Of course, Lindenwood isn’t a great measuring stick. The Lions were 0-16 against non-CHA teams last season. UND swept them in Missouri. Even so, the regular season games provided a picture of what this season’s team will look like. My thoughts out of the weekend:
1. The most noticeable difference is in the blue line. Through the years, UND has had a very defensive D-corps, which is one of the reasons they moved Monique Lamoureux back there the last few years. Other than Mo, UND never generated offense from back there. That’s about to change. If you don’t include Monique as a D, I’m fairly confident to say that Halli Krzyzaniak and Gracen Hirschy will be the two best offensive D the program has ever had.
UND’s D launched a ridiculous 52 shots on goal over the weekend, including 27 by Hirschy and Krzyzaniak alone. Yes, they are still young, still make mistakes and have some growing to do. But their talent is undeniable. Add in the fact that Sam LaShomb and Tanja Eisenschmid have pretty good offensive skills, and you have a blue line that can generate a lot of offense.
2. Now we know why the coaching staff was so excited to land Susanna Tapani. The freshman Finn had a six-point weekend and displayed some outstanding vision. We all wondered where the offense would come from this season. Tapani is one addition that will immediately impact that area.
3. Coach Brian Idalski made it sound like there may be some changes on the third and fourth lines for next weekend. But I thought those units produced more scoring chances than in the past. Of course, that may be because they were playing against Lindenwood and got quite a bit of ice time. Even so, it was an encouraging sign. We’ll probably get a better idea if they can sustain that next weekend.
4. The addition of Peter Elander and his European connections appear to be paying dividends. After one weekend, UND’s top five scorers are Josefine Jakobsen (Denmark), Susanna Tapani (Finland), Andrea Dalen (Norway), Michelle Karvinen (Denmark/Finland) and Johanna Fallman (Sweden).
5. It was a small sample size, but it appeared that Shelby Amsley-Benzie has picked up where she left off last season. She was pretty sharp most of the weekend. Once again, we’ll probably learn more next weekend when the Duluth Bulldogs come to town.