Two things are for sure after this weekend’s sweep of St. Cloud State: 1. UND will host a first-round series in two weeks. 2. There will be a Penrose Cup celebration in Ralph Engelstad Arena at some point.
UND clinched at least a share of the Penrose Cup, taking a six-point lead over Miami, which happens to be next weekend’s opponent.
If UND takes one point from Miami, it will clinch the league’s No. 1 overall seed, it will win the Penrose Cup outright and UND will play Colorado College in the first round of the NCHC playoffs.
If Miami sweeps UND, then the teams are declared co-champs, but Miami will have the No. 1 seed for the playoffs and North Dakota will host Western Michigan in the first round.
UND cannot drop below No. 2 in the league standings.
For starters, here are some stories about Saturday’s victory:
- I have nothing on Mark MacMillan’s health at the moment. I will update the blog as soon as I have something confirmed.
- I’ve been on the students’ case for the last two years, but they had a great turnout this weekend. It led to an attendance of 12,004, the largest in Ralph Engelstad Arena since March 2, 2013.
- The crowd was definitely into the game. The largest roar came as UND killed a five-on-three power play for a full two minutes. UND’s MacMillan, Troy Stecher and Drake Caggiula all jumped in front of Jonny Brodzinski’s shot, which may be the heaviest in the league. That sequence explains why this team has an extremely impressive 24-6-3 record right now.
- Everyone in the postgame interviews talked about how loud it got during that kill and how much the team fed off of the fans’ energy.
- Read my game story to see how they chose to wear black jerseys. I believe it’s the third weekend and fourth game they’ve done so. Interestingly enough, all have come vs. St. Cloud State. I believe they wore them for both games after Ralph Engelstad died. They wore them in December 2010 against the Huskies and scored five goals in the first period that night.
- During the Senior Salute, the students changed “Sioux forever” at the last class to wear the Fighting Sioux jersey.
- Tucker Poolman returned to the power play on Friday and he played some ‘D’ on the penalty kill as well Saturday. Poolman still leads the team in power-play goals with five.
- When MacMillan went out, Stephane Pattyn took his place on the power play. He didn’t take draws, but he went to the front of the net, where he excelled at the end of last season.
- It had to be a special weekend for Connor Gaarder. His brother, Casey, flew home from Thailand for the first time in more than a year for Senior Weekend and Connor scored a goal both nights.
- UND continues to roll on Saturdays. It is now 15-0-2 on Saturdays this season.
- UND is 11-1-1 in the last 13 games with the lone loss being the overtime game in Omaha, where the Mavs had a lengthy five-on-three power play.
- Last night’s loss eliminated St. Cloud State from home-ice contention. The Huskies, Broncos and Tigers all will be on the road. UND is the only team to clinch home ice so far.