- UND recruit Keaton Thompson had a strong game. He got a lot of ice time as he’s on the top power-play unit. He looked very confident and looked like he belonged out there. He’s made huge strides in his game since I last saw him as a member of the Devils Lake High School team.
- Other NTDP players that stood out where Anthony Louis (Miami commit), Hudson Fasching (Minnesota commit) and Kevin Labanc (Notre Dame commit).
- Coach Dave Hakstol said he hoped to know more about Michael Parks tonight, but now it appears that it will be Monday or Tuesday.
- UND is leaving for Fairbanks on Wednesday morning, so we will have the weekly media availability on Tuesday instead this week.