St. Cloud State spent last night in a hotel. That’s something the Huskies haven’t had to do in a long while.
The Huskies last played a road game on Dec. 1 in Anchorage. They had a 10-game homestand after that. But after almost two full months, they are back on the road again. How will they respond?
That’s something we’ll find out at 7:37 tonight in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
This series is a big one in the WCHA, which is as tightly packed as I’ve ever seen it at this time of year (three points separate the league champ from being on the road in the first round right now). Read more about that, and about the series in general, in this preview.
St. Cloud State, meanwhile, wants to keep rolling after becoming the first WCHA team since 2008 to sweep Denver. Read the preview from the Times here.
Of course, the big side story is Mitch MacMillan taking on his former team. Read what Mitch is saying about that in this story.
This week’s Q&A is with Colten St. Clair, who entered the lineup Saturday night and played very well against Minnesota. If he’s able to continue playing at that level, he will be a big help to UND. Read the Q&A here (if our website bug is fixed).
There will be one big difference between this series and the one these teams played back in November: St. Cloud State will have Ben Hanowski in the lineup. Hanowski, one of the team’s top three players, was out with an injury last time. The big-time goal scorer, who the Pittsburgh Penguins love, is back this time.
The Huskies will be without two players in forward Nick Oliver and defenseman Jarrod Rabey. Both are rehabbing lower-body injuries, according to the St. Cloud Times.
A Christian magazine has an interesting story on UND freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi. Check it out here.
This week’s On The Ice column features a conversation with NCHC director of hockey operations Joe Novak, who says he’s already talking to coaches, supervisors and evaluating officials for who may be candidates to ref in the NCHC next season. Read that here.
For a breakdown on the rest of the WCHA series, return this afternoon to watch the pregame video blog with Tom Miller and myself.
On the women’s side, it’s also UND vs. SCSU. UND has 10 straight wins over the Huskies and needs to keep that going in order to make a run at an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament.
One big positive is that freshman goalie Shelby Amsley-Benzie has stepped up and given UND some solid goaltending lately. Read a feature about Shelby here.
Milestone watch: Monique Lamoureux is one goal shy of 100 for her career. With her next point, Monique also will move alone into fourth all-time in the WCHA in points. Her twin sister, Jocelyne Lamoureux, is 14 points shy of Hilary Knight’s WCHA-record 262 career points.
That’s all for right now. Check back for more this afternoon.