Saturday night high five

Five items from around the country:

1. Omaha rebounded to gain a split against Miami with a 5-2 win. Austin Ortega scored twice for the Mavs. Omaha got outshot 15-2 in the first period but actually came out of the frame with a 1-0 lead. The Austin Czarnik count is up to 17 assists with no goals. Word is that he passed up an ENG on Friday to give it to a teammate.

2. Wisconsin’s implosion continued by getting swept by Penn State at home. The Badgers are now 1-10-1. They got beat 4-2 and outshot 33-25. Andy Johnson of Bucky’s Fifth Quarter reported that prospect Brock Boeser was scheduled to visit Saturday.

3. Denver rebounded to gain a split against Cornell in Lynah Rink with a 3-1 win. That means the NCHC went 3-1 in nonconference play this weekend, raising its nonconference record to 36-17-2 (.673).

4. Colorado College dropped to 1-10 in the last 11 games with a 7-2 loss against Minnesota Duluth. The Tigers’ only win during that span was against Wisconsin. The Bulldogs are 8-1 in their last nine games now.

5. Jack Eichel is back on track and so is BU. Eichel had four assists as the Terriers beat Merrimack 4-1. Eichel leads the nation with 25 points.

Gameday final: UND 3, LSSU 1

TONIGHT’S VIEWING: Midco Sports Network, NCHC.tv. Lineup notes: Caggiula is back in the lineup. St. Clair is out. Simonson replaces him. Sanderson stays in. Schmaltz switches to the middle on the second line. Full lines and live chat are below.

First period

No scoring.

Second period

UND 1, Lake Superior State 0 — Brendan O’Donnell (Jordan Schmaltz, Drake Caggiula) 1:40 (pp). UND works the puck around the top on the power play, getting it to JSchmaltz, who snaps a shot that deflects off of O’Donnell and trickles past Defiel.

Third period

UND 2, Lake Superior State 0 — Luke Johnson (Keaton Thompson, Nick Schmaltz) 8:16. UND fires a few point shots at Defiel and he stops them. The puck goes out to the point, where Thompson leaves it for Johnson in the left circle. Johnson winds up and launches a wrister five-hole on Defiel.

UND 2, Lake Superior State 1 — Stephen Perfetto (Ryan Renz, Andrew Dommett) 14:50. Perfetto picks up the puck in his own end with speed and goes coast-to-coast, sneaking a shot five-hole on McIntyre from a bad angle.

UND 3, Lake Superior State 1 — Jordan Schmaltz (Nick Schmaltz, Tucker Poolman) 16:59 (pp). Right after Nick missed a wide open net on a brilliant setup by Jordan, the puck goes back up top and Jordan blasts a shot from the point past Defiel.

Live Blog Lake Superior State at No. 1 UND

UND’s lines

9 Drake Caggiula–16 Mark MacMillan–15 Michael Parks
21 Brendan O’Donnell–8 Nick Schmaltz–27 Luke Johnson
28 Stephane Pattyn–10 Johnny Simonson–11 Trevor Olson
26 Coltyn Sanderson–13 Connor Gaarder–14 Austin Poganski

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

31 Zane McIntyre
33 Cam Johnson
30 Matt Hrynkiw

Lake Superior State’s lines

10 Matt Johnson–20 Chris Ciotti–21 Bryce Schmitt
29 Andrew Dommett–14 Stephen Perfetto–13 Gus Correale
27 Jayson Angus–9 Austin McKay–11 Scott Patterson
18 Alex Globke–28 Mitchell Nardi–19 Daniel Vernace

22 Aidan Wright–25 Eric Drapluk
2 Ryan Renz–12 Kyle Chatham
3 Pete Spratte–6 James Roll

31 Gordon Defiel
30 Kevin Aldridge

UND shows poise with rally

Midway through Friday night’s game, UND trailed 4-1 at home, lost two forwards due to injury including the team’s leading scorer, and moved a blue liner up front to compensate.

Fortunately for UND, it has a veteran team that has proven it can have success in difficult situations.

UND rallied to score six consecutive goals and beat Lake Superior State 7-4 in the series opener Friday night. Game stories:

Grand Forks Herald – UND stages furious rally to beat Lake Superior State

Grand Forks Herald – Miller: McIntyre’s stability aids UND comeback

USCHO – Poolman’s goals key UND rally against Lakers

UNDsports.com – Five-goal second period fuels comeback win

Other notes and thoughts:

  • The first talking point will be Cam Johnson. His first start did not go well. It’s tough to know where he will go from here, though. If you remember, Brad Eidsness gave up five in his first start and ended up being fine. Aaron Dell and Zane McIntyre both had their share of struggles as rookies, too. So, it’s far too early to peg Johnson’s future, but McIntyre’s WAR is rather high right now (you’re welcome, baseball sabre-heads).
  • Although UND fell behind early, I thought the team was dominant from the drop of the puck. UND did not play down to LSSU’s pace. It caused massive problems for the Lakers’ young D-corps all night. Despite the early dominance, UND couldn’t finish chances and LSSU scored on nearly all of its opportunities.
  • The crowd played a role in UND’s comeback. Although UND got down, they never booed or anything, knowing that the team was out-working the Lakers. During the second period, UND had back-to-back outstanding shifts and the crowd gave the team a standing ovation. The players seemed to feed off of that energy and soon the avalanche of goals arrived.
  • McIntyre ended up being the unsung guy, making two huge saves on Gus Correale. He stopped him on an odd-man rush in the second period and on a breakaway in the third after Correale got past Paul LaDue. The breakaway save preserved a one-goal lead.
  • No word yet on the health of Drake Caggiula or Colten St. Clair. UND did have two healthy scratches at forward last night in Wade Murphy and Johnny Simonson. If needed, Tucker Poolman probably could go back up front, which he did Friday night after the injuries.
  • Every forward, with the exception of the two that left in the first period with injuries, ended up with points for UND. The scoring was very balanced.
  • Coltyn Sanderson played his first game since the opener against Bemidji State and registered an assist. Wade Murphy is the only skater left without a point this season.
  • Austin Poganski continues to make strides. He’s going to be a very good player in the second half of the season.
  • All four of Lake Superior State’s goals were that player’s first goal of the season.
  • Ralph Engelstad Arena showed its new ice crew that shovels the ice during the periods to help get rid of excess snow. No, it was not Lake Superior State’s JV team (they were in blue and yellow) cleaning the ice.
  • Lastly, UND public address announcer Darrin Looker did a nice tribute to longtime Purpur Arena PA announcer Mike Swendseid, who died last week, but opening with “Hey hey hello hello,” as Swendseid always did.

Gameday final: UND 7, LSSU 4

TONIGHT’S VIEWING: Midco Sports Network, NCHC.tv. Lineup notes: Cam Johnson gets his first-career start tonight against the Lakers (here’s our Q&A if you want to learn more about him). Coltyn Sanderson also is in for Johnny Simonson up front. Poolman is back in at D. Mattson is the odd-man out.

First period

Lake Superior State 1, UND 0 — Kyle Chatham 9:35. Chatham gets a puck at the point and launches a shot through traffic. It appears to glance off a UND D and into the net to give the Lakers an early lead.

Lake Superior State 2, UND 0 — Gus Correale (James Roll, Stephen Perfetto) 15:15. Roll takes a point shot that deflects to the side of the net. Correale picks it up, skates behind the net and wraps it. Johnson is slow getting from post to post.

Second period

Lake Superior State 3, UND 0 — Eric Drapluk (Chris Ciotti, Aidan Wright) :54. Cam Johnson’s first start ends after kicking out a couple of huge rebounds, the final one to Drapluk, who easily makes it 3-0.

Lake Superior State 3, UND 1 — Trevor Olson (Coltyn Sanderson, Austin Poganski) 4:57. Sanderson picks the puck off the wall and curls to the top of the right circle. He launches a shot that Olson tips over the goaltender.

Lake Superior State 4, UND 1 — Mitchell Nardi (Alex Globke, Scott Patterson) 8:22. The Lakers get a shot to the net off the draw, have two chances at rebounds and eventually Nardi puts it in.

Lake Superior State 4, UND 2 — Tucker Poolman (Nick Schmaltz, Jordan Schmaltz) 12:35 (pp). Schmaltz has the puck in the left circle and spots Poolman in the right circle. He hits him with a perfect pass and Poolman rips a shot off the back bar.

Lake Superior State 4, UND 3 — Mark MacMillan (Michael Parks, Stephane Pattyn) 14:01. Parks throws a puck to the top of the crease, where MacMillan is camped out. He finds the rebound, moves it to his forehand and scores.

Lake Superior State 4, UND 4 — Tucker Poolman (Michael Parks, Mark MacMillan) 18:46 (pp). Nick Schmaltz dishes the puck MacMillan at the side of the net. He feeds Parks in the slot. Defiel stops Parks’ blast, but Poolman buries the rebound for his second of the game.

UND 5, Lake Superior State 4 — Connor Gaarder (Brendan O’Donnell, Luke Johnson) 19:21. On the next shift, O’Donnell tees one up for Gaarder in the high slot. He blasts one by Defiel to give UND its first lead of the night.

Third period

UND 6, Lake Superior State 4 — Michael Parks (Jordan Schmaltz, Nick Schmaltz) 17:09 (pp). Jordan Schmaltz blasts one from the point that hits the crossbar. The rebound goes to the slot area, where Parks buries it. UND goes 3-for-4 on the power play.

UND 7, Lake Superior State 4 — Brendan O’Donnell (Paul LaDue, Jordan Schmaltz) 19:12. O’Donnell skates the puck up the left wing on a two-on-one rush, takes the shot himself and buries it.

Live Blog Men’s Hockey vs. Lake Superior State

UND’s lines

9 Drake Caggiula–16 Mark MacMillan–15 Michael Parks
21 Brendan O’Donnell–27 Luke Johnson–8 Nick Schmaltz
11 Trevor Olson–28 Stephane Pattyn–17 Colten St. Clair
26 Coltyn Sanderson–13 Connor Gaarder–14 Austin Poganski

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

33 Cam Johnson
31 Zane McIntyre
30 Matt Hrynkiw

Lake Superior State’s lines

10 Matt Johnson–20 Chris Ciotti–21 Bryce Schmitt
26 Garret Clemment–14 Stephen Perfetto–13 Gus Correale
29 Andrew Dommett–9 Austin McKay–18 Alex Globke
27 Jayson Angus–28 Mitchell Nardi–11 Scott Patterson

22 Aidan Wright–25 Eric Drapluk
2 Ryan Renz–12 Kyle Chatham
3 Pete Spratte–6 James Roll

31 Gordon Defiel
30 Kevin Aldridge

Friday morning reading

UND ends the second-longest opponent drought tonight as it meets up with Lake Superior State for the first time since 1973.

For me, it will be my first time seeing the Lakers play in person. They have never been at any showcases, tournaments or regionals with UND since I started at the Herald.

Longest opponent droughts

48 years — Army
41 years — Lake Superior State
31 years — Colgate
25 years — Alabama Huntsville
23 years — UMass-Lowell
22 years — Bowling Green

A little background on the Lakers: Their leading scorer is from Minot and is a kid who almost did not play college hockey. They have an extremely young team. Last Saturday, they played five freshman D-men and a freshman goalie. The Lakers started the season 0-9 but are 3-4 since then, playing a bit better, according to Schmitt.

This is a series that’s not going to give UND a huge Pairwise bump, but it does have potentially to be a Pairwise killer later in the year if UND loses. Speaking of the Pairwise, Jim Dahl has a great post that shows the fluctuation of the Pairwise based on dates. Check that out here.

Lake State took a sleeper bus to Grand Forks overnight Wednesday night. It’s a long, 12-hour drive, but that’s nothing unusual for the Lakers. They’ve already gone on trips to Pennsylvania, Alabama and Alaska this season.

For this morning’s paper, I wrote a little bit about the pitfalls of recent No. 1-ranked teams. They are 1-6 in the past three weeks. Read that story here.

If you haven’t seen the video, I had fun asking coach Dave Hakstol about the polls this week, and I think he knew it. See it here.

I do believe there’s a chance we will see Cam Johnson start a game in net this weekend. Since we don’t really know much about him, I decided to make him the subject of this week’s “Get to Know” segment, just in case he does play. Find out which teammate is “the most interesting guy” that Johnson has ever played with.

In case you missed the Wednesday update, Brendan O’Donnell is expected to play tonight. Bryn Chyzyk skated this week, but Hakstol did not think he would play tonight as of Wednesday. Tucker Poolman practiced at defense this week.

On to the picks…

Denver at Cornell: Another very interesting nonconference matchup at Lynah Rink for the NCHC. Omaha grabbed a win and a tie there and I see Denver doing the exact same. Denver 3-0, 1-1.

Omaha at Miami: Both of these teams recently showed up at The Ralph, and both had their moments. Miami had last week off, while Omaha played a tough series against UND. Omaha is back on the road and I think that works to Miami’s advantage. RedHawks 3-2, 3-3.

Colorado College at Duluth: Full disclosure here – I was one of the three who voted Duluth No. 1 in the polls this week. The Dogs have been very impressive lately. They lose Sammy Spurrell to an injury, but gain Adam Krause back. It’s tough to see the Tigers going to AmsOil and taking a game. Duluth 4-1, 3-0.

Lake Superior State at UND: Like many nonconference opponents, this is one that UND can either let settle into the game and the Ralph or make them uncomfortable right away. Early UND leads could be problems for Lake Superior State. And right now, I’m not sure if the Lakers are veteran enough to go on the road to a place like this and win. UND 4-2, 4-1.

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ESPN’s John Buccigross is expected to be in the house this afternoon as UND takes on Wisconsin in women’s hockey to open a Friday-Sunday series.

The Badgers enter the day on an incredible scoreless streak of 330:56. If anyone is going to finally break through on the Badgers, look for it to be the top line of Becca Kohler, Meghan Dufault and Amy Menke. Since they came together three games ago, they’ve been very good.

Kohler already has career highs in goals and points. She is heavily featured in this week’s preview story. Read that here.

The first time these teams played, UND was up by a goal in the final minute and turned a puck over in the neutral zone while going for an empty-netter. Seconds later, it ended up in the back of UND’s net and Wisconsin grabbed a tie.

This time, the teams will be different as the Badgers were missing two and UND one at the Four Nations Cup.

After going 2-36-1 against Wisconsin in the program’s first 39 games, UND is now 4-4-2 in the last 10 against the Badgers, including wins in each of the last two WCHA semifinal games.

UND also won a game in its last trip to LaBahn a year ago.

Since the team has Saturday off, they are planning on doing homework (finals are coming up and this team has one of the best groups of students I’ve ever covered) and going to a movie.

That’s it for now, here’s some Through These Doors action for you.

Schmitt returns to home state

One of the big storylines for this weekend’s UND-Lake Superior State series is that the Lakers’ leading scorer is Bryce Schmitt, the former Minot High Star.

One thing I didn’t know until this week: Schmitt was only about a month away from attending college at Minot State and not playing hockey. Good thing the Lakers made a late call. Read Schmitt’s story here.

Apparently, there was some discussion that his brother, Brandon, could work as a linesman this series as his father, Mike, works as a supervisor of officials, But the Schmitts said no. They didn’t want any potential controversies. They will instead enjoy the games from the stands for once. That sounds like more fun, anyway.

For those who remembered watching Schmitt at the state tournament, he was an impressive player for Minot. His father was one of the WCHA’s most popular refs until he retired. Now, he’s in the press box at REA nearly every game doing a detailed breakdown of the officials. Brandon is in his third year at the NCAA D-I level.

Schmitt said playing in the state tournament will be nothing like playing this weekend.

“You don’t get the crowd like you do for the Sioux games,” he said. “It’s hard not to get up for a game with a crowd like that.”

Caggiula is NCHC player of month

UND forward Drake Caggiula is the NCHC player of the month for November.

Caggiula is the nation’s second-leading scorer with 20 points this season, one behind Boston University rookie star Jack Eichel. Caggiula had 13 points in 8 games in November.

UND went 6-2-1 during the month, in large part, thanks to Caggiula’s 6 goals and 7 assists. He also had a plus-9 rating, second in the NCHC behind teammate Michael Parks.

UND netminder Zane McIntyre earned goalie of the week honors in the NCHC and women’s player Becca Kohler was named the offensive player of the week in the WCHA.

Hakstol reacts to No. 1 ranking

UND is the No. 1 team in both national polls. This means that I got to antagonize coach Dave Hakstol about it at the weekly press conference (for those who don’t know, Hakstol is known to disregard polls).

I asked him about the reaction of the coaching staff when they found out UND was atop the polls. He said: “Streamers and balloons.”

I also asked him whether the team had a big watch party where they stared at the computer until the rankings were updated. Apparently, they did not.

Hakstol did say he thinks polls are a good thing for generating conversation among fans, but he said it doesn’t change their preparation and that the team hasn’t talked about it at all this week.

On the injury front, both Brendan O’Donnell and Bryn Chyzyk are skating again. Hakstol sounded optimistic that O’Donnell would play this weekend, but said that as of now, Chyzyk is probably still out.

With the addition of O’Donnell and Chyzyk to practice up front, Tucker Poolman is back on defense, as expected.

Lake Superior State is scheduled to leave for Grand Forks tonight. They are taking a sleeper bus and the players will sleep as they go from Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., to Grand Forks. It’s about 12 hours. When they wake up in the morning, they will be in town and ready to practice.

Schmaltz makes initial WJC roster

UND freshman forward Nick Schmaltz has made the initial World Junior Championship roster for the United States.

Schmaltz is one of 17 forwards that will attend camp in Boston from Dec. 16-19. Then, the camp will move to Kingston, Ont., from Dec. 21-24. From there, they will decide the final roster that will be brought to Montreal and Toronto for the World Juniors.

It is expected that the U.S. will cut four forwards on this list.

If Schmaltz makes the team, he should only miss one exhibition game (against the U.S. Under-18 team) and no regular-season games.

Schmaltz also could make it 11 times in 13 years that UND has had a player at the World Juniors.

Only three NCHC players are on the initial roster — Schmaltz, Miami forward Anthony Louis and Denver defenseman Will Butcher.

U.S. World Junior preliminary roster

Forwards
7 J.T. Compher — Michigan
8 Nick Schmaltz — North Dakota
9 Jack Eichel — Boston University
10 Anthony Louis — Miami
11 Miles Wood — Boston College recruit
12 Michael McCarron — OHL
13 Sonny Milano — OHL
14 Tyler Motte — Michigan
15 John Hayden — Yale
17 Alex Tuch — Boston College
18 Chase De Leo — WHL
19 Cole Cassels — OHL
20 Jeremy Bracco — Boston College recruit
21 Dylan Larkin — Michigan
22 Hudson Fasching — Minnesota
27 Adam Erne — QMJHL
34 Auston Matthews — uncommitted

Defensemen
2 Noah Hanifin — Boston College
3 Ian McCoshen — Boston College
4 Will Butcher — Denver
5 Michael Downing — Michigan
6 Ryan Collins — Minnesota
16 Steven Santini — Boston College
23 Zach Werenski — Michigan
24 Anthony DeAngelo — OHL
25 Jack Dougherty — Wisconsin
26 Brandon Carlo — WHL

Goaltenders
29 Brandon Halverson — OHL
30 Thatcher Demko — Boston College
31 Alex Nedeljkovic — OHL