UND is playing two totally unfamiliar opponents this weekend in the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. Here’s what I know.
UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
This team is comparable to Manitoba, which means UND should win but it probably won’t be a blowout or a pushover. Manitoba is a couple points above UBC in the CIS standings right now.
UBC played two college teams earlier this year, losing 2-1 to Anchorage and 8-1 the next day to Fairbanks.
Last season, UBC played Denver to a 2-2 tie and lost to Colorado College 3-1.
UBC’s roster is almost entirely made up of former WHL players who have aged out. So, it is an older team. Their youngest player is 20 (they have three 20-year-olds on their 25-man roster).
I did find one connection to UND. UBC center Nate Fleming was teammates with Dillon Simpson on Spruce Grove in the AJHL. Fleming was the team’s second-leading scorer; Simpson was one of the team’s top defensemen.
SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY
UBC swept Simon Fraser to start the season, so the Thunderbirds are the stronger team here.
Simon Fraser does not play in the CIS like UBC. Instead, it is more of a club type of team, though they do recruit.
Simon Fraser has played two games against Division I teams this season. It lost 7-3 to Holy Cross and 3-0 against Sacred Heart. If UND plays well, this one could get ugly.
The Clan’s leading scorer is Nick Sandor, who is a transfer from American International. They also have transfers from Sacred Heart and UBC. Most of their players come from the BCHL and the SJHL. They also have a couple WHL alums.
I didn’t notice this until now, so I didn’t have a chance to ask Corban Knight about it at practice today, but Simon Fraser has a player named Scott Brkich, who is from High River, Alta., like Knight. They were born just nine days apart. So you would think that Knight has to know him.
One connection that I found here is that SFU’s Mike Sandor played with UND’s Wade Murphy with Victoria in the BCHL for parts of two years. SFU’s Jared Eng also was on that team with Sandor and Murphy for one year (Murphy was only 15 and played just a handful of games).
So, there’s a little background on UND’s opponents this weekend.