Friday morning reading

Apologies for the lack of updates later this week — I was having some troubles logging into the blog and posting.

But thankfully it’s working again because it is game day in St. Cloud and there’s a big showdown set between No. 4 North Dakota and No. 7 St. Cloud State in the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.

For starters, it sure sounds like Paul LaDue and Bryn Chyzyk should be ready to go.

They only participated in half of Tuesday’s practice, but were full participants Wednesday. The team left Thursday for St. Cloud.

The two goaltenders on the trip are Matt Hrynkiw and Cam Johnson, which means that Johnson is ready to go. This is the first trip that Bob Anderson did not make with the team.

Matej Tomek, whose workload was increasing each week to start November and even dressed for a game against Wisconsin, saw his workload decrease late last week, meaning he’s probably still a couple of weeks out.

UND has the luxury of being cautious with all of its players’ recoveries with the team’s depth and the way the team has been winning. Berry said that LaDue and Chyzyk wanted to practice the whole session Tuesday, but Berry didn’t want to risk any injury.

The coaching staff also was cautious with Tucker Poolman’s recovery. Poolman practiced for two weeks before returning to the lineup against Miami last weekend.

A few things stood out to me about this series as I typed up previews this week:

A) This is the only regular-season meeting between the two. In the last decade-plus of the old WCHA, they met twice a year. SCSU coach Bob Motzko seemed rather disappointed about it.

B) UND has a better winning percentage and national ranking than the Huskies, but St. Cloud State ranks ahead of North Dakota in every major category — offense, defense, power play, penalty kill and team save percentage.

C) Motzko raved about defenseman Ethan Prow, and said the team was unable to replace him during his four-game absence. St. Cloud State has amazingly outscored opponents 32-5 with Prow in the lineup.

D) Whoever scores the first goal of the weekend for UND — assuming they score… it didn’t go so well for MSU-Mankato in its trip to St. Cloud this year — will be the first to score as a Fighting Hawk. In our Ice Time page, I had a little fun going back and finding out who scored the first and last goals in the Ben Brien-designed Sioux logo (Chad Mazurak, Mark MacMillan) and other landmark UND goals.

UND coach Brad Berry said in today’s preview that he hopes his players aren’t taking in the “Fighting Hawks” announcements during games or the hoopla surrounding it, because he wants them to be dialed into the game.

That shouldn’t be difficult considering the atmosphere that’s usually in the National Hockey Center. According to the St. Cloud Times, tickets are scarce for this weekend’s matchup between the two teams to win the Penrose Cup thus far.

For Thursday’s paper, I wrote about the two Grand Forks Red River players on St. Cloud State’s roster, Jon Lizotte and Jacob Benson. I mainly featured Lizotte, who spends his summers racing a B-Mod and has been a big surprise to start the season for the Huskies.

Meanwhile, Mick Hatten wrote about the St. Cloud player on UND’s roster, Austin Poganksi. The power forward has emerged as a key player this year for North Dakota. Poganski was excellent in the series in the NHC last season.

I also did my weekly Q&A with Poganski, but that’s not online quite yet.

My three keys to the weekend for UND:

  1. Faceoffs on special teams. Last season, St. Cloud State destroyed UND on faceoffs on the power play. It led to a couple of goals on the power play, and that decided the game. UND has done a great job in the neutral zone and preventing good zone entries on the PK this season, which means they need to get clears.
  2. Cracking Lindgren. Husky goalie Charlie Lindgren has allowed 1 goal at home this season in 4 games. He’s probably not going to give UND any gimmes, like other opposing goalies have this season. So, traffic in front is going to be key.
  3. Cash in on power-play chances. Traditionally, St. Cloud State is a team that gives opponents very few power-play chances during a game. When you get one, you have to take advantage. Look for Poolman’s big shot from the point to be a key.

On to my weekly picks….

North Dakota at St. Cloud State (men): If you saw the blog earlier in the week, you saw how this series usually plays out. St. Cloud State on Friday, UND on Saturday. Sounds fine to me. SCSU 3-1, UND 4-2.

Denver at Wisconsin: Unfortunately for Wisconsin, after a great weekend in Grand Forks, the Badgers had to wait two weeks to play again. If they come back with the same effort, it won’t be easy for the Pios. But Denver’s high-end players may be too much. DU 4-0, 3-1.

Minnesota Duluth at Colorado College: The Bulldogs, my preseason No. 1 team in the nation, have just 1 win in the last 8 games. They sit at 3-5-3 overall. This trip to play 0-10 CC comes at the right time. Bulldogs 6-2, 4-2.

Omaha at Miami: Omaha is coming off of an open week. Can it still hold on to its magic of winning when getting outshot nearly every game? And can Miami rebound from a tough weekend in Grand Forks? 3-3, 2-2. Two ties.

Michigan at Boston University: Goaltenders at both programs are struggling and offenses are not. It could be a fun one in Boston. BU 5-3, 4-4.

Minnesota Duluth at UND (women): UND hasn’t proved that it can put together an entire weekend yet. It has not put together back-to-back performances yet. Until North Dakota can do that, it’s hard to pick anything but a split. UND 3-0, Minnesota Duluth 2-1.

This will be an interesting series for the UND, which will see the Shannon Miller-less Bulldogs for the first time ever. UND went 2-32 in its first 34 matchups against Miller, but in the last 12, UND has only lost once. The tide of the rivalry has completely shifted.

First-year coach Maura Crowell will try to help right the ship and swing that back in favor of the Bulldogs, who have played one of the country’s most difficult schedules.

UND has gone with Shelby Amsley-Benzie in goal for four straight games, and you have to wonder if coach Brian Idalski will ride the hot hand through a very key stretch of games.

Minnesota Duluth is a team that UND hopes to finish ahead of in the standings once again, so these ones are important.

After this, it’s a trip to Syracuse. Last season, UND was upset by Syracuse once at home, potentially costing the team a trip to the NCAA tournament.

After ‘Cuse, it’s Bemidji State. UND needs to sweep to win the season series, because the first one ended with a tie and a Beaver win. Bemidji State scored late in the third to tie it, then won it with 7 seconds left in overtime.

If UND wants to make a run at the NCAA tournament, it starts with this six-game stretch.

That’s it for now. I’ll soon post a link to the College Hockey Today podcast featuring myself and Nate Ewell from College Hockey Inc.

The no-sweep series

North Dakota and St. Cloud State have played a two-game series in the National Hockey Center every year since 2001-02.

Amazingly, there hasn’t been a sweep in that series — by either team — since then. The Huskies won a pair of games during that season, but neither team has earned a sweep in NHC in the last 13 series there.

Even more crazy is that for a 10-year span from 2002-03 to 2012-13, North Dakota was 0-8-2 on Fridays and 10-0 on Saturdays.

Yes, there has been a familiar pattern in these series.

North Dakota and St. Cloud State will both try, once again, to grab that elusive NHC sweep when they meet this weekend in a top-10 series. St. Cloud State hasn’t done it in 14 years. UND hasn’t done it in 17.

North Dakota-SCSU in the NHC

2014-15: Split (UND win on Saturday)
2013-14: Split (UND win on Friday)
2012-13: Split (UND win on Friday)
2011-12: Split (UND win on Saturday)
2010-11: UND three points (UND win on Saturday)
2009-10: Split (UND win on Saturday)
2008-09: Split (UND win on Saturday)
2007-08: Split (UND win on Saturday)
2006-07: UND three points (UND win on Saturday)
2005-06: Split (UND win on Saturday)

2004-05: UND three points (UND win on Saturday)
2003-04: UND three points (UND win on Saturday)
2002-03: Split (UND win on Saturday)
2001-02: St. Cloud State sweep
2000-01: DID NOT PLAY
1999-00: St. Cloud State three points (SCSU win on Friday)
1998-99: UND sweep
1997-98: Split (UND win on Saturday)
1996-97: Split (UND win on Saturday)
1995-96: UND sweep

Saturday night rewind

Sure, there was some luck to Luke Johnson’s game-winning goal — he threw the puck from the corner to the crease, where it banked off of goalie Ryan McKay’s leg.

But it’s hard to say it’s entirely a fluke.

Going back to last season, Johnson has scored three goals from within a foot or two from the end line. He has five total goals in that span, so more than half have come from the end line.

Johnson scored from almost that exact same spot in the regional win over St. Cloud State. He scored from about a foot from the end line in the Frozen Four against Boston University. And now he did it again.

Yes, you want your goalie to make those saves. Yes, there’s some fluky elements to it. But when it happens as often as it has for Johnson, there’s something to it.

I asked Johnson if he practices from extremely angles. He said that you can catch a goalie wrong and hurt them from the severe angle, so he doesn’t try it often.

His teammates and coaches say that his shot is so quick and deceptive that it catches goalies off guard. It happened at an opportune time for UND on Saturday night.

Game story from the Herald

Here are a few other notes from the game:

  • A Blackhawks scout was on hand to watch Nick Schmaltz score the game-tying goal and Johnson score the winner. Both are Hawks draft picks.
  • Schmaltz finished off a six-point weekend and got on the board twice.
  • This is the second time in two years that UND has pulled its goalie and scored an extra-attacker goal in regulation and has gone on to win in OT. UND did it against Air Force in The Ralph last season.
  • UND has lost just 3 of its last 26 games in The Ralph.
  • Tucker Poolman, a big factor this weekend, registered a plus-4. He was on the ice for all four UND goals (obviously).
  • UND blocked more shots (15) than Miami got on net (14).
  • The 14 shots on goal for Miami matched the fewest that UND has allowed since March 16, 2008, when it allowed 11 against Michigan Tech (the game where former Tech coach Jamie Russell said statistician Erik Martinson must have been doing crack).
  • UND actually lost the special teams battle both nights, and faceoffs were a key both times. Miami started with the puck too often on the power play, and it got too many easy clears on the penalty kill.
  • UND got a chance on a five-on-three, but botched it with a clean faceoff loss to start it and an offsides on a zone entry.
  • North Dakota has 9 wins this season. This was the first that came by just one goal.
  • UND was forced to mix and match lines when Bryn Chyzyk left the game at the end of the second period. His injury isn’t believed to be longterm.
  • If Chyzyk can’t go Friday night, he would be the 9th different player to miss time due to an injury already this season. UND seemingly can’t catch a break in that department.

Five other items from around the nation:

1. MSU-Mankato pulled its goalie and scored two extra-attacker goals against Minnesota. Then, the Mavs won it in overtime. It was Mankato’s first nonconference win of the season.

2. The NCHC had its first 3-on-3 action with Minnesota Duluth and Denver. The Bulldogs won it on a goal by Tony Cameranesi.

3. The rematch of last year’s national championship game — Boston University and Providence — ended with two ties this weekend. So Providence stays unbeaten.

4. Quinnipiac is a perfect 10-0 after an impressive 4-1 win over Harvard on Friday and a 6-2 win over Dartmouth on Saturday. Quinnipiac is the lone unbeaten, untied team in the nation.

5. St. Cloud State hammered Western Michigan 11-1, converting four of eight power-play chances. Joey Benik scored four goals in the game. David Morley had a goal and five points.

Women’s final: UND 4, OSU 1

First period

UND 1, Ohio State 0 — Halli Krzyzaniak (Meghan Dufault) 6:04 (pp). UND gets off to another good start and gets on the board early when Krzyzaniak threads a point shot through traffic.

UND 2, Ohio State 0 — Amy Menke (Becca Kohler, Meghan Dufault) 18:12. Unlike a day earlier, UND is able to extend this lead. Kohler has the puck in the right circle and quickly fires a puck toward the crease. Menke is standing alone there, picks it up, fakes a shot five-hole to get the goalie down and makes a move around LaMere for the goal.

Second period

UND 3, Ohio State 0 — Vilma Tanskanen (Samantha Hanson, Anna Kilponen) 6:45. Hanson has the puck along the end wall and centers one. It hits the skate of a Buckeye defender but ends up on Tanskanen’s stick anyways and she puts it away for UND’s first freshman goal in more than a month.

Third period

UND 3, Ohio State 1 — Maddy Field (Cara Zubko) 6:11. Ohio State gets a scoring chance on a rush. A UND defender runs into Amsley-Benzie taking her out of the play and Field taps one in from the side of the net.

UND 4, Ohio State 1 — Amy Menke (Anna Kilponen, Halli Krzyzaniak) 12:01 (pp). Kilponen has the puck in the right circle and launches a wrist shot at the net. Menke is standing on top of the crease and tips it high into the corner of the net.

Gameday live: UND 4, Miami 3, OT

TONIGHT’S VIEWING: Midco Sports Network (GF Ch. 27, 622 HD), Audio on iHeartRadio 96.1 The Fox or LINEUP NOTES: . Full lines and live chat are below.

First period

UND 1, Miami 0 — Brock Boeser (Tucker Poolman, Nick Schmaltz) :51. Schmaltz wins a draw back to Poolman, who quickly flips a wrist shot toward the net before a Miami defender gets on him. Boeser tips it past McKay for his seventh goal of the season.

Second period

UND 1, Miami 1 — Louie Belpedio (Jack Roslovic, Josh Melnick) 15:12 (pp). With UND dominating in the shots department, Miami gets a power play and capitalizes. Belpedio scores on a blast from the point — Miami’s third PPG of the weekend — to tie it.

Miami 2, UND 1 — Sean Kuraly (Jack Roslovic, Anthony Louis) 17:03. Roslovic brings the puck up the left side on a rush. He makes a move, putting the puck in his skates, kicking it to himself and walking Thompson. Hrynkiw makes the save, but Kuraly scores on the rebound.

Third period

Miami 2, UND 2 — Rhett Gardner (Drake Caggiula, Austin Poganski) 5:06. There’s a loose puck in the middle of the ice and Caggiula and Sherwood battle for it. Caggiula is able to tip it through Sherwood and start a two-on-one. Richart goes down to block the pass, but Caggiula skates around him and rips a backhand pass to the top of the crease, where Gardner taps it in.

Miami 3, UND 2 — Josh Melnick (Louie Belpedio, Chris Joyaux) 14:21. Joyaux is able to keep a puck in the zone and Miami outnumbers UND down low. Belpedio gets the puck to Melnick, who got behind Ausmus and scored.

Miami 3, UND 3 — Nick Schmaltz 18:26 (ex). UND gets several shots on the net before Poolman is tied up trying to receive a pass in the slot. A Miami player tries to swipe it out of the slot area, but it goes to Nick Schmaltz who whips a backhand past McKay to tie it.


UND 4, Miami 3 — Luke Johnson 1:23. Johnson collects the puck in the corner with pressure. He starts falling over but whips a puck at the net that hits the leg of McKay and goes in.

UND’s lines

29 Bryn Chyzyk–27 Luke Johnson–14 Austin Poganski
9 Drake Caggiula–8 Nick Schmaltz–16 Brock Boeser
19 Shane Gersich–10 Johnny Simonson–18 Chris Wilkie
26 Coltyn Sanderson–22 Rhett Gardner–11 Trevor Olson

20 Gage Ausmus–2 Troy Stecher
24 Christian Wolanin–3 Tucker Poolman
4 Keaton Thompson–28 Hayden Shaw

30 Matt Hrynkiw
33 Cam Johnson
35 Ryan Anderson

Miami’s lines

12 Alex Gacek–9 Sean Kuraly–96 Jack Roslovic
95 Anthony Louis–37 Josh Melnick–58 Louie Belpedio
22 Kevin Morris–26 Justin Greenberg–33 Andrew Schmit
42 Conor Lemirande–24 Ryan Siroky–44 Kiefer Sherwood

55 Grant Hutton–8 Matthew Caito
27 Scott Dornbrock–5 Chris Joyaux
2 Taylor Richart–3 Colin Sullivan

35 Ryan McKay
1 Jay Williams

Women’s final: OSU 3, UND 2

First period

UND 1, Ohio State 0 — Jordan Hampton (Sam Hanson) 12:04. Hanson stole the puck from a Buckeye in the corner and sent a pass to Hampton, who had space at the point. Kaiser and Berndsen set up shop in the crease to screen the goalie and Hampton threaded her first goal in a North Dakota uniform.

Second period

UND 1, Ohio State 1 — Claudia Kepler (Alexa Ranahan, Kendall Curtis) 11:56. UND has a slow start to the second period and it eventually burns them as Ranahan flips a pass from the low right circle to the slot, where Kepler fires one by Amsley-Benzie’s blocker to tie it up.

Third period

UND 2, Ohio State 1 — Amy Menke (Becca Kohler, Jordan Hampton) 11:43. Kohler brings the puck in the zone, takes it wide and below the goal line before making a tremendous centering pass to Menke in the slot. Menke one-times it just inside the post to give UND the lead again.

UND 2, Ohio State 2 — Kendall Curtis (Claudia Kepler, Julia McKinnon) 13:08. UND’s lead lasts just 1:25 as the Buckeyes promptly answer. Kepler’s attempt from the top of the right circle is stopped, but Curtis backhands the rebound past Amsley-Benzie.

Ohio State 3, UND 2 — Maddy Field (Katie Matheny, Lauren Boyle) 14:03. The Buckeyes quickly take their first lead of the game when Field backhands a loose puck from a sharp angle that surprises Amsley-Benzie.

UND’s lines

21 Amy Menke–19 Meghan Dufault–51 Becca Kohler
15 Kayla Gardner–10 Charly Dahlquist–13 Layla Marvin
16 Vilma Tanskanen–11 Shannon Kaiser–8 Samantha Hanson
32 Breanna Berndsen–44 Rebekah Kolstad–14 Marissa Salo

6 Gracen Hirschy–18 Halli Krzyzaniak
22 Tanja Eisenschmid–7 Jordan Hampton
5 Anna Kilponen–4 Sam LaShomb

1 Shelby Amsley-Benzie
29 Lexie Shaw
34 Annie Chipman

Ohio State’s lines

18 Julianna Iafallo–26 Kendall Curtis–24 Claudia Kepler
7 Dana Rasmussen–23 Katie Matheny–22 Maddy Field
5 Brenanne Grant–27 Lauren Spring–16 Melani Moylan
10 Erin Langermeier–14 Maggie Rothgery

2 Cara Zubko–21 Alexa Ranahan
6 Lauren Boyle–8 Dani Sadek
17 Julia McKinnon

30 Alex Lamere
39 Stacy Danczak
35 Selena Hunter

Friday night rewind

UND’s first test against a ranked opponent and one with a winning percentage above .500 came on Friday night and UND passed it in a big way. UND dominated from the start, outshooting Miami 13-4 in the first and opening up a 3-0 lead. Game stories:

Herald gamer — UND scores in all different fashions in 6-2 win

Herald column — Final goal leaves REA crowd buzzing — Offensive blitz leads UND to home win


As you’ll read in the gamer, I thought it was pretty funny watching Matt Hrynkiw maneuver Scott Dornbrock’s lost stick into the back of his own net in the second period.

I’ve never seen a goalie do that: Find a discarded stick in the area of the crease, and find a way to neatly tuck it in the back of his net. Hrynkiw even turned his back to the play at one point as UND buzzed in the other zone.

It took two stoppages of play and about five minutes of clock time before a linesman finally fished it out.

The whole thing just seemed like yet another sign of how calm and at ease Hrynkiw is right now. From the time he became “the guy” in net until now, he has never seemed particularly nervous. He hasn’t played scared, and I don’t think anyone in the arena is really thinking about him being in net anymore.

Hrynkiw will be the starter in tonight’s series finale, and at this point, he has to be the No. 1 goaltender, even if the other guys get healthy.

Other notes and comments:

  • I thought the team followed Hrynkiw’s lead and wasn’t fazed at all by playing a ranked team for the first time this season. UND rolled from the start.
  • UND’s net-front was markedly better than a week earlier in the loss to Wisconsin. UND had guys in front for two of the six goals (Brock Boeser’s snipe and Rhett Gardner’s tip-in).
  • For the first time since Game No. 2 of the season, UND gave up a breakaway. It was UND-killer Sean Kuraly, but Hrynkiw played it perfectly and didn’t give Kuraly anything to shoot at.
  • After three years of going back-and-forth between Ryan McKay and Jay Williams, it seemed like the RedHawks finally settled on McKay. He had a tremendous start to the season and was the reigning NCHC goalie of the week. Then, all of the sudden, McKay is gone after 20 minutes and who knows where the RedHawks are in goal now.
  • Miami defenseman Chris Joyaux had a tough night, going minus-4. He had the turnover that led to Drake Caggiula’s goal.
  • Tucker Poolman made a difference right away for UND. He’s so strong and nearly scored a goal while fighting off a check.
  • UND went 36-29 in the faceoff department. Nick Schmaltz was 12-7.
  • The UND coaches have a very difficult decision for tonight’s series finale at defense. Do you continue to roll with Christian Wolanin, who has been playing very well? Or do you rotate in Hayden Shaw, who also has been strong? That’s, of course, depending on….
  • No word yet on Paul LaDue’s availability for tonight’s series finale. Coach Brad Berry said they’ll do what’s best for him.
  • The battle of the 2015 NHL first-round picks didn’t disappoint. Jack Roslovic had 1 goal, 1 assist for Miami and was the RedHawks’ best player. Boeser had 1 goal, 3 assists for North Dakota.
  • Schmaltz leads the NCHC in plus-minus at plus-14.
  • UND is now 19-3-3 in its last 25 home games.

Finally, here are five results from around the country of note:

  1. Minnesota beat MSU-Mankato in Mankato. The series shifts back to Mariucci tonight. The Mavs are 5-1 in the WCHA, 0-5 in nonconference, having been shut out in four of those five games.
  2. Boston University scored a late, extra-attacker goal to tie Providence 1-1. Providence is one of two unbeaten teams left in the country.
  3. Quinnipiac posted an impressive 4-1 win over a good Harvard team to go 9-0-0 on the season. Quinnipiac takes on Dartmouth tonight.
  4. My preseason No. 1 team, Minnesota Duluth, is off to a slow start. After Friday night’s 3-0 loss to Denver, the Bulldogs are dropped four games in a row and have just one win in the last seven.
  5. BC goalie Thatcher Demko, who posted 6 shutouts in 7 games entering the weekend, gave up 3 goals in the span of 1:32 to Michigan State, but his offense did enough to win the game 6-4.

And on the women’s side, Wisconsin continued its historic shutout streak by blanking Minnesota Duluth 3-0. The Badgers have now posted 9 consecutive shutouts and have a scoreless streak of 581:15.

Goalie Ann Renee-Desbiens, who was in net for 8 of those 9 shutouts, now has the NCAA record scoreless streak. Wisconsin plays Duluth at 3:07 today. If Wisconsin gets past that game, it has a two-game series against Lindenwood next weekend.

Gameday final: UND 6, Miami 2

TONIGHT’S VIEWING: Midco Sports Network, Audio at and The Fox 96.1 on iHeartRadio. LINEUP NOTES: Poolman is back in for UND. Full lines and live chat are below.

First period

UND 1, Miami 0 — Paul LaDue (Brock Boeser, Nick Schmaltz) 3:26 (pp). UND breaks Miami’s streak of 28 straight kills and its own streak of 16 straight misses on the power play. It takes just six seconds of power play time for Schmaltz to win a draw, Boeser to tip it back to LaDue, who blasts one off the post and in.

UND 2, Miami 0 — Brock Boeser (Nick Schmaltz, Christian Wolanin) 3:46. UND follows up the goal with another terrific shift. The puck eventually gets to Boeser in the left circle. Caggiula is on top of the crease taking away McKay’s eyes and Boeser snipes his sixth of the year.

UND 3, Miami 0 — Bryn Chyzyk (Nick Schmaltz, Brock Boeser) 16:30. UND starts a 3-on-1 rush with three skilled players. Boeser gets it to Schmaltz, who steams into the zone, fakes a shot and sends Chyzyk in alone on the goalie. The puck rolls off of Chyzyk’s stick has he tries to deke, but UND catches a break and it slips five-hole.

Second period

UND 4, Miami 0 — Drake Caggiula 6:11. Miami’s Joyaux tries a breakout pass. It is intercepted by Caggiula in the neutral zone, he beats Miami’s other defender wide and scores five-hole on Jay Williams, who replaced McKay after the first period.

UND 5, Miami 0 — Rhett Gardner (Troy Stecher, Joel Janatuinen) 19:43. UND tacks on another goal with 16.2 seconds left in the period as Gardner re-directs a Stecher point shot past Williams.

Third period

UND 5, Miami 1 — Jack Roslovic (Louie Belpedio, Sean Kuraly) 7:20 (pp). Belpedio moves the puck from the right point to the left circle, where Roslovic has time to give a full wind up before slapping his seventh goal of the season past Hrynkiw.

UND 5, Miami 2 — Josh Melnick (Louie Belpedio, Jack Roslovic) 12:06 (pp). Right after Melnick hits the post with a chance from in tight, he gets the puck back in the left circle and snipes one as he’s losing balance for a second straight RedHawks power-play goal.

UND 6, Miami 2 — Nick Schmaltz (Brock Boeser, Troy Stecher) 13:32. Only video can do this one justice, but it goes Schmaltz to Boeser to Caggiula to Stecher to Boeser to Schmaltz for a tap-in goal. Wait for the highlight tonight in video form.

Live Blog UND Men’s Hockey vs. Miami

UND’s lines

29 Bryn Chyzyk–27 Luke Johnson–14 Austin Poganski
9 Drake Caggiula–8 Nick Schmaltz–16 Brock Boeser
19 Shane Gersich–10 Johnny Simonson–18 Chris Wilkie
25 Joel Janatuinen–22 Rhett Gardner–11 Trevor Olson

20 Gage Ausmus–2 Troy Stecher
24 Christian Wolanin–6 Paul LaDue
4 Keaton Thompson–3 Tucker Poolman

30 Matt Hrynkiw
33 Cam Johnson
35 Ryan Anderson

Miami’s lines

12 Alex Gacek–9 Sean Kuraly–96 Jack Roslovic
95 Anthony Louis–37 Josh Melnick–33 Andrew Schmit
22 Kevin Morris–26 Justin Greenberg–28 Zach LaValle
42 Conor Lemirande–24 Ryan Siroky–44 Kiefer Sherwood

58 Louie Belpedio–5 Chris Joyaux
55 Grant Hutton–8 Matthew Caito
27 Scott Dornbrock–2 Taylor Richart

35 Ryan McKay
1 Jay Williams

Friday morning reading

North Dakota made it through the first month of the regular season relatively unscathed. There’s that lone loss — a 3-1 defeat against Wisconsin last Friday — on the resume, but that’s about it.

But according to KRACH, UND’s strength of schedule ranks No. 59 out of 60 in the country. Only Bentley of Atlantic Hockey has played a weaker schedule than UND thus far.

That’s why I wrote in my column this week that we’re about to find out a lot about this year’s UND team.

Here comes a stretch of games against very good college hockey teams. It’s doubtful that UND will be able to sleepwalk through games and get results anymore. It’s doubtful that UND is going to outshoot all of its opponents by double digits, like it usually has so far. The inexperienced goaltenders are going to get pushed far harder than they’ve been so far.

One area of the game that’s usually highlighted when games are tighter is special teams.

UND’s power play has been struggling, and now it has to go against arguably the best penalty killing team in the nation. Read what coach Brad Berry is saying about his special teams units here.

What should you expect to see this weekend? Here are five things to know about the RedHawks:

  1. They are young up front after losing Austin Czarnik, Riley Barber, Blake Coleman and Cody Murphy, but they brought in a very good recruiting class with several top USHL scorers. Jack Roslovic is a first-round pick of the Jets. Josh Melnick was a big scorer in the USHL. They currently rank 1-2 in scoring for Miami
  2. This week’s traditional UND-killer is senior forward Sean Kuraly. He always seems to have big games against UND. Kuraly is a very talented player who is off to a very slow start this year. He has no goals in 10 games. I suspect that ends this weekend.
  3. Miami has two senior goalies in Ryan McKay and Jay Williams. They’ve gone back-and-forth with those two for their entire careers. Both have been great and shaky at times. Nobody has ever taken command of that position until this year. McKay finally appears to be “the guy.” He’s 5-2-1 with a .937 and a 1.70. Looks like the RedHawk coaching staff is willing to ride him.
  4. Miami’s defensive corps, a major weakness when the RedHawks finished last two years ago, has grown up and become significantly better. Miami will likely play four upperclassmen on the back end tonight, two underclassmen. One of the two underclassmen might be the best of the bunch, too, in sophomore Louie Belpedio.
  5. Despite having prolific junior scorers, the RedHawks have had trouble at times generating offense this season. They have not scored more than three goals in any game.

Considering all of the above, here are my three keys for UND this weekend:

1. Handle the physicality. I thought that Vermont came out and tried to play a tough, physical game and UND handled it just fine. That was not the case during the loss to Wisconsin. You can bet that Miami has seen that video and plans to try to do the same. UND has to match Miami’s physicality.

2. Win the special teams battle. This is a huge key and it won’t be easy. Coach Brad Berry doesn’t want to give Miami more than 2-3 chances with the extra man, and he certainly needs his team to cash in on power-play chances.

3. Continue to get goaltending. Matt Hrynkiw has given his team a chance to win in every game he’s played thus far. He’s probably going to start facing some more heat, and it’s he has to keep up his current level.

Also of note, I did a short Q&A with Trevor Olson, who provided a huge spark Saturday night with his physicality. Read what his favorite song is in The Ralph each weekend.

Another behind-the-scenes story that I wrote this week is about senior forward Colten St. Clair. He is injured. He is not coming back anytime soon (timeline still very up-in-the-air, but I can’t imagine it will be before February). But even so, St. Clair is trying to stay close attached to the team. He will have more responsibilities beginning this week.

St. Clair won’t be doing any coaching type stuff this season, but being involved with analytics and sitting in with coaches sometimes will help him get a taste of the coaching business. He says he wants to stay in hockey even after his professional playing days are over.

In case you missed it yesterday, you can listen to a podcast with myself and College Hockey Inc.’s Nate Ewell here. We chat weekly about hot topics in college hockey.

On to the picks….

Miami at North Dakota: It’s the NCHC regular season champ against the NCHC playoff champ this weekend. I see two close games with each team getting one of them. Miami 3-2, UND 3-2.

Denver at Minnesota Duluth: Denver is 5-3. Duluth is 3-4-2. Both teams are way better than their records (Denver has lost two OT games and one with :20 left), so I think both will be playing with some desperation. That usually makes for great hockey. Duluth 5-3, Denver 3-1.

St. Cloud State at Western Michigan: Neither of these teams have given up a whole lot offensively this season, so don’t be surprised if you see a couple of low-scoring games. SCSU 4-1, 1-1.

Minnesota vs. MSU-Mankato: Speaking of desperate teams, the Mavs are 0-4 in nonconference play and have to curb that. The Gophers have a losing record and want to flip that. I’m going to say each team wins on the road. Minnesota 3-1, MSU-Mankato 4-3.

Providence vs. Boston University: Can Providence (6-0-1) stay unbeaten after this weekend? I don’t think so. BU ends it tonight. BU 3-0, Providence 3-2.


The UND women take on Ohio State in a Saturday-Sunday series. You’ll see more in Saturday’s paper about that.

The two quick keys to take out of that one: Layla Marvin is off to a terrific start to her senior season, which is critical for UND because it needs to find secondary scoring. The other is that Ohio State superstar recruit Jincy Dunne has not played yet this season due to a concussion (see earlier blog post).

Bemidji State held down Ohio State’s offense last weekend (who doesn’t Bemidji do that to?), and UND will have to try to manage the same. It will be a new look to the Buckeyes, who were led by the Schmitt twins for the last three years.

I’ll leave you with some Through These Doors action….