Come join our weekly live chat from 3-4 p.m. if you wish.
Come join the weekly Grand Forks Herald live chat with sportswriters from 3-4 p.m. today.
Come join the Herald’s weekly live chat from 3-4 p.m. We’ll touch on all sorts of topics, from the world of college hockey to the NHL playoffs to the wild world of conference affiliation.
We’ll be talking hockey and much more from 3-4 p.m. today. Come join if you wish.
I’m the only person on the live chat today, so come join and we can talk some hockey from 3-4 p.m.
Come join our weekly Wednesday live chat from 3-4 p.m. today.
It was a strange week of practice for UND.
Because of the Sunday game against Michigan Tech and the quick turnaround for a Thursday night game in the Xcel Energy Center, UND did not have any grinding practices this week.
Usually, that’s reserved for Tuesday.
Instead, UND took Monday off to recover from the series, practiced Tuesday in The Ralph, then hopped on the bus and drove to St. Paul on Tuesday evening.
UND will practice at the Xcel Energy Center today and will get ready for a quarterfinal game against Colorado College tomorrow night.
The Tigers split four games with UND this season, so this is the rubber match. While the Tigers have been giving up a lot of shots on goal, netminder Joe Howe has taken control of that position and has been very good. He stopped 78 of 82 shots in CC’s wins over the Pioneers in the first round.
For Wednesday’s paper, I wrote a feature on Danny Kristo, who has always been a Sioux fan and is living out a dream by playing for UND. More on that later.
For Thursday’s paper, we’ll have a graphic in honor of the last Final Five and a story on some feelings about that.
That’s all for now, but you can check out this week’s live chat below.
Senior weekend was two weeks ago, but this weekend is the last time the group of six will play in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Does that add to the weekend? Sure, a couple of players said. But they didn’t have much else to say about that.
“It’s too hard of a topic to talk about,” senior Joe Gleason said. “It sucks.”
Against Bemidji State, you could see how incredibly hard UND was pushing to get the win on Senior Night. They emptied the tank, but came away with a tie, which obviously bothered a couple of players.
They have another shot to end this weekend with a stick salute, but it won’t happen easy.
Michigan Tech is a much different team than it was when the squads played in December. Look for a story in Friday’s paper detailing the differences in Tech.
You’ll see a difference in UND this weekend. It probably won’t be in the top two lines — expect those units to stay together — but it will be in the look of the team. They’ve already started their playoff beards. And new this year, they aren’t allowing hair cuts.
“It’s gonna get greasy,” Gleason said. Read that story here, to find out who are the early frontrunners for best and worst beard on the team.
Also, look for matchup boxes and predictions for all of the first-round series.
On the women’s side, the topic was an obvious one.
UND is hoping the sixth time is the charm against undefeated Minnesota. The Gophers beat UND for the WCHA championship a week ago in Ridder Arena. Saturday’s showdown is for a trip to the Frozen Four.
The game starts at 4 p.m. and there should be a free webcast on the NCAA site. Last year, the quality was pretty good.
If you want to re-read this week’s live chat, here it is.
The most exciting thing that happened at today’s pressers? I got my ballot for the all-WCHA award voting.
This year, I find the ballot more interesting than others.
That’s because each team is only allowed to submit one name for WCHA player of the year and WCHA rookie of the year (voters are allowed to write in candidates if they wish). The unique part about this season is that a handful of teams have two equally worthy candidates for that award and I was curious to see who would get the nod.
For UND, Danny Kristo is on the ballot over Corban Knight.
For Minnesota, Nate Schmidt is on the ballot over Erik Haula.
For St. Cloud State, Drew LeBlanc is on the ballot over Nick Jensen.
And for MSU-Mankato, Eriah Hayes is on the ballot over Stephon Williams or Matt Leitner.
I think this vote will go down to the wire. I will be holding my ballot until after Saturday night’s games are done. I’ll post it after that, and you can all tell me where I went wrong.
There’s a lot left to be determined in the WCHA race. That’s my Thursday story. It details some of the possible crazy finishes. UND needs one win this weekend to lock up a top three seed, though top two is ideal.
UND also could move toward securing an NCAA tournament berth. Right now, USCHO says it looks like a repeat of last year’s regional.
For Friday’s paper, I have a feature on Corban Knight. I don’t think a lot of people know what Knight is like off the ice. The Q&A is with Carter Rowney.
On the women’s side, things are getting pretty simple. UND has to beat Wisconsin on Friday afternoon in order to have a shot at making the NCAA tournament. If so, UND will have a shot at a banner on Saturday.
The weekend will be pretty wild for the Herald writers.
Tom Miller made the trip to the Cities today to cover East Grand Forks (they beat Rochester Lourdes 3-2) at the state tournament. He’ll cover Moorhead for the Fargo Forum on Thursday.
I’ll head down Friday and cover EGF vs. St. Thomas Academy (which outshot its opponent today 50-3 and won 12-0) at 1 p.m., then head to Mankato for the UND game, while Miller stays in the Cities for the women’s game at 4 p.m.
If the Green Wave win, we’ll both head to St. Paul at noon Saturday for the state title game, then I’ll be heading back to Mankato for the series finale. Miller will cover the Final Faceoff title game or else head to Mankato for the last regular-season game of the year.
So, get ready for a lot of hockey in the Herald the next few days. That’s all for now, but you can check out this week’s GF sports live chat if you wish.
The postseason has arrived for the women’s team and it’s getting awfully close for the men’s team. So, maybe it’s a little surprising that things aren’t more hectic out at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
But for the men, it’s business as usual. UND coach Dave Hakstol remarked how the team is “relatively healthy” right now, which is allowing for a lot of lineup decisions. It has become clear that if you’re not playing your role to a T, you won’t be in the lineup, no matter where you were drafted.
Brendan O’Donnell worked his way back into the lineup last weekend and progressively got better during the weekend. We’ll see if Derek Rodwell can regain his spot.
As for the goalies, that’s anybody’s guess at this point. I don’t know if we’re any closer to knowing who the No. 1 guy is than we were in October. At times, both guys have made convincing statements. At other times, both have opened the door for their teammate.
For Friday’s paper, I’ll have a Q&A with Hobey Baker Award candidate Danny Kristo, who has 0 career points against Bemidji State, his father’s alma mater.
I wrote a big feature on the Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux for Thursday’s paper. It’s hard to believe, but this weekend will be the last time they play in Ralph Engelstad Arena for UND.
Their impact on UND’s program is immeasurable. In 50 years, when people have fun discussing the “Mount Rushmore” of UND women’s hockey, it will start with those two.
They also shared a story that they had kept private until last month: The origins of why they thought about transferring to UND. Read that story here.
This week’s chat was pretty active. We had a lot of questions coming in. If you want to check it out, read the transcript below.