Is loss to SCSU a concern?

UND lost 6-1 to St. Cloud State on Saturday night – the team’s most lopsided loss since the 2008 Frozen Four. How concerning is it?

When you break down the game, it’s probably not anything to panic about.

It’s hard to be too critical of the goaltending when five of the six goals were deflections — three of them deflected off of UND players before going in. The sixth goal was a guy alone on the top of the crease.

I liked the way Cam Johnson looked in net. He seemed more confident than the past. The goals he allowed were some bad luck. I think he plays at least one game against Michigan State this weekend.

Defensively, UND actually only allowed 21 shots on goal, which will win you most contests.

Offensively, I thought UND was bad in the first 13 minutes of the second period – hardly generating anything – but looked fine other than that stretch.

What areas are worthy of concern at this point?

1. Scoring balance [read story here]. Drake Caggiula, Nick Schmaltz or Brock Boeser have had a hand in 15 of UND’s last 17 goals. They are getting a ton from that line, but not enough from others. UND has others who are capable of chipping in, but have gone quiet lately. Austin Poganski’s goal drought is at 11 games. Luke Johnson and Bryn Chyzyk have 1 point in the last 5 games.

2. Penalties. Trevor Olson took an untimely major penalty on Saturday against St. Cloud State that ran North Dakota out of the contest. UND probably spent too much time in the box this weekend and St. Cloud State’s power play was excellent on the big ice sheet.

This week, it’s off to Michigan State to take on the Spartans, who are a solid team. We got a look at them at the Ice Breaker. Some of their top guys can make plays, and they’re not a bad team, but they aren’t St. Cloud State, either.

If UND can find some scoring balance and stay out of the box, it would help solve this team’s biggest concerns and point it in the direction of a couple of wins.

Friday night rewind

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Yes, it was a bit of a strange evening with UND officially being known as the Fighting Hawks. I heard some fans “caw-ing” at each other. Others waved their arms like hawk wings after UND goals, laughing in the process.

We had some fun with the new name, too, on Friday afternoon. I posed a question on Twitter and Facebook asking fans to submit their picks on who would score the first goal as a Fighting Hawk for both the men and the women.

The answer to the trivia question will forever be Drake Caggiula and Amy Menke. Caggiula got his a little bit before Menke. Both players ended up with Hawk tricks (sorry, terrible pun, but my dad and grandpa would be proud).

Three people ended up calling both goal scorers right — David Badley, Matthew Borowicz and Marcus Anderson.

Badley also won on the men’s side. He was only 40 seconds off of Caggiula’s goal. Honorable mention to Jordan Schmaltz, who knows his old team well. He was only 2:08 off.

Brooke Umland wins on the women’s side. She was only 2:23 off of Menke’s goal late in the second period.


Grand Forks Herald gamer

Star Tribune column by Patrick Reusse

St. Cloud Times gamer

SB Nation blog recap



This was the most that UND has been pushed all season, including the loss to Wisconsin. St. Cloud State became the first time to outshoot UND — and the Huskies did it by quite a bit.

UND entered the weekend allowing 22.25 shots per game. St. Cloud State had 27 by the end of the second period.

It was a huge test for goalie Matt Hrynkiw, and he passed it. He gave UND a chance to win yet again, and UND did it. Hrynkiw was great on first pucks. He struggled with rebound control, especially late in the game. But that’s where the strong defenders helped out.

The defenders cleared out a lot of rebounds and made some key shot blocks to keep UND in front.

A few other thoughts:

  • Obviously, UND’s top line is very dominant right now. Probably UND’s best line since the DOT line. That’s 20 points in the last three games for the Drake Caggiula-Nick Schmaltz-Brock Boeser line. Caggiula was on the ice for all four UND goals.
  • It was very interesting to see freshman Rhett Gardner get the assignment of the defensive zone draw with 5.2 seconds left. He won it and it iced the game for UND. Gardner, by the way, now has a goal in three straight games.
  • The last draw aside, UND got destroyed on faceoffs. The final tally was 45-25. UND has had some tough faceoff nights vs. SCSU in recent years.
  • The last time UND swept a series in St. Cloud, Boeser was 1 year old.
  • The Fighting Hawks did a terrific job on the power play, going 2 for 3. They took just :23 to score on the first power play and :19 on the second.
  • St. Cloud State easily set up in the zone on its power plays. The Huskies went 1-for-5, but it was essentially 2-for-5, because they converted one before UND could get its fifth back in the zone. The Huskies had 12 shots on their power play tonight.
  • A funny moment in the game was when Hrynkiw lost an edge and wiped out into his own net taking the ice for the second period. Hrynkiw said it was pretty funny and that it actually helped relax him.
  • As usual, it was a great showing of UND fans in the NHC, which helped make for a great atmosphere.
  • Although UND’s big top line has been so dominant, you could easily make an argument that Troy Stecher has been UND’s best player to this point. He had two more assists and a terrific night again.
  • It was a tough night for the refs. A couple of questionable calls that led to power-play goals for each team. And Bob Motzko was not happy about UND’s first goal, which Caggiula tipped on net before putting home his own rebound. It could have been high sticking. It was very, very close, but the officials didn’t think video was conclusive enough to overturn the call on the ice.
  • I thought it was one of Trevor Olson’s more solid games. He scored two goals in the NHC last season, so maybe it’s a favorite spot of his.

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.

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.

A look back at the weekend

UND was able to grab a series split against Wisconsin with a much better performance in downing the Badgers 3-1 on Saturday night.

Read comments from players and coach Brad Berry in this gamer.

I think this was UND’s first lesson of the season on how it needs to play from here on out to be successful. Things came easy the first month against teams that compiled a combined record of 5-32-8.

Of the 14 teams in college hockey with a winning percentage under .300, UND has played five of them. Two of those opponents — Maine and Colorado College — have not won a game yet.

Wisconsin was the best team that UND had played to this point in the season — both by record and by the eye test.

After seeing the Badgers a second night — one in which the scoring chances, shots on goal and shot attempts were severely lopsided toward UND — I still think that Wisconsin is going to wind up being a much better team than everyone figured (myself included).

Wisconsin’s defensemen just made it a very difficult game. For the second night in a row, nothing was particularly easy for UND.

While the shots and shot attempts were lopsided, UND didn’t do nearly a good enough job taking away the eyes of goalie Matt Jurusik. Too many easy saves for him.

As you’ll see in tomorrow’s column in the Herald, the upcoming games against Miami are the first major test for this team.

UND’s opponents haven’t put a lot of stress on the defenders or the goaltenders yet, but that will probably change in the next few weeks. We’ll find out a lot more about UND.

Some final notes about Saturday:

  • Referee Scott Bokal was checked out by UND trainer Mark Poolman and was determined good to go after taking a big hit Friday night.
  • Brock Boeser was quiet offensively, but made one outstanding play on a backcheck. He dove, all out, and poked the puck away from a Badger player who was on a clean breakaway. Coach Brad Berry loved seeing that.
  • Boeser clearly had a target on his back. Wisconsin players were chirping him quite a bit during the weekend.
  • UND hit a couple of posts on the power play, but couldn’t convert on seven chances. It seemed to get worse as the game progressed. The only move that really surprised me on the power play was not putting Boeser out there for the 5-on-3.
  • Christian Wolanin received quite a bit of power play time in a spot that will likely be taken by Tucker Poolman this weekend. All signs are pointing to Poolman being back for Miami.
  • It is going to be very interesting to see what the coaches do in goal. Cam Johnson and Matej Tomek are on the verge of being ready to go. Maybe this weekend. But Matt Hrynkiw has been so reliable that he has earned another start. This will be a great test for Hrynkiw as well. He’ll probably be under more duress against Miami (assuming he starts Friday) than any other game this season.
  • Points haven’t come easy for Paul LaDue this season, but he got one late Saturday, making a nice pass off the boards to spring a 2-on-1 with Nick Schmaltz and Drake Caggiula.
  • Since a rough start through three games killing penalties, UND has killed 23 of the last 24, dating back to Oct. 17. Not including the Ivys (which just started play), the only team better during that stretch has been Miami. The RedHawks have killed 34 of 35 this season.
  • UND ranks second nationally in shot margin (+14.30 per game).

Mike Eaves also had some comments about the weekend series at Wisconsin’s weekly Monday athletics press conference. Eaves wasn’t scheduled to speak this week because UW has it off, but he requested to talk after the big win over North Dakota.

Eaves compared it to the football team winning at Clemson or the basketball team winning at North Carolina.

Eaves said this weekend was a “light bulb” moment for his team.

“Even though we lost the game on Saturday, it was good growth,” he said. “We weren’t where we wanted to be, and I don’t know if you’ve been in that atmosphere at North Dakota, but it’s a great place to play. They’re like rats hanging off the ship, and they’re on top of you, and it’s loud, and it’s an amazing thing. And to see our kids respond and play and not cower and take charge at moments was a really light-bulb moment.”

The full transcript of Eaves’ presser is here.

Friday night rewind

What happened?

How did UND lose its first game of the season to a Wisconsin team that won just four games last season?

Those are the popular questions after the Badgers downed UND 3-1 on Friday night in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

I have several thoughts on the game.

The first that came to mind: I don’t know if this Wisconsin team is going to be as bad as everyone assumes. I don’t know if this is going to be as big of a Pairwise killer as everyone assumes.

I’d like to see more than 60 minutes of hockey from Wisconsin to verify those thoughts, but the Badgers were not slow. They played very well defensively and they were extremely physical all night. There was no easy ice for UND out there. When you play bad teams, there’s usually easy ice.

Wisconsin’s goals were not flukes. They were results of good plays. The second and third goals were skilled plays that UND’s previous opponents were not making.

I think it’s very important that the Badgers keep Luke Kunin and not lose him to the OHL, as is rumored. If they do that and stay healthy, I just don’t see this team’s record resembling last year’s.

That being said, no, UND did not play very well.

I think you could sense it coming a little bit. UND did not play great in Colorado Springs. The team was able to get away with average performances, though, because Colorado College struggled in goal and wasn’t very skilled. That masked a couple of average performances.

On Friday night, another very average performance was finally brought to light with the loss to Wisconsin.

I thought that Wisconsin caused UND a lot of problems with its physicality (when was the last time you heard that being a problem for UND?).

I think a lot of the freshmen, who have been terrific to this point, had easier ice in the first eight games. They really struggled against Wisconsin’s physicality, and they got a bit of an introduction into what college hockey is going to be like the rest of the season.

It’s not always going to be easy. The goals aren’t always going to come in transition or on backdoor feeds. You need to grind away and get traffic in front of opposing goalies — something UND did very little of in the first two periods.

UND’s veterans, who have been on not-as-skilled teams and found ways to get to the Frozen Four anyway, know how these games need to be played. The young guys will soon learn.

One other thing that coach Brad Berry mentioned was that he thought UND played with too wide of gaps in all areas — breaking out of the zone, defensively, everything. He wants to see the team play tighter in today’s series finale.

You also can’t forget that UND was missing its leading scorer, Drake Caggiula, and one of its top defensemen, Tucker Poolman.

Caggiula will be back in and almost surely reunited with the Nick Schmaltz and Brock Boeser line. Shane Gersich started the game with Schmaltz and Boeser, but it wasn’t working. In the third period, they tried Bryn Chyzyk in that spot. I’m not sure if Poolman will be able to go. Berry said he wants to error on the side of caution with Poolman.

So, those are my thoughts about UND’s first loss of the season: UND played poorly, the young guys struggled with the physical play and Wisconsin isn’t nearly as bad as last year. Here are a few other notes:

  • Did anyone see referee Scott Bokal take a huge hit in the third period? He was shaken up for quite a bit, but continued to ref.
  • Jedd Soleway continues to kill UND. He scored goals No. 1 and No. 2 of his career against North Dakota. Now, he added another one tonight. Three goals in four games vs. UND.
  • Gage Ausmus entered the weekend leading the NCHC in plus-minus, but was handed a minus-3 tonight.
  • UND had a 12-game home unbeaten streak snapped (11-0-1). It is the first loss since a 4-1 defeat at home to Minnesota Duluth in January of last season.
  • This UND team had not faced much adversity at all this season. In the previous seven games, UND only trailed for six seconds.
  • Matt Hrynkiw played just fine in net.
  • UND’s top line (Schmaltz line) registered just four shots on goal. The games with Caggiula on that unit, it registered: 6, 10, 10, 10 and 13.
  • No matter what happens in tonight’s series finale, UND will lose the No. 1 national ranking with unbeaten Providence idle this weekend and Quinnipiac potentially going to 8-0-0 if the Bobcats can win tonight.

Friday night rewind

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — UND took care of business on Friday night, beating a winless Colorado College team 5-2 in World Arena.

As you’ll see in the game story, the night started in interesting fashion for the Tigers.

Their tiger mascot stormed onto the ice, spotlight shining on him, immediately tripped and fell right on his back. The CC flag that he was carrying fell right on top of him. The mascot forgot to take his skate guards off. While he was on the ground he angrily chucked them off the ice.

Colorado College is now 1-20-2 dating back to Jan. 17 of last season. UND stayed undefeated in the Brad Berry era (5-0-2).

The play of the game was the Troy Stecher-to-Rhett Gardner shorthanded goal to make it 3-1. The Tigers had a chance to tie the game with a power play (including :30 of 5×3 time), but instead, that ended it.

Stecher came up the right side with the puck and had Gardner cutting down the middle and Luke Johnson on the left side. I asked Stecher why he decided to give it to Gardner in the middle instead of going all the way across to Johnson.

Stecher said he didn’t want to shoot it from the right side and didn’t want Johnson to shoot from the left because if they missed the net, the puck would rim around the glass and the Tigers would have a 4-on-1 the other way. If Gardner missed the net, the puck is just going straight back off the end wall to the crease.

That’s a smart hockey play by a veteran.

Here are a few other bonus notes and stats:

  • UND’s seven-game unbeaten streak is the longest to start a season since the national championship year of 1999-00, when UND opened with a nine-game unbeaten streak (8-0-1).
  • The longest unbeaten streak to start a season came in 1952-53, when a Fido Purpur-coached North Dakota team started 13-0.
  • Great stat from our friend @SiouxTradition on Twitter: The last time UND got five goals from freshmen in a single game was Feb. 24, 2006, at Denver (6-2 final). Jonathan Toews scored twice, T.J. Oshie once, Ryan Duncan once, Andrew Kozek once. Not bad company for this current crew.
  • UND put Colorado College on the power play seven times, which is way too many. UND had done a great job at not giving opponents many chances with the extra man in the past few games.
  • Christian Wolanin quietly had a real nice two-assist game, making a tremendous play to steal the puck in the neutral zone and spring Brock Boeser on a breakaway for a goal.
  • Matt Hrynkiw would probably like the last goal back — an unscreened shot from the point — but he once again did more than enough for UND to win. He’s now 4-0 as a starter.
  • Drake Caggiula didn’t end up with any points, but he went 9-0 on faceoffs.
  • I think we’ll end up seeing Joel Janatuinen back in the lineup tonight if he’s healthy enough to go. It wasn’t a complete game for UND.
  • Speaking of that, the players lamented the fact that they weren’t good in all three zones. Coach Brad Berry agreed with that. They want to clean things up for tonight’s series finale.

Friday night rewind


1. Grand Forks Central’s Casey Purpur scored his first goal of the season for Northern Michigan tonight, helping the Wildcats get a 4-1 win over rival Michigan Tech. NMU outshot Tech 46-21.

2. In the craziest game of the night, New Hampshire blew a 6-1 lead in just 20 minutes, 55 seconds, and tied UMass 6-6. UMass, one of the surprise teams in NCAA so far, stays unbeaten at 3-0-1.

3. Quinnipiac beat St. Cloud State 5-2 in the battle of two 4-0-0 teams. The Bobcats move to 5-0. St. Cloud State goalie Charlie Lindgren started the season with three straight shutouts and ran his scoreless streak to 210:34 before allowing one to Quinnipiac.

4. Nebraska Omaha opened Baxter Arena in fashion by topping Air Force 4-2 in the venue’s first-ever game. Omaha is 5-0-0 to start the season, despite being outshot in all five games.

5. Minnesota got its first win of the season, downing Northeastern 4-0 in Mariucci Arena. Three players notched their first-career goals for the Gophers.


Grand Forks Herald – Hrynkiw comes through for UND

Burlington Free Press – UVM coach says UND put on a ‘pretty good clinic’

UND sports — Hrynkiw story continues



  • Matt Hrynkiw was able to grab his first-career shutout in just his second-career start. Amazingly, UND was only able to close one shutout last year with Mike Richter Award winner Zane McIntyre (it seemed like he lost about 10 of them in the final five minutes).
  • UND’s only shutout last year came at home against Niagara. The last road shutout was two seasons ago, when McIntyre blanked Minnesota Duluth 3-0 in AmsOil (Feb. 21, 2014).
  • Clarke Saunders and Aaron Dell also had shutouts in their first-career starts away from Grand Forks. They both came against Anchorage.
  • UND was very dominant for much of this game. As everyone wrote in their game stories, Vermont goalie Michael Santaguida was tremendous.
  • UND coach Brad Berry, still unbeaten at 3-0-2, rolled all four lines and six defensemen, so he believes everyone should be fresh for tonight’s series finale.
  • It was very interesting to see UND use five forwards for the 5-on-3 power play, especially when it has offensive blue liners. It ended up working, as that unit generated the second goal of the game on a highlight reel play from Brock Boeser to Nick Schmaltz to Bryn Chyzyk.
  • UND did a great job staying out of the box. Part of it was probably because the officials didn’t call a whole lot. But the Catamounts only got two power plays in the game.
  • Johnny Simonson is one point shy of last year’s point total already. He has four points (including two goals).
  • Hayden Shaw got some power play time as the coaches gave Paul LaDue a much-needed breather at one point. Shaw did well on his power-play stint.
  • It was a sold-out crowd of 4,003, but it was hard to tell how loud they can get because they didn’t have much to cheer about all night.
  • They like pot in Vermont. The students count down every period to 4:20 and cheer when it hits. And probably roll a joint, too.
  • If UND wins or ties tonight, it will mark the first time since 2002 (Zach Parise’s freshman year) that UND started the season with a six-game unbeaten streak.
  • Rhett Gardner was a healthy scratch in the first game of the season, but he’s starting to do some things that will keep him in the lineup even when UND gets healthy up front.



Weekend rewind

UND ended up with a win and a tie against Bemidji State, good enough to narrowly hold on to the No. 1 ranking in the country.

Obviously, the story of the weekend is that UND’s top two goaltenders went down with an injury and UND was left with two walk-ons to play. Junior Matt Hrynkiw stepped in and did the job on Saturday, earning a 5-2 win in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

That was detailed in this game story.

There were some interesting quotes in that story, too, from players about Hrynkiw. I’ll try to have a bigger story on him this week, describing where he came from and what he’s like.

As for other things that went on in Saturday’s game, here are notes and thoughts:

  • The coaches don’t have a timeline on Cam Johnson as of yet, but I’m expecting Hrynkiw to start this weekend in Vermont with Bob Anderson serving as the backup.
  • Yes, the fourth goalie’s name is Ryan Anderson, but the Roseau clan tells me he goes by Bob. Apparently, he was on a baseball team with three Ryans, so they started calling him Bob and it stuck.
  • The coaching staff loaded up a line with Drake Caggiula, Nick Schmaltz and Brock Boeser. It delivered with four goals and nine points. If that unit stays together, it has potential to be one of the best lines in the country. The luxury is that if you do load up that line, I still think the other lines have scoring capabilities.
  • We saw some of the qualities that make Boeser an elite goal-scorer. The first goal was a pure sniper’s goal, picking the corner from the circle. The second one was a result of him going to the top of the crease to finish off a play. He’ll do both.
  • Freshman defenseman Christian Wolanin played left wing on Saturday night, but he wasn’t a fish out of water there. Wolanin played forward extensively up until a couple of years ago. He was back from an illness that kept him out Friday night.
  • UND could use the services of Shane Gersich, who was out with an illness. And when he comes back, the coaches may put back together his line with Schmaltz and Boeser, leaving Caggiula on Luke Johnson’s wing.
  • Joel Janatuinen had to sit out Saturday after sustaining what appeared to be a concussion on Friday.
  • Troy Stecher scored the go-ahead goal in the third period on Saturday, continuing a terrific start to the season for the junior. He has been a major factor in all of UND’s games this season.
  • Johnny Simonson uncharacteristically struggled in the faceoff dot this weekend, which tells me he’s still not 100 percent after sustaining an upper-body injury against Lake Superior State a week earlier.
  • Austin Poganski continues to take steps forward. He has the potential to be a mismatch for opponents on the third line if he continues his development track.

Friday night rewind

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Is there anyone out there that has worse injury luck than the UND men’s hockey team?

OK, Bubba Schweigert, put your hand down. We’re talking just college hockey here.

The team that lost so many guys that it played roughly two months without enough players to fill out a full lineup in 2012 — the team that lost its leading goal-scorer and best defensive forward the last game before the playoffs a year ago — now has seven players out with injuries including the first- and second-string goaltenders.

And we’re only on Game 3. Yes, Game THREE.

How does that happen?

UND added Cam Johnson and Joel Janatuinen to the injury report Friday night. Coach Brad Berry said that Janatuinen was slew-footed at the end of the first period and “wasn’t feeling well” after it. He said the team took necessary precautions. Berry didn’t confirm the injury, but it sure sounds like a concussion.

Johnson, meanwhile, appeared to injure his groin, sliding from left to right to make a stop at the buzzer at the end of the second period. Berry said that Johnson actually sustained the injury making a similar movement just prior to that and aggravated it on the second one.

If those guys can’t go tonight, every healthy body will be suited up for UND, which means Mike Gornall would make his college hockey debut and Ryan Anderson, a former Roseau goalie who walked on the team from campus a month ago, would be the backup goalie.

UND went from, a few months ago, wondering if the goalie tandem would be Zane McIntyre, Matej Tomek and Cam Johnson. Three games in, UND has none of them.

Tomek is still a few weeks out. He is doing work on his own, but he’s not even practicing with the team yet. I’m not expecting to see him before November.

Berry said that Johnson would be evaluated in the morning. “He’s a tough kid,” Berry said.

Losing two goaltenders to injury at the same time is extremely rare. In the last 15 years, I’m fairly certain it never happened once at UND. It certainly never did during my 11 years on the beat.

I actually can’t think of any other instances in the WCHA/NCHC during the last decade where that’s happened to anyone (do any of you recall it happening anywhere?).

Anyway, Matt Hrynkiw came in unexpectedly and did about as good of a job as can be asked. Hrynkiw allowed two goals on 12 shots. The first one — a power-play point shot through traffic — didn’t bother Hrynkiw. But he wasn’t pleased about allowing the tying goal, saying he slid too far over and gave the shooter an open net.

I’ve talked to a few people about Hrynkiw, including forward Bryn Chyzyk, after tonight’s game. They all have the same message: He will battle as hard as possible. He did that in the third period, while facing more work than Johnson did in the first two combined.

In the meantime, there are a few other areas to shore up:

UND’s penalty kill is at 58.3 percent (7 of 12), which ranks 53rd of 54 teams nationally. Only Canisius (2 of 4) is worse. I have a few theories on that:

1. UND hasn’t been particularly great on faceoffs this season. Two of BSU’s power play goals Friday night came off of faceoff wins. That’s an area that can improve. BSU won the faceoff battle 39-29.

2. On the penalty kill, you’re going to need your goalie to come up with some big saves. UND’s haven’t done that yet.

3. UND’s regular killers last year included Mark MacMillan, Michael Parks, Connor Gaarder, Stephane Pattyn and Colten St. Clair. All are gone/out. That means it’s a whole new crew getting that role.

Other than those areas, UND really dictated Friday’s game. Shots were 32-20. Shot attempts were 72-38 UND.

UND has been pretty good offensively without getting much production from its top players. Johnny Simonson has more goals and the same number of points right now Drake Caggiula, Brock Boeser and Nick Schmaltz combined.

I should point out that Schmaltz was once again pretty good against the Beavers. He nearly won the game in overtime with a brilliant setup for Paul LaDue, but the pass was an inch or two in front of LaDue, who had a backdoor open net after Schmaltz fooled the goalie.

But Caggiula, Boeser and Schmaltz aren’t going to stay off the scoresheet for long. And if UND can still get production out of guys like Chyzyk, Austin Poganski and Simonson, it will bode well for this season.

Injury list

G Matej Tomek, lower body — A few weeks away
G Cam Johnson, likely groin — Will be evaluated this morning
F Joel Janatuinen, likely concussion — Will be evaluated this morning
F Shane Gersich, illness — Day to day
D Christian Wolanin, undisclosed — Day to day
F Colten St. Clair, shoulder — Out until February
D Danys Chartrand, undisclosed — No timeline