Herald preview is out

If you live in the area and want to check out our annual college hockey special section, go pick up a copy of the Herald today. Newspapers are cheap and there’s lots of content in it.

This year’s section is a tiny bit different than the past few. Due to an increased number of ad sales, the section went from 12 pages to 16 pages. But since our press cannot print a 16-page book, it is two eight-page books.

The first eight pages focus on UND. The second eight are a look around the country, league by league. I ranked the top players and top recruits in nearly every league as well as picked the standings. We can all make fun of my picks in six months.

If you do not live in the area and want to get a copy, call 701-780-1215 or 1-800-811-2580.

The section is a print-only deal again this season. Perhaps next season we will have it arranged so fans can buy a .pdf of it (I know I had questions about that in the past, but it is not happening this year, I’m told).

Here’s the cover:

UND ranked No. 2 in national polls

The first national polls are out and UND is ranked second in both, a spot behind Minnesota and a spot ahead of Providence.

USCHO poll

1. Minnesota (36)
2. North Dakota (2)
3. Providence (2)
4. Boston College
5. Union (9)
6. Colgate (1)
7. St. Cloud State
8. Michigan
9. Ferris State
10. Wisconsin
11. Miami
12. Notre Dame
13. MSU-Mankato
14. Cornell
15. Quinnipiac
16. Northeastern
17. UMass-Lowell
18. Denver
19. New Hampshire
20. Boston University

USA Today poll

1. Minnesota (32)
2. North Dakota (1)
3. Providence
4. Boston College
5. Colgate
6. St. Cloud State
7. Michigan
8. Union (1)
9. Miami
10t. Ferris State
10t. Notre Dame
12. Wisconsin
13. MSU-Mankato
14. Cornell
15. Denver

Quick thoughts on UND’s exhibition

The UND women’s team played its first exhibition game of the season Saturday night and beat the Toronto Junior Aeros 9-1. It’s difficult to judge the level of competition, but for reference, St. Cloud State beat them 3-0 a day earlier.

Anyway, here are a few impressions from the team’s first outing:

  • Offense is going to be the big question mark for this team, so putting up nine goals is a good start, especially considering the fact that the team was missing three of its top players — Meghan Dufault, Becca Kohler and Halli Krzyzaniak — who are all at the Canadian National Team camp.
  • Gracen Hirschy is going to do a little bit of everything for this team. Hirschy is going to play both forward and defense. Coach Brian Idalski said he’s not sure how he’s going to list her. “She’s a hybrid,” he said.
  • One reason for moving Hirschy up is because UND is so deep on the blue line. With Northeastern transfer Jordan Hampton joining the D-corps, UND had six strong blue liners Saturday night, and it will add Krzyzaniak next weekend.
  • Leah Jensen is finally healthy and that’s a good thing for UND. She’s been injured much of her time at UND, but was one of the team’s top forwards this season.
  • Amy Menke’s minutes were limited, likely to keep her healthy for this week’s upcoming nonconference games.
  • One play that Idalski and the coaching staff is really going to like is Kayla Gardner’s goal. She drove the net hard, went to the far post and was rewarded for it. In the past, not enough players would go hard to the net like that.
  • It was tough to get any sort of read on the goaltenders. All three of them played but faced very minimal work.

Women’s final: UND 9, Toronto 1

Of note: UND playing without Meghan Dufault, Becca Kohler and Halli Krzyzaniak, all of whom are at the Canadian National Team camp. Gracen Hirschy playing forward.

First period

UND 1, Toronto 0 — Gracen Hirschy (Marissa Salo, Samantha Hanson) 6:05. Hanson makes a nice backcheck to break up a centering pass and deny Toronto a Grade A scoring chance. The puck goes the other way with Hirschy, who dishes it to Salo. Salo skates in and feeds Hirschy with a cross-crease pass.

UND 2, Toronto 0 — Shannon Kaiser (Leah Jensen, Jordan Hampton) 6:29. Hampton launches a shot from the point that Jensen deflects behind her back into the slot area. Kaiser is there to finish it off.

UND 3, Toronto 0 — Layla Marvin (Josefine Jakobsen) 12:50. Jakobsen treads an outstanding pass through three Toronto players to send Marvin in. Marvin skates it to the top of the crease and snaps one home.

UND 4, Toronto 0 — Shannon Kaiser (Josefine Jakobsen, Tori Williams) 19:01. Jakobsen, standing at the point, sends one to the side of the crease, where Kaiser makes a perfect tip over the goaltender’s glove.

Second period

UND 5, Toronto 0 — Kayla Gardner (Jordan Hampton, Johanna Fallman) 2:46. Gardner rushed the puck up the left wing and got a step behind the defenders. She got to the top of the crease, carried the puck to the far post and flipped a backhand just inside the post.

UND 6, Toronto 0 — Gracen Hirschy (Samantha Hanson, Nicole Novak) 3:40. Hanson has the puck at the top of the left circle and feeds Hirschy in the opposite circle. Hirschy sends a one-timer past the goaltender for her second goal of the game.

UND 7, Toronto 0 — Amy Menke (Gracen Hirschy, Leah Jensen) 12:07. Jensen made a pass from the bottom of the left circle to Hirschy. She couldn’t handle the pass, but Menke picked it up and threw a no-look backhand on net and it squeezed through the goaltender.

UND 8, Toronto 0 — Josefine Jakobsen (Leah Jensen) 17:42. Jensen, standing at the bottom of the left circle, found Jakobsen camped out on the other side of the crease. Jakobsen tapped it in.

Third period

UND 9, Toronto 0 — Leah Jensen 7:24. After putting on some pressure, Toronto tries to clear the puck out of the zone, but it hits Jensen’s hand in the high slot. Jensen picks it up and shoots. Her shot catches part of the goalie, but still goes in.

UND 9, Toronto 1 — Mikayla Grant Mentis 14:51. Mentis carries the puck from her own end to the center line, where she dumps a looping puck on net that Chipman loses and it goes over her.

UND’s lines

15 Kayla Gardner–25 Leah Jensen–6 Gracen Hirschy
10 Andrea Dalen–63 Josefine Jakobsen–13 Layla Marvin
11 Shannon Kaiser–55 Lisa Marvin–14 Marissa Salo
21 Amy Menke–32 Nicole Novak

8 Samantha Hanson–22 Tanja Eisenschmid
4 Sam LaShomb–16 Tori Williams
5 Johanna Fallman–7 Jordan Hampton

1 Shelby Amsley-Benzie
29 Lexie Shaw
34 Annie Chipman

UND picked to win NCHC

UND’s certainly hoping there’s not an NCHC poll jinx.

One year after the Miami RedHawks were picked to win the league only to finish in dead last, North Dakota has the bulls eye this season.

UND was officially picked to win the NCHC by media members, earning 12 of 25 first-place votes. Miami was picked second with nine first-place votes and St. Cloud State third with the other four.

Denver was picked fourth, followed by Minnesota Duluth, Omaha, Western Michigan and Colorado College.

I think Minnesota Duluth is the sleeper in the league this season. The Bulldogs are going to be extremely deep and explosive up front. If they can manage their goaltending and blue line well enough, I wouldn’t be shocked if they make a run at the Penrose Cup.

NCHC preseason media poll

1. North Dakota (12) 181
2. Miami (9) 167
3. St. Cloud State (4) 151
4. Denver 117
5. Minnesota Duluth 112
6. Omaha 73
7. Western Michigan 67
8. Colorado College 32

UND women picked fourth

UND is tabbed fourth in the preseason WCHA women’s poll behind Minnesota, Wisconsin and Duluth. UND was just one vote back of the Bulldogs.

Bemidji State and St. Cloud State — the two teams with new head coaches in the league — are picked in the final two spots.

Minnesota, despite losing Amanda Kessel for the season, is the favorite to win the league.

WCHA preseason coaches poll

1. Minnesota (6) 48
2. Wisconsin (2) 44
3. Duluth 34
4. North Dakota 33
5. Ohio State 26
6. MSU-Mankato 17
7. Bemidji State 13
8. St. Cloud State 9

WCHA preseason player of the year

Hannah Brandt, Minnesota (8)

WCHA rookie of the year

Annie Pankowski, Wisconsin (6); Baylee Wellhausen, Wisconsin (1); Cara Piazza, Minnesota (1)

McIntyre named preseason all-NCHC

The NCHC announced its preseason all-conference team and UND junior goalie Zane McIntyre was the squad’s only unanimous selection. Junior defenseman Jordan Schmaltz was left off the list by one vote.

F – Austin Czarnik, Miami (23)
F – Jonny Brodzinski, SCSU (19)
F – Riley Barber, Miami (12)
D – Joey LaLeggia, Denver (19)
D – Jaccob Slavin, CC (13)
G – Zane McIntyre, UND (25)

Random updates

Apologies in advance in case updates are a bit slow right now and this week — the annual Grand Forks Herald preview section(s) are being worked on right now, will go to press this weekend and be inserted into Tuesday’s paper.

I’ll post details on how to get it when the time comes.

This year, because of ad sales, it has been increased from 12 to 16 pages. But since our press cannot produce a 16-page section, it will come out as two 8-page sections. The first section will focus on UND. The second one will focus on the rest of the country.


Each fall, the Herald runs an online auction for gift certificates to restaurants, bars, services and goods in the area. I’m told that the auction will have a new twist this year: Any winning bids will be refunded if UND wins the national championship. Stay tuned for more info on that.


The news of the day today — The Red Pepper will be served at men’s games this season. There will be stands behind sections 111 and 306 serving grinders, tostadas, Mexi-burgers, chips and sauce and Coney dogs.

Judging by the reaction on social media today, fans are rather excited about this development.


Providence was picked to win Hockey East in the preseason coaches poll. The Friars will come to Grand Forks for a marquee two-game series in late October.


The only two UND games that won’t be on NCHC.tv this season are the two in Magness Arena. So, there was a bit of good news for fans when it was announced that Root Sports will pick up one of UND’s games in Magness. So, fans should be able to watch that game on a dish (or find a place that has it).


St. Cloud State took a little hit to start the season with Ryan Papa being sidelined for at least half the year. The Times reported that Papa will be out until at least January.

St. Cloud State announced its captains last week and Roseau’s Nick Oliver will wear the ‘C.’


After sitting out last season, Brad Miller is back in the game, signing with ERC Sonthofen in the third German league.

Meanwhile, Tate Maris has signed a tryout deal with the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL. Clarke Saunders is already signed to play for that squad in net. Derek Rodwell also will go there.


Danny Kristo registered an assist for the New York Rangers in their first preseason game of the year.

Also of note, Aaron Dell is with the San Jose Sharks right now. The Sharks play their first preseason game against Vancouver tonight.


The first women’s national poll is out. UND checked in at No. 8. Minnesota is atop the poll. Wisconsin is second.

Also on the women’s side, Meghan Dufault, Halli Krzyzaniak and Becca Kohler all were named to Canada’s National Team Fall Camp roster.

Meanwhile, UND forward Michelle Karvinen is awaiting her fate. The NCAA is in the process of deciding whether to give her a fourth year of eligibility or not. Karvinen is at UND right now, attending school.

Senden described as “character forward”

UND’s latest commitment, 1998-born forward Mark Senden, is described as a high-character forward that can play in a lot of different roles.

Wayzata High School coach Pat O’Leary, a former Gopher player, said the first and foremost, Senden is “a great kid.”

Senden played with the U.S. Select team in Germany this summer and was picked to be captain of that team.

In Germany, Senden ended up being one of the team’s top scorers, posting five points (two goals, three assists) in four games. Only three teammates ended up with more points in the tournament — Minnesota-bound Garrett Wait, BU-bound Henry Crone and WHL-bound Kailer Yamamoto.

One of the luxuries for the UND coaching staff will be that Senden is very versatile.

O’Leary said that he possesses the offensive skills to play on a scoring line, as well as the grit and tenacity to play on a third or fourth line. He also has the ability to play both center and wing.

In high school, Senden will likely play quite a bit of center this season, but O’Leary said that he’s very good along the wall, so he wouldn’t be surprised to see him play wing in college.

Senden actually has quite a few Gopher ties. His uncle, Stu, played for Minnesota from 1997-01 (was teammates with O’Leary there). Although he’s going to Minnesota’s biggest rival, O’Leary doesn’t have any problem.

“There will just be two games a year where I can’t cheer for him,” O’Leary said with a laugh.