On Wednesday night, I wrote a story about someone who opted to leave UND’s program in search of extended playing time.
On Friday night, I interviewed a kid who was nearly in tears just because he was allowed to re-join that same program.
Very different set of circumstances, but it was hard not to think of the events of earlier this week as Bryn Chyzyk nearly choked up while telling the assembled media: “When you have something as cool as the Sioux family taken away from you, you realize how special it really is.”
Chyzyk continued on.
“I can’t say enough about the coaching staff and my teammates. Their support meant the absolute world to me and my family. I love these guys to death.”
Here’s my full game story, much of it on Chyzyk and his one goal, one assist performance that was big for UND.
Eleven players ended up with points for UND. It was the type of balanced scoring that the team hasn’t seen in some time. In fact, the last time UND had this type of balance was probably also the last time UND was this healthy.
“It’s not a coincidence,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “I think through the months of October and November and through some real tough times there, I think our team did a reasonable job surviving. That was the mode we were in to a certain degree.
“We weren’t able to have full weeks of practice, because we didn’t have enough bodies. We had some good fortune and some good play at the end of the first half and that put us back in position to control our own destiny. Now, we’re a bit healthier.”
As it turns out, it’s looking like a genius decision to play the games in Vancouver last weekend. UND was significantly sharper against the Tigers than it was in British Columbia. Would UND have been flat on Friday if it didn’t play last weekend? Miller tried to get answers to that on Friday night.
Other game stories:
- UND’s six-game winning streak is tied with Boston College for the longest in the country. It is UND’s first six-game win streak since the end of the 2011-12 season, when UND won eight straight, including the Final Five.
- Hakstol wasn’t sure if Chyzyk will play in the series finale. Chyzyk said he did skate at home during Christmas break, but his conditioning level isn’t quite where it needs to be. Hakstol did say he was very happy with Chyzyk’s short shifts on Friday.
- Zane Gothberg seemed to be fighting the puck a little bit. He wasn’t quite as sharp as the previous five games. That being said, he did what was needed to win, and he now has won six consecutive starts.
- Rocco Grimaldi’s point streak is at six games. Jordan Schmaltz is at five games.
- Final faceoffs were 29-26 CC. Two of those faceoff wins directly led to goals. Other key faceoff wins helped the Tigers kill a couple of UND’s power plays early in the game.
- The Tigers blocked 30 shots, which is a very high number. Prior to Friday, the highest number of blocked shots by a UND opponent this season was 23 (Duluth). Average is 13.9.
- UND took only two minor penalties. That’s tied for the best this season (UND also took just two in a 3-1 loss to St. Cloud State).
- As we heard coming into the weekend, this Colorado College squad isn’t terrible, but continually finds ways to lose games. Then, after the Tigers played a great third period and got within a goal, a freshman forward takes a checking from behind major with 4:58 left. That’s exactly what people are talking about.
- Michael Parks snapped a nine-game goal drought with a pair of goals. Both of them came around the net and were scored without lifting the puck, just as he’s done his whole career. The longest goal droughts on the team now belong to Wade Murphy (16 games) and Mitch MacMillan (11 games).
- Jaccob Slavin and Gustav Olofsson showed their skills for the Tigers and why they are so highly touted. Colorado College nearly had as many shots on goal from its six defensemen (10) as it did from its forwards (13).
- UND’s defensive corps did a remarkable job tying up sticks in the critical scoring area. Check out the shot charts and how the Tigers only got one shot attempt — not shot on goal, but shot attempt — from inside the circles in the last two periods of the game.