At this time a year ago, UND’s coaching staff hardly had any lineup decisions to make. Everyone who was healthy was going to play for the rest of the season.
That situation has changed quite a bit.
St. Cloud State transfer Mitch MacMillan is eligible after sitting out the last year and is expected to play on a line with his brother, Mark, on Friday night. You can read more about what type of player to expect in Thursday’s Herald.
UND also is expected to regain the services of Michael Parks. Coach Dave Hakstol said that Parks is healthy again. He has been practicing all week.
For this week, UND will have to fill one void in the lineup with Rocco Grimaldi playing at the World Junior Championship in Russia. It’s also possible that junior forward Derek Rodwell will be held out of the lineup as he recovers from the deep cut on his thigh that he sustained in Houghton.
UND will try to keep the momentum going that it built at the end of the first half of the schedule. The team is on a five-game unbeaten streak and has taken over first in the WCHA in winning percentage.
This also is the last chance UND has to improve its average nonconference mark of 3-3.
It won’t be a cakewalk, either.
Holy Cross is ranked in the top 20 for the first time since… the last time it was in Grand Forks in 2006. The Crusaders knocked off Yale in their first game back from Christmas break.
Forward Brandon Nunn, their top offensive option with 12 points in eight games, returned after missing eight games with an injury and had two goals and one assist in his first game back.
On the women’s side, Brian Idalski’s squad is preparing for a trip to Lindenwood — the second-year Division I program in St. Louis. UND will play two must-win games there against a team it destroyed in Grand Forks a year ago (Monique Lamoureux set the program record with eight points in that game).
After that, it’s Minnesota and Wisconsin for UND, so the month of January will be huge for that squad.
That’s it for now. No live chat today. That will resume next week. The video blog should be posted some time tomorrow.