Another road trip, another wild adventure home.
While the team flew a charter plane back to Grand Forks on Saturday night right after the the game and arrived back in town at about 3 a.m., the commercial route wasn’t so smooth.
After sitting at Denver International Airport for 10 hours, having a flight cancelled, three flights re-scheduled, we were able to hop on a flight to Fargo via standby and get back to North Dakota. A co-worker picked us up and we were back in the Grand Cities by 1:30 a.m. — which was a very welcome arrival time considering our re-booking wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon.
In addition to winning on the charter flight home, the team also won a big game Saturday night against Denver, allowing them to get a series split and stay at No. 6 in the Pairwise Rankings.
- UND remained at No. 6 in the Pairwise after the weekend split.
- The 6-1 result marked Denver’s worst home loss since Jan. 12, 2008, when it lost 7-2 to Wisconsin.
- In five games since Rocco Grimaldi was put on LW with Corban Knight and Danny Kristo, the trio has 24 points (nine goals, 15 assists) and is a plus-20. Those three are really starting to click together.
- Kristo is now tied with Omaha’s Ryan Walters in the chase for the WCHA scoring title. They both have 35 points. Knight is next in line with 33 points (only points in league play count).
- While Kristo has the scoring touch, Knight may be UND’s best set-up guy since Evan Trupp. The pass he made to feed Kristo on UND’s first goal was outstanding. He had a really small window to fit that into and he threaded it.
- When asked about using players like Brendan O’Donnell, Colten St. Clair, Mitch MacMillan, etc., on the late power plays, UND coach Dave Hakstol said that, while those guys don’t usually see a lot of PP time, they run the power play in practice while the other guys are working on the PK. “They are good power play players,” he said. Those are guys who, at some point in their careers, may very well be regular power-play guys.
- Five of Carter Rowney’s eight goals this season have come against Denver.
- Three guys who were very key to UND’s late-season run last year as regular point producers — Rowney, Mark MacMillan and Michael Parks — all scored goals Saturday. Their production will be important to the team’s success down the stretch.
- I thought UND’s defensemen, as a whole, looked as confident in the offensive zone as I’ve seen them this year. Jordan Schmaltz is a different player right now than he was at the beginning of the season. Nick Mattson had a really nice weekend, too. And Dillon Simpson has quietly been very, very good all year.
- Simpson is tied for fifth in WCHA defenseman scoring.
- And just when we thought UND had its No. 1 goalie in Zane Gothberg, Clarke Saunders gets a start and plays outstanding. Saunders left a couple of rebounds early, but got stronger and stronger as the game went on, and by the second period, he was locked in. Who knows where UND goes from here in net.