UND played Friday night with its most depleted lineup of the last decade, only dressing nine forwards against Alaska Anchorage. Yet somehow, it came away with one of its most impressive season-opening wins of that time, blanking the Seawolves 5-0.
- UND has a shot to become the first non-Alaska team to win the Brice Alaska Goal Rush. This is the fifth year of the tournament and Anchorage has won it twice and Fairbanks the other two.
- Goalie Clarke Saunders earned a shutout in his first UND game. He came up particularly big in the opening eight minutes or so, when the Seawolves had a handful of good chances. After that, his workload really tailed off and he only saw a few sporadic opportunities the rest of the game.
- In the first 50 minutes of the game, Anchorage only had 3:07 of power-play time. Staying out of the box was a big key for a shorthanded UND team.
- Mark MacMillan gets the first star of the game. He scored two goals and played with a lot of energy. He also came up big in the faceoff circle, going 13-8 (including 6-0 in the first period as UND built a two-goal lead).
- As expected, UND did struggle overall in faceoffs without its top two centermen in Corban Knight and Carter Rowney. Anchorage won the draw battle 28-25. Rocco Grimaldi was 6-10 and Steph Pattyn was 4-9
- Derek Forbort and Jordan Schmaltz were both plus-3.
- The defensemen were very good in the season opener. Maybe it was a combination of their good play and Anchorage’s poor offensive attack, but they really didn’t allow much and they were able to transition the puck out of the zone fairly easily.
- Rookie Drake Caggiula led the team in shot blocks (three) and tied for the team lead in shots on goal (four).
- UND coach Dave Hakstol said he thought getting the first goal was critical. It happened on a nice point shot by Schmaltz that allowed for Bryn Chyzyk to find a rebound.
- The Carlson Center filled up as the game went along and there was a decent crowd there for the Alaska vs. Merrimack game (Alaska fell behind 2-0 but rallied to win 3-2). There were quite a few UND fans there, and definitely more UND fans than Anchorage fans, which was interesting.
- I will be going on The Pipeline Show at 11:20 a.m. Central time to talk about the game if you feel like listening.