The UND hockey season starts today with the women’s team playing host to Lindenwood at 7 p.m. in Ralph Engelstad Arena. The women got a test run last weekend against the Pursuit of Excellence, but this time, it counts.
The lowdown on Lindenwood is that it is a program in its third year of Division I action out of the St. Louis area. Last season, the Lions went 7-26-3 overall. It started the season 2-23-1 but actually ended the year with a 5-3-2 mark in the last 10 games.
Last weekend, Lindenwood tied and lost against Bemidji State.
I know this has to sound ridiculous coming on Day 1 of the season, but these are absolutely vital games if UND wants to make the NCAA tournament. If they lose either of them, there’s a good chance it could come back to haunt them at the end of the year.
UND made the 2013 tournament by a razor-thin margin and missed the 2012 tournament by a razor-thin margin. So, I know the coaching staff is well aware of the ramifications of these games down the line.
Here’s a short story that I wrote for Friday’s paper about the women’s team and the optimism of coach Brian Idalski, despite the loss of the twins. And yes, I promise not to write life-after-the-twins stories every week, but right now, that’s the storyline.
Idalski said he might only play defensemen Sam Hanson and Sam LaShomb one game this week as they are coming off of injuries. Layla Marvin, who sat out the exhibition, should be ready to go. As for Leah Jensen…. more bad news. See the above-linked story for details.
Let’s Play Hockey and the Herb Brooks Foundation announced Thursday the creation of the Mike Richter Award, which will go to the top goaltender in college hockey each season.
I like it. As Chris Dilks pointed out on Twitter, it’s sort of a Cy Young type of award since pitchers never win MVP. It has proved nearly impossible for goalies to win the Hobey Baker Award, so this is a nice way to honor the country’s top goaltender.
Wisconsin landed defenseman Jack Dougherty, a highly sought-after potential first-round pick. Dougherty is playing for the NTDP. He was originally committed to Ohio State, but backed out when the Buckeyes fired coach Mark Osiecki.
The Kalamazoo paper has a feature on a guy UND fans probably remember from the 2012 NCAA tournament and a guy they will get familiar with this season — The Big Slubowski, Frank the Tank, or whatever nickname you want to give him — WMU goalie Frank Slublowski. Read that story here.