Hopefully everyone over-ate yesterday and had a terrific Thanksgiving and Black Friday (Yes, there are UND hockey Black Friday sales: Cheap tickets for the SLU series).
I’m not sure what all the team members did, but usual practice is for them to go to dinner at the place of some of the locals. UND has plenty of locals on the squad this year, too.
UND coach Dave Hakstol said he wasn’t going to be cooking, and that was probably a good thing.
He did spend the week preparing for a St. Lawrence team that has been scoring a lot of goals, but also giving up a lot. Here’s my preview and scouting report on the Saints.
The most notable stat lines from that story:
1. Be prepared for the Saints to generate a lot of offense. They’ve only been held under 3 goals one time in 14 games this season (two vs. Cornell). On the other side, every opponent has scored at least two goals on UND this season.
2. The Saints have the second-worst team save percentage in the country. UND needs to test St. Lawrence’s goalies as much as possible.
The guy everyone will be watching this weekend is Greg Carey, who wears No. 10 for the Saints. Read a story about him here, and what UND is saying about trying to slow him down.
Last weekend, some BU staffers asked us who UND played the following week. We said, “St. Lawrence.” Without skipping a beat, the BU staffers immediately started talking about what a player that Carey is, saying that he’s legit.
Greg is a senior and he is expected to play on a line with his brother, Matt, a freshman.
UND has last change and it will be interesting to see if Hakstol and Co., want to match lines. Typically, Hakstol has paid more attention to which D-pairing is on the ice vs. prolific players than forward lines.
In Miami, UND didn’t have last change, but the coaches didn’t seem particularly concerned when the Riley Barber–Austin Czarnik line was out vs. UND’s fourth line (that also was before UND’s rash of injuries).
But if Keaton Thompson is back in at D, don’t expect to see him on the ice vs. the Carey line.
Speaking of Thompson, that seems to be the big decision for the coaching staff today. The lines appear to be somewhat set with one exception.
Option A: Keep Gage Ausmus at left wing on the fourth line and Thompson on the third pair D with Troy Stecher.
Option B: Put Ausmus and Stecher together on the third pair and move Mitch MacMillan in the lineup on the fourth line.
We’ll see which combo the coaching staff picks. Hakstol said earlier in the week that Andrew Panzarella will continue to play right wing.
This week’s Ice Time, Get to Know segment is with senior captain Dillon Simpson. Check it out here.
Only four NCHC teams are in action this weekend. Here are my quick thoughts on each NCHC team.
Western Michigan at Shillelagh Tournament: The Broncos open with Northeastern, then will play either Huntsville or Notre Dame. I say they go 1-1. If they beat Northeastern, they lose to Notre Dame. If they lose to Northeastern, they beat Huntsville. WMU wins one, loses one.
New Hampshire at Colorado College: The Wildcats are solid and I was about to pick a UNH sweep here. But can you really picture the Tigers at 1-10-2? I can’t. I think 1-8-2 CC finally gets one at home this weekend. Split.
Miami at Bemidji State: This is the PasswordisTaco Upset Watch of the Week. I think the Beavs are PasswordisTaco’s soft spot. I believe they are the only pick he’s gotten wrong this season (he’s 0-2 on BSU upset picks). So, I’m saying he finishes off his hat trick this weekend of wrong BSU picks. Miami has too much offense for BSU. Miami sweep.
St. Lawrence at UND: I think UND’s physicality and battle levels were outstanding Saturday in Boston. The players say they can carry that over. I’m buying that this week. I think they do. I still don’t think they are ready for a sweep yet. Not over a team that puts up offense like the Saints. UND win and tie.
That’s all for now. There will be a live chat tonight. Women’s game vs. Russian National Team at 2 p.m., too. Enjoy the weekend.