It has been 27 days since UND has suited up for a regular-season hockey game. That’s way too long. But finally, we’re back tonight as UND hosts Colorado College in an NCHC game.
For today’s paper, I wrote about how this may not be your usual UND-CC series, which has recently involved a lot of scoring. Both teams are finding it difficult to put up offense with the graduation of key players.
In fact, when I look at this Colorado College team, I see a squad that’s completely different from recent times. In the past few years, the Tigers have done an outstanding job recruiting high-end forwards, but they haven’t done a great job recruiting top defensemen.
However, this may be the most talented Tiger defensive corps that I remember. It starts with a couple of highly touted freshman in Jaccob Slavin and Gustav Olofsson, both of whom played in the World Juniors. Scouts have given both of them great reviews for their play early in the season.
Eamon McDermott has been solid for a while for the Tigers and the others have started to find their role.
But then you look up front, and outside of Alexander Krushelnyski, there aren’t a lot of threats. So, I’m very curious to see how this weekend plays out. I think both teams need their defensemen to help generate offense.
On UND’s side, I did a breakdown of all of Michael Parks’ career goals. What it says is that he’s not a pure goal-scorer and needs to get in and around the net to score. I think that’s the case with a lot of players on UND’s team.
Last weekend in British Columbia, there were a lot of rebounds sitting around that UND didn’t get to. We’ll see if that changes this weekend.
The Tigers are heading here with a bad record, but they actually still have a shot at home ice in NCHC play. So, they are focused on turning it around this weekend.
The Colorado Springs Gazette also has three items to watch this weekend.
There have only been three shootouts in NCHC, and Colorado College has been involved in all three (winning one). Could UND be involved in its first one of the season this weekend? Maybe.
There will be a Q&A with Luke Johnson on the Herald site sometime this morning.
On to this weekend’s picks…
Miami at Western Michigan: The Broncos will play for the first time since winning the GLI. Miami, meanwhile, is 3-5-1 in its last nine games. The RedHawks, big favorites to win the NCHC this season, will try to get moving in the right direction. Split.
Duluth at Omaha: Standout defenseman Jaycob Megna is still suspended for Friday night’s game. That will make it tough on the Mavs, who are trying to snap a four-game winless streak. Split.
St. Cloud State at Denver: After a bad start to the year, the Pioneers have just one loss in the last 11 games. The Pios have played some tough teams in that stretch, too, but perhaps none as tough as the Huskies. St. Cloud State win in regulation, Denver shootout win.
Colorado College at UND: Someone who has watched CC more than me called them, “the best bad team I’ve ever seen.” The Tigers have found ways to lose close games. I think things finally even out for them a little in the second half. Split.
That’s all for now. Hopefully, we’ll have a pregame video up later this afternoon. Catch you then.