SiouxSports.com

Archive for the 'Men’s Hockey' Category

Published by Jim Dahl on 21 Jan 2014

UND’s PWR rankings — a look ahead

Last week I gave a quick preview of UND’s PWR chances for the weekend. After a tie and a win, UND landed about where expected at #19. However, UND still has good upside potential.

UND’s one week outlook

A sweep should move UND solidly into “at large” position, while a split would leave UND about where it is (with a slight improvement a bit more likely than a slight fall).

UND’s regular season outlook

The bigger picture, though, is after UND’s phenomenal lossless streak, what do they need to do to finish in charge of their own destiny?

Winning 8 of its remaining 12 would put UND in a decent position to make the playoffs at large, while only winning 6 would likely leave UND in need of some conference tournament success.

More PWR analysis (non-UND teams)

I’m pleased to announce a new web site, College Hockey Ranked, to which I’ll (slowly) be migrating the non-UND hockey ranking information. This will allow SiouxSports to refocus more tightly on being a destination for UND fans, while CollegeHockeyRanked will try to appeal to a more general college hockey audience. UND fans who just want to read about UND won’t have to sift through as much information about other teams (except as it pertains to UND), non-UND fans who want more general analysis won’t have to skip over UND-centric analysis if they just visit that site, and of course anyone interested in both can simply follow both sites.

The immediate impact of this shift is that I’ll start posting my non-UND analysis to articles on that site. At least for this season, though, I’ll probably link between the two a lot.

Methodology

Each forecast is based on at least one million monte carlo simulations of the games in the described period. For each simulation, the PairWise Ranking (PWR) is calculated and the results tallied. The probabilities presented in the forecasts are the share of simulations in which a particular outcome occurred.

The outcome of each game in each simulation is determined by random draw, with the probability of victory for each team set by their relative KRACH ratings. So, if the simulation set included a contest between team A with KRACH 300 and team B with KRACH 100, team A will win the game in very close to 75% of the simulations. I don’t simulate ties or home ice advantage.

Resources

Published by Dave Berger on 17 Jan 2014

Weekend Preview: UND vs. Bemidji State

Bemidji State is very happy with the new-look WCHA. One year after half of the league bolted for greener pastures, the Beavers find themselves in the top half of the league standings. BSU has already collected seven conference wins this season after stumbling to 11th place in the WCHA last year with a 5-16-7 league record.

North Dakota’s current seven game winning streak has UND in second place in the NCHC and in a position to make a run at St. Cloud State for the league title. Dave Hakstol’s squad is still on the outside looking in at the NCAA tournament field, but the prospects are brighter than they were when the team was sitting at 4-7-2.

Tom Serratore’s Beavers collected a huge 1-0 victory the last time North Dakota visited the BREC, and if BSU is to repeat that accomplishment this weekend, goaltending is the key. Junior netminder Andrew Walsh had been getting the bulk of the minutes for Bemidji State, but his numbers (5-9-3, 2.99 GAA, .903 SV%) don’t exactly inspire confidence.

Enter freshman Jesse Wilkins. In less than six games’ worth of action, the rookie is 2-1-3 with a 2.28 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage.

For UND, little things have been making a difference. The team is finally healthy and getting contributions up and down the lineup. Sophomore goaltender Zane Gothberg has locked down the #1 job. And despite a letdown against the Colorado College power play last weekend, special teams play has been good enough to win most nights.

The teams will play a home and home series this weekend, with UND traveling to Bemidji for Friday’s opener before returning to Grand Forks to host the Beavers on Saturday night.

These games are critical for North Dakota’s postseason aspirations. UND currently sports a 4-2-2 record in non-conference play, and considering the NCHC’s abysmal non-conference record overall, will need at least a split on the weekend to avoid dropping out of the tournament picture.

Bemidji State Team Profile

Head Coach: Tom Serratore (13th season at BSU, 208-197-55 .512)

Pairwise Ranking: 36th (tie)
National Ranking: NR
This Season: 7-11-6 overall, 7-7-4 WCHA (4th)
Last Season: 6-22-8 overall, 5-16-7 WCHA (11th)

Team Offense: 2.75 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 3.04 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 17.9% (19 of 106)
Penalty Kill: 86.5% (96 of 111)

Key Players: Sophomore F Cory Ward (12-8-20), Sophomore F Markus Gerbrandt (11-6-7), Junior F Danny Mattson (3-11-14), Junior D Matt Prapavessis (5-12-17), Sophomore D Graeme McCormack (1-12-13), Freshman G Jesse Wilkins (2-1-3, 2.28 GAA, .935 SV%)

North Dakota Team Profile

Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (10th season at UND, 246-126-39, .646)

Pairwise Ranking: 19th (tie)
National Ranking: #20
This Season: 11-7-2 overall, 7-5-0 NCHC (2nd)
Last Season: 22-13-7 overall (NCAA West Regional finalist), 14-7-7 WCHA (3rd)

Team Offense: 2.90 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 2.85 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 19.8% (18 of 91)
Penalty Kill: 81.8% (81 of 99)

Key Players: Sophomore F Rocco Grimaldi (7-12-19), Sophomore F Drake Caggiula (5-6-11), Sophomore F Michael Parks (5-9-14), Senior D Dillon Simpson (4-9-13), Sophomore D Jordan Schmaltz (2-9-11), Sophomore G Zane Gothberg (9-5-2, 2.38 GAA, .914 SV%)

By The Numbers

Last Meeting: March 2nd, 2013 (Grand Forks, ND). UND’s Jordan Schmaltz potted the tying goal with under twelve minutes to play as North Dakota salvaged a 2-2 tie with visiting Bemidji State. North Dakota had 80 shot attempts, but the Beavers blocked 28 shots and BSU goaltender Andrew Walsh stopped 28 of the 30 pucks he faced. UND won the series opener 4-2.

Last Meeting in Bemidji: November 20th, 2011. With a 1-0 victory, the Beavers defeated North Dakota for just the second time in program history (and first since 1970). BSU’s Jordan George scored the game’s only goal after UND’s Andrew MacWilliam and Mark MacMillan both took penalties on the same play. George’s five-on-three tally was Bemidji State’s first power play goal in seven games.

Most Important Meeting: October 15, 2010 (Bemidji, MN). In the first game played at the BREC, North Dakota spotted BSU the opening goal less than two minutes into the contest and then steamrolled the Beavers 5-2. The Fighting Sioux outshot their fellow Green-and-Whiters 38-14.

Last Ten: North Dakota is 8-1-1 (.850) in the last ten meetings between the teams, outscoring the Beavers 39-18 over that stretch of games.

All-time Series: UND leads the all-time series, 25-2-2 (.897), including an 8-1-0 (.889) record in games played in Bemidji. BSU’s two victories over North Dakota came 41 years apart (1970 and 2011).

Game News and Notes

Bemidji State is just 3-8-3 on home ice this season. Junior forward Mark MacMillan leads UND with eight points in six career games against the Beavers. BSU swept Lake Superior State last weekend, while North Dakota did the same to Colorado College.

The Prediction

UND will have a difficult time finding space in Friday’s opener, but will play well enough to earn a point. Saturday’s rematch will be all North Dakota. 2-2 tie, UND 4-1.

Published by Jim Dahl on 17 Jan 2014

First look at UND’s Pairwise chances

I’ll go into some more depth in future weeks, but here’s a sneak preview of PairWise Ranking prognostication for the season–

This would have been a lot more interesting a month ago when UND seemed at serious risk of a lost season and I could have said something like, “UND needs to win the next 7 just to climb up to 20th”. Here we are at #19 with 14 regular season NCAA games remaining, and UND is definitely back in the hunt.

Here’s how this weekend’s games could affect its PWR:

The first thing that jumped out at me is how huge the spreads are — UND’s median climb for a sweep is 5 positions and fall for getting swept is 7. It appears that UND is just at a dense part of the RPI, but given that the PWR formula is new this year I’ll try to do some more digging.

Published by Dave Berger on 10 Jan 2014

Weekend Preview: UND vs. Colorado College

Colorado College opened with a 3-1 home victory over Minnesota-Duluth in the first NCHC game for either school. The Tigers have won only one game since that time, going just 1-13-3 since October 18th.

It’s been a tough 17 game stretch for Scott Owen’s club, a three month span with a single victory. CC has found lots of different ways to lose, but the primary culprit is that Colorado College has not been able to finish games. The Tigers are 0-6-2 when scoring the first goal and have been outscored 30-7 in third periods and overtime sessions so far this season.

The Tiger faithful can point to the scoring void created when last year’s senior class (Rylan Schwartz, Will Rapuzzi, Mike Boivin, Scott Winkler, Andrew Hamburg, and Joe Marciano) graduated. Those six accounted for 170 of CC’s 315 points (54 percent) in 2012-13.

But North Dakota experienced a similar loss with the graduation of Danny Kristo, Corban Knight, Carter Rowney, Joe Gleason, and Andrew MacWilliam, plus the early departure of Derek Forbort. The six UND stalwarts collected 176 of North Dakota’s 361 points, good for 49 percent of UND’s production last year.

Dave Hakstol’s crew has won five straight games after a 4-7-2 start. The Green and White have scored at least three goals in nine of their last eleven games and have allowed two or fewer goals seven times in that same stretch.

North Dakota is finally healthy, and with Bryn Chyzyk’s return from a team-imposed suspension, has three capable scoring lines. The key to the second half of the season will be the performance of Mark MacMillan, Brendan O’Donnell, and Michael Parks, three juniors who have 21 points in 43 combined games this year but who collected 94 points in 197 games over their first two seasons.

There are several other areas on the Green and White side of the ledger in this matchup: goaltending has been a question mark all season for the Tigers (senior Josh Thorimbert is allowing more than three goals/game with a save percentage below .900), while sophomore Zane Gothberg has taken over the #1 spot for UND. Colorado College comes in to this weekend with the league’s worst power play (11.6%), while North Dakota is clipping along at 20.5%. And finally, CC has not played well on the road this year (0-8-1), and historically has had some difficulty adjusting to the narrower NHL ice sheet.

Colorado College Team Profile

Head Coach: Scott Owens (15th season at CC, 319-217-51, .587)

Pairwise Ranking: 52nd
National Ranking: NR
This Season: 2-13-3 overall, 2-5-3 NCHC (5th)
Last Season: 18-19-5 overall, 11-13-4 WCHA (8th)

Team Offense: 1.67 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 3.17 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 11.6% (8 of 69)
Penalty Kill: 80.9% (55 of 68)

Key Players: Senior F Alexander Krushelnyski (4-7-11), Freshman F Alex Roos (4-4-8), Senior F Jeff Collett (3-4-7), Freshman D Jaccob Slavin (1-8-9), Senior D Eamonn McDermott (0-2-2), Senior G Josh Thorimbert (2-13-3, 3.08 GAA, .899 SV%)

North Dakota Team Profile

Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (10th season at UND, 244-126-39, .644)

Pairwise Ranking: 21st (tie)
National Ranking: NR
This Season: 9-7-2 overall, 5-5-0 NCHC (3rd)
Last Season: 22-13-7 overall (NCAA West Regional finalist), 14-7-7 WCHA (3rd)

Team Offense: 2.78 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 2.89 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 20.5% (17 of 83)
Penalty Kill: 83.9% (78 of 93)

Key Players: Sophomore F Rocco Grimaldi (6-11-17), Sophomore F Drake Caggiula (5-6-11), Sophomore F Michael Parks (3-8-11), Senior D Dillon Simpson (3-7-10), Sophomore D Jordan Schmaltz (2-8-10), Sophomore G Zane Gothberg (7-5-2, 2.36 GAA, .917 SV%)

By The Numbers

Last Meeting: March 21, 2013 (St. Paul, MN). In the opening game of the 2013 WCHA Final Five, Peter Stoykewych potted the game winner five minutes into overtime and the Tigers upended North Dakota 4-3. UND, which had won three consecutive Final Five titles, got two goals from freshman Drake Caggiula in a losing effort. Colorado College would go on to defeat Minnesota 2-0 before falling to Wisconsin 3-2 in the title game, ending their hopes of advancing to the NCAA tournament.

Last Meeting in Grand Forks: January 12, 2013. North Dakota forward Mitch MacMillan, who was eligible in his first WCHA series after transferring from St. Cloud State, notched a goal and assist in leading to a 5-3 victory over visiting Colorado College. The Tigers, who took Friday’s opener by a score of 4-3, did not have an answer for offensive juggernaut Dan “Jimmer” Senkbeil, who potted the game-winner for his first career goal.

Most Important Meeting: March 27, 1997. UND defeated Colorado College, 6-2, in the Frozen Four Semifinals in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Two nights later, North Dakota downed Boston University, 6-4, to claim its sixth NCAA Championship. North Dakota and Colorado College also met in the 2001 East Regional (Worcester, Mass.), with UND prevailing, 4-1.

All-time Series: UND leads the all-time series, 139-79-10 (.632), including an 83-20-6 (.789) record in games played in Grand Forks. The teams first met in 1948.

Last Ten: North Dakota is 6-4-0 (.600) in the last ten meetings between the teams. UND has only outscored CC 41-34 over the last ten games, with four of UND’s six victories coming by a single goal.

Game News and Notes

UND forward Drake Caggiula has five goals in five career games against Colorado College, while defenseman Dillon Simpson has collected seven points in his eight tilts against the Tigers. CC has not made an appearance in the national tournament since 2011, while North Dakota has made the NCAA’s each of the last eleven seasons. A Friday win for the Green and White would give UND its first six-game winning streak in almost two years. Head coach Scott Owens has coached the Tigers since 1997.

The Prediction

All signs point to a North Dakota sweep this weekend. Saturday’s game will be closer than Friday’s opener, but the Tigers will go home empty-handed. UND 4-1, 3-2.

Published by Dave Berger on 09 Jan 2014

NCHC Midseason Report

At the beginning of the season, I gave you my predicted order of finish in the NCHC:

1. Miami
2. North Dakota
3. St. Cloud State
4. Western Michigan
5. Denver
6. Minnesota-Duluth
7. Colorado College
8. Nebraska-Omaha

And here’s how the race stacks up heading into this weekend’s action:

NCHC 2013-14 Current Standings

Team Record Points
St. Cloud State 6-1-1 19
Nebraska-Omaha 5-2-1 17
North Dakota 5-5-0 15
Denver 4-3-1 14
Colorado College 2-5-3 10
Miami 3-5-0 9
Minnesota-Duluth 3-5-0 9
Western Michigan 3-5-0 9

It is worth noting that North Dakota and Colorado College have each played ten conference games, while the other six NCHC teams have only played eight. Of the top four teams contending for the league title, Nebraska-Omaha appears to have the most manageable schedule. The Mavericks have only one road series remaining against the other three top-half teams.

So far, the biggest surprises to me have been Nebraska-Omaha (positive) and Miami (negative).

In my season preview, I said this about picking Dean Blais’ UNO squad to end up in 8th:

Nebraska-Omaha: Ryan Walters will be in the running for the NCHC player of the year, but will UNO’s influx of young talent (most notably Austin Ortega and Jake Guentzel) keep the Mavs out of the conference cellar? And will Ryan Massa play well enough in net to keep Dean Blais’ squad competitive?

The Mavericks jump-started their NCHC campaign with a pair of 3-2 overtime victories at Denver. UNO is scoring well over three goals per game in league play and are getting contributions from several freshmen. In eight league games, blueliner Ian Brady has collected seven points, and rookie forwards Jake Guentzel (1-6-7) and Austin Ortega (2-2-4) have chipped in as well. Ryan Walters (1-5-6) has been Ryan Walters, but what has put Dean Blais’ squad over the top has been the play of junior forward Josh Archibald, who has collected six goals and four assists in his eight NCHC tilts.

On the other end of the spectrum is a struggling team that I expect will continue to struggle. Coming into the season, Miami was a loaded team with only a couple of question marks. From my season preview:

Can Miami handle the pressure of preseason expectations? Will the RedHawks adjust to a slate of new opponents quickly enough to find itself on top?

And the bottom line is that Enrico Blasi has not been able to guide his team to consecutive league victories. Home splits with North Dakota and Denver, coupled with a 1-3 record at St. Cloud and Nebraska-Omaha, have Miami chasing five teams for the NCHC crown.

We will have a very interesting race for the league title. Take a look at the remaining opponents for the top four teams:

St. Cloud State Home: WMU (2), DU (2), UMD (2), UND (2);
Road: DU (2), UNO (2), Miami (2), CC (2)
Nebraska-Omaha Home: UMD (2), SCSU (2), DU (2), CC (2);
Road: Miami (2), UND (2), WMU (2), UMD (2)
North Dakota Home: CC (2), UNO (2), Miami (2), WMU (2);
Road: DU (2), UMD (2), SCSU (2)
Denver Home: SCSU (2), UND (2), CC (1), Miami (2);
Road: UMD (2), SCSU (2), UNO (2), CC (1), WMU (2)

If I had to predict how the race for home ice would play out, I would put them in this order:

1. St. Cloud State
2. Nebraska-Omaha
3. Denver
4. North Dakota

Thank you for reading. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Published by Dave Berger on 13 Dec 2013

Weekend Preview: UND vs. Northern Michigan

Injuries, inconsistent scoring at even strength, and a below average record in non-conference games.

Sound familiar?

Northern Michigan has scored only 1.25 even strength goals per game (52nd nationally), is just 2-3-1 in non-conference games (against Wisconsin, Nebraska-Omaha, and Western Michigan), and recently sustained the loss of senior defenseman C.J. Ludwig (son of former UND star Craig). Ludwig, who is expected to miss the remainder of the season, had already scored five goals and added seven assists in thirteen games this year.

A bright spot for the Wildcats has been the play of goaltender Mathias Dahlstrom. Listed by various sources as a freshman, a sophomore, and a redshirt freshman, the Swedish netminder already has three shutouts on the young season.

North Dakota is finally getting healthy, reestablishing its scoring lines, and has evened its non-conference record at 2-2-2 with two criticial out-of-conference series remaining. After this weekend, UND only has a January home-and-home series with Bemidji State to solidify its position in the Pairwise rankings. If the season ended today, St. Cloud State is the only NCHC team that would make the tournament.

Northern Michigan Team Profile

Head Coach: (Walt Kyle, 12th season at NMU, 214-194-51, .522)
National Ranking: NR
This Season: 6-8-2 overall, 4-5-1 WCHA (8th)
Last Season: 15-19-4 overall (missed NCAA tournament), 9-15-4-1 CCHA (10th)

Team Offense: 2.31 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 2.44 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 21.5% (17 of 79)
Penalty Kill: 80.5% (66 of 82)

Key Players: Senior F Stephan Vigier (10-5-15), Junior F Ryan Daugherty (2-7-9), Senior F Reed Seckel (5-2-7),Junior D Mitch Jones (0-9-9), Junior D Luke Eibler (1-6-7), Freshman G Mathias Dahlstrom (5-6-2, 2.13 GAA, .929 SV%, 3 SO)

North Dakota Team Profile

Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (10th season at UND, 242-126-39, .643)
National Ranking: NR
This Season: 7-7-2 overall, 5-5-0 NCHC (3rd)
Last Season: 22-13-7 overall (NCAA West Regional finalist), 14-7-7 WCHA (3rd)

Team Offense: 2.69 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 3.12 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 19.5% (15 of 77)
Penalty Kill: 83.5% (71 of 85)

Key Players: Sophomore F Rocco Grimaldi (6-8-14), Sophomore F Drake Caggiula (4-6-10), Sophomore F Michael Parks (3-6-9), Senior D Dillon Simpson (2-7-9), Sophomore D Jordan Schmaltz (2-5-7), Sophomore G Zane Gothberg (5-5-2, 2.61 GAA, .914 SV%)

By The Numbers

Last Meeting: February 15, 1997 (Marquette, MI). One night after the homestanding Wildcats gave their fans a Valentine’s treat by topping UND 2-1, the visiting Fighting Sioux won the second game 5-3 to claim a split of the WCHA series. North Dakota would go on to claim its sixth national championship less than six weeks later, outscoring its three tournament opponents 18-8 and scoring six goals in each contest.

Last Meeting in Grand Forks: November 2, 1996. UND blanked NMU 5-0 one night after winning a 3-2 nailbiter to claim a sweep of the WCHA series. Almost one year earlier, North Dakota dismantled the visiting Wildcats 11-4 in the most lopsided contest in the history of the rivalry.

All-time Series: UND leads the all-time series 27-23-3 (.538), including a stellar 19-8-1 (.696) mark in games played in Grand Forks.

Last Ten: North Dakota has won eight of the last ten games against the Wildcats, outscoring NMU 46-24 over that stretch.

Game News and Notes

Western Michigan finished tenth in the final season of the CCHA, while North Dakota finished third in the last season of the WCHA as we knew it. Wildcat senior forward Stephane Vigier has scored six of his ten goals on the power play. After this weekend, UND will not play an official NCAA game for four weeks. The Green and White will have two weekends off for the holiday break and face British Columbia and Simon Fraser in exhibition action before hosting Colorado College in league play. Northern Michigan has one NCAA title in program history, a 38-5-4 season in 1990-91 while the Wildcats were a member of the WCHA.

The Prediction

Although the games will be tight, North Dakota will carry the play for much of the weekend. At least one of these contests will turn in to a penalty fest, with special teams on both sides carrying the day. I give UND the edge at home, but it won’t be easy. UND 3-2, 2-1.

Published by Dave Berger on 06 Dec 2013

Weekend Preview: UND at Western Michigan

Only five wins overall. Five losses in eight conference games. Unranked and on the outside looking in.

That’s the situation facing Dave Hakstol and the UND men’s hockey team as they travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan to take on Andy Murray and the Western Michigan Broncos. North Dakota can’t afford too many more conference losses if it expects to host the first round of the league playoffs for the eleventh consecutive year. The only other team with as many conference losses is Colorado College (1-5-2-1 NCHC, 1-10-2 overall), and I’m certain that UND does not want to be mentioned in that company this season.

Andy Murray, formerly head coach of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues, is hoping to get his squad back to the NCAA tournament after a disappointing bubble last season. WMU finished at 19-11-8 last year, narrowly missing the big dance. The Broncos are led up front by senior Shane Berschbach (19 points in 14 games) and are allowing just over two goals per game (2.14).

North Dakota, which has struggled offensively at even strength this season, will find tough going against Western Michigan. Junior goaltender Frank Slubowski has played nearly every minute for the Broncos, and his 2.23 goals-against average and .925 save percentage speak for themselves.

UND is getting a bit healthier every week. Junior forward Brendan O’Donnell and senior forward Derek Rodwell have returned to the lineup, while junior center Mark MacMillan has practiced all week and could possibly play this weekend. Dave Hakstol has hinted that he might insert MacMillan at wing to ease him back into gameplay. Junior forward Colten St. Clair is still a few weeks away from returning, but things are getting better all the time for the Green and White.

Western Michigan Team Profile

Head Coach: (Andy Murray, 3rd season at WMU, 46-30-17, .586)
National Ranking: NR
This Season: 6-5-3 overall, 2-2-0 NCHC (t-5th)
Last Season: 19-11-8 overall (missed NCAA tournament), 15-7-6-3 CCHA (3rd)

Team Offense: 2.43 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 2.14 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 13.9% (10 of 72)
Penalty Kill: 85.9% (67 of 78)

Key Players: Senior F Shane Berschbach (7-12-19), Junior F Justin Kovacs (5-9-14), Senior F Chase Balisy (1-8-9), Junior D Jordan Oesterle (2-5-7 in 8 games), Senior D Dennis Brown (2-3-5), Junior G Frank Slubowski (5-4-3, 2.23 GAA, .925 SV%)

North Dakota Team Profile

Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (10th season at UND, 240-126-39, .641)
National Ranking: NR
This Season: 5-7-2, 3-5-0 NCHC (4th)
Last Season: 22-13-7 overall (NCAA West Regional finalist), 14-7-7 WCHA (3rd)

Team Offense: 2.64 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 3.29 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 17.9% (12 of 67)
Penalty Kill: 83.3% (60 of 72)

Key Players: Sophomore F Rocco Grimaldi (5-7-11), Sophomore F Drake Caggiula (4-5-9), Sophomore F Michael Parks (3-6-9), Senior D Dillon Simpson (1-6-7), Junior D Nick Mattson (1-5-6), Sophomore G Zane Gothberg (3-5-2, 2.75 GAA, .908 SV%)

By The Numbers

Last Meeting: March 24, 2012 (St. Paul, MN). North Dakota upended Western Michigan 3-1 in the NCAA West Regional semifinal. Brock Nelson had two points, including an empty net goal with 25 seconds remaining that sent UND to the regional finals against Minnesota. Aaron Dell made 24 saves for the Green and White.

Last Meeting in Kalamazoo: January 4, 1997. One night after the Fighting Sioux dismantled the homestanding Broncos 6-3, UND nearly duplicated the feat, winning 5-3 to secure the road sweep. North Dakota would go on to claim its sixth national championship less than three months later, outscoring its three tournament opponents 18-8 and scoring six goals in each contest.

Most Important Meeting: The West Regional semifinal (above) was the only time the two teams have met in postseason play, so that certainly qualifies as the most important meeting. This weekend’s NCHC action, the first league games between the schools, rates a close second.

All-time Series: UND has won all five meetings between the schools, outscoring the Broncos 31-13. The teams first met in 1997.

Game News and Notes

WMU head coach Andy Murray is in his third season behind the Bronco bench; Murray’s son, Brady, played for the Fighting Sioux from 2003-05. Western Michigan finished third in the last season of the CCHA, while North Dakota finished third in the last season of the WCHA as we knew it. Seven current UND skaters appeared in the NCAA regional semifinal in March 2012. Michael Parks scored a goal for North Dakota, while Mark MacMillan added an assist. Both teams play on the narrower NHL ice surface (85 x 200 feet).

The Prediction

At this point, I can’t see either team winning both games. Friday’s opener will be a low-scoring affair, with Saturday’s rematch seeing the teams open it up a bit more to add offense. WMU 2-1, UND 4-2.

Published by Dave Berger on 29 Nov 2013

Weekend Preview: UND vs. St. Lawrence

These non-conference matchups are critical for both schools, as both UND and St. Lawrence hope to be in the mix for the NCAA tournament at the end of the year. Over the past eight-plus seasons, North Dakota has taken advantage of its non-league games, going 41-14-12 (.701) over that stretch.

UND opened its non-conference season at home (taking three points from visiting Vermont) before managing just a tie in two games at Boston University. After the series this weekend, North Dakota will host Northern Michigan (6-5-1, 4-2-0 WCHA) and play a home-and-home series with Bemidji State (5-7-2, 5-4-1 WCHA).

St. Lawrence is 4th in the nation in goals per game (3.86) and 4th in power play percentage (28 percent).
The Saints have been dreadful on the penalty kill, allowing 16 power play goals on the young season.
SLU is also one of the few teams in college hockey allowing more goals/game than North Dakota, surrendering 3.64 goals per contest to UND’s 3.25.

On the injury front, North Dakota will be playing without several key forwards against the Saints. Mark MacMillan and Colten St. Clair continue to be unavailable, while Derek Rodwell’s status is questionable. Junior forward Brendan O’Donnell returned to the UND lineup last weekend against the Terriers and played perhaps his best game in green and white on Saturday night. To make up for the shortage up front, head coach Dave Hakstol will move defenseman Andrew Panzerella to forward for the Subway Holiday Classic.

St. Lawrence Team Profile

Head Coach: Greg Carvel (2nd season at SLU, 25-21-6, .538)
National Ranking: NR
This Season: 7-5-2, 2-2-2 ECAC (t-7th)
Last Season: 18-16-4, 9-9-4 ECAC (t-5th)

Team Offense: 3.86 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 3.64 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 27.9% (19 of 68)
Penalty Kill: 76.1% (51 of 67)

Key Players: Senior F Greg Carey (9-15-24), Freshman F Matt Carey (8-9-17), Senior F Jeremy Wick (5-9-14), Senior D Justin Baker (4-9-13) Freshman D Gavin Bayreuther (4-7-11), Senior G Matt Weninger (5-4-2, 3.57 GAA, .872 SV%)

North Dakota Team Profile

Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (10th season at UND, 239-125-39, .641)
National Ranking: NR
This Season: 4-6-2, 3-5-0 NCHC (4th)
Last Season: 22-13-7 overall (NCAA West Regional finalist), 14-7-7 WCHA (3rd)

Team Offense: 2.67 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 3.25 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 19.2% (10 of 52)
Penalty Kill: 85.7% (54 of 63)

Key Players: Sophomore F Rocco Grimaldi (4-7-11), Sophomore F Drake Caggiula (4-4-8), Sophomore F Michael Parks (3-6-9), Senior D Dillon Simpson (1-5-6), Junior D Nick Mattson (1-5-6), Sophomore G Zane Gothberg (2-5-2, 2.84 GAA, .906 SV%)

By The Numbers

Last meeting: December 30, 2006 (Hanover, NH). UND tripped up St. Lawrence 4-2 in the championship game of the Ledyard National Bank Classic behind two goals from Ryan Duncan, who was named tournament MVP. North Dakota came into the weekend on a four-game losing streak but righted the ship behind stellar play from goaltender Phillippe Lamoureux, Duncan, Robbie Bina, and T.J. Oshie, who were all named to the all-tournament team.

Last meeting in Grand Forks: November 25, 2000. St. Larwrence scored the first two goals of the game but could not contain Wes Dorey (two goals) and Travis Roche (one goal, two assists) as the Fighting Sioux toppled SLU 4-2. Jeff Panzer, Kevin Spiewak, and Bryan Lundbohm also had multi-point nights for North Dakota, which also won Friday’s opener, 6-1.

Most important meeting: February 20 and 21, 1987 (Grand Forks, ND). The Hrkac Circus dismantled St. Lawrence in a best-of-three NCAA quarterfinal series, taking down the Saints 3-1 and 6-3 on their way to the program’s fifth national championship.

All-time record: UND leads the all-time series, 11-1-0 (.917), including a perfect 6-0-0 mark in games played in Grand Forks. North Dakota’s only loss to SLU was in Canton, New York during the 1981-82 season, a campaign that also ended in an NCAA title for the Fighting Sioux.

Last Ten: UND has won nine of the previous ten games between the schools, outscoring the Saints 47-21 over that stretch of games.

Game News and Notes

UND is unbeaten in its last four Subway Holiday Classic weekends (6-0-2, .875), and is 15-5-2 (.727) all-time at the event. St. Lawrence has been a member of the ECAC since 1961 and has won the regular season title twice (2000 and 2007). North Dakota put 96 shots on net last weekend against Boston University but scored only four goals. SLU senior forward Greg Carey has collected 152 points in his NCAA career, the most among active players. Carey, a Hobey Baker finalist last season, has scored 33 of his 75 career goals with the man advantage.

The Prediction

Often, when two teams haven’t played in a while, the first period or two of the first game are played pretty close to the vest, without much action either way. I feel like this weekend’s games will be wide open from the outset, with plenty of chances for both teams. It’ll come down to special teams and goaltending, with a late power play on Saturday night salvaging a tie for the visiting Saints. UND 5-4, 4-4 tie.

Published by Dave Berger on 22 Nov 2013

Weekend Preview: UND at Boston University

These non-conference matchups are critical for both schools, as UND and BU hope to be in the mix for the NCAA tournament at the end of the year. Over the past eight-plus seasons, North Dakota has taken advantage of its non-league games, going 41-13-11 (.715) over that stretch.

UND opened its non-conference season at home, taking three points from visiting Vermont. After this weekend’s games at Boston University, North Dakota will host St. Lawrence (6-4-2, 2-2-2- ECAC) and Northern Michigan (4-5-1, 2-2-0 WCHA) and play a home-and-home series with Bemidji State (4-6-2, 4-3-1 WCHA).

For the first time in over 40 years, the legendary Jack Parker will not be behind the bench as the head coach of the BU Terriers. Parker coached over 1400 games and led the Terriers to three NCAA titles (1978, 1995, 2009). Jack Parker led BU to 34 winning seasons in his career. During one nine season stretch (1989-1998), Boston University made nine consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament, advanced to the Frozen Four seven times, and played in four title games, claiming the trophy in 1995.

On the injury front, North Dakota will be playing without several key forwards against Boston University. Mark MacMillan, Colten St. Clair, and Brendan O’Donnell will all miss this weekend’s action, while Derek Rodwell’s availability is questionable. The four have combined for 7 goals and 3 assists in 25 games this season. To make up for the shortage up front, head coach Dave Hakstol will move defensemen Gage Ausmus and Andrew Panzerella to forward for the games at Agganis Arena.

Boston University Team Profile

Head Coach: David Quinn (1st season at BU, 5-6-0, .455)
National Ranking: NR
This Season: 5-6-0, 2-3-0 Hockey East (t-6th)
Last Season: 21-16-2, 15-10-2 Hockey East (t-3rd)

Team Offense: 2.36 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 3.00 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 20.9% (9 of 43)
Penalty Kill: 81.6% (40 of 49)

Key Players: Junior F Cason Hohmann (2-6-8), Freshman F Robbie Baillargeon (3-6-9), Sophomore F Danny O’Regan (4-3-7), Senior D Garrett Noonan (2-6-8), Sophomore D Ahti Oksanen (2-7-9), Sophomore G Sean Maguire (1-4-0, 2.49 GAA, .929 SV%)

North Dakota Team Profile

Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (10th season at UND, 239-124-38, .643)
National Ranking: #15
This Season: 4-5-1, 3-5-0 NCHC (t-2nd)
Last Season: 22-13-7 overall (NCAA West Regional finalist), 14-7-7 WCHA (3rd)

Team Offense: 2.80 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 3.30 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 20.9% (9 of 43)
Penalty Kill: 87.8% (43 of 49)

Key Players: Sophomore F Rocco Grimaldi (3-7-10), Sophomore F Drake Caggiula (4-4-8), Sophomore F Michael Parks (3-4-7), Senior D Dillon Simpson (1-5-6), Junior D Nick Mattson (1-4-5), Senior G Clarke Saunders (2-0-0, 3.62 GAA, .907 SV%)

By The Numbers

Last meeting: November 3, 2012 (Grand Forks, ND). Boston University scored three third period goals, including two goals just 11 seconds apart in the final two minutes, to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 road victory. BU defenseman Alexx Privitera assisted on the game-winning goal but is perhaps better remembered for hitting a UND student with his stick near the penalty box in Friday’s opener, which North Dakota won, 4-2.

Last meeting in Boston: October 10, 2008. The Terriers blitzed North Dakota 5-1 in the opening game of the 2008 Ice Breaker Tournament. Early in the second period, UND knotted the game at 1-1. Within 38 seconds, Boston University had scored two goals and was off to the races. Brad Miller scored the lone goal for the Fighting Sioux.

Most important meeting: March 29, 1997. UND scores five goals in the second period and goes on to defeat Boston University 6-4 for the 1997 NCAA championship. David Hoogsteen scores two goals for the Fighting Sioux, including a back-breaker with six seconds remaining in the middle frame.

All-time record: North Dakota leads the all-time series, 12-8-1 (.595), helped by a stellar 6-1-1 (.813) record in games played in Grand Forks. When the newly-formed Hockey East began play in 1984-1985, it created a five-year interlocking schedule with the WCHA. During that time, Boston University and North Dakota met 7 times, with John “Gino” Gasparini’s Fighting Sioux squad going 6-1-0 against Jack Parker’s Terriers.

Last Ten: Boston University has had the better of the play of late, going 5-4-1 against UND in the last ten matchups. The Terriers have outscored UND 39-36 during that span.

Game News and Notes

UND forward Conner Gaarder scored a hat trick in the opening game of last season’s series in Grand Forks, and has one goal in 40 games since then. North Dakota is unbeaten (5-0-1) when Gaarder lights the lamp. Both teams are allowing an average of three or more goals per game (BU 3.00, UND 3.30). North Dakota senior captain Dillon Simpson picked up a goal and three assists last weekend in a home split with Minnesota-Duluth and was named NCHC Defenseman of the Week. The Terriers play on a hybrid sheet of ice at Agannis Arena; the playing surface is 90 feet wide; five feet wider than NHL rinks but not as wide as the Olympic ice sheets (100 feet wide). Friday’s game will be shown on NBC Sports Network, while Saturday’s action can be found on Midco Sports Network.

The Prediction

Both teams are struggling to find themselves and put together a consistent weekend of hockey. I don’t see either team running away with this series, so I’ll give the Terriers Friday’s opener, with North Dakota roaring back in the rematch on Saturday. BU 3-2, UND 4-3.

Published by Dave Berger on 15 Nov 2013

Weekend Preview: UND vs. Minnesota-Duluth

51-20-12. That’s the record that Minnesota-Duluth compiled from 2010-2012. In 2010-11, the Bulldogs won the national title, and they followed that up with a berth in the Northeast Regional final at the end of the 2012 campaign (falling to Boston College).

But last season was a different story. UMD won only 14 games (14-19-5) and finished ninth in the last season of the WCHA as it used to be. Despite a national championship to his credit, head coach Scott Sandelin is only three games over .500 (235-232-64, .503) during his tenure at Duluth. Now in his 14th season behind the bench, Sandelin has notched 20 or more victories six times, claimed one WCHA playoff championship, led Duluth to the national tournament four times, and brought his teams to two Frozen Fours.

By contrast, UND head coach Dave Hakstol, now in his tenth season coaching at his alma mater, already has 238 wins to his credit (238-123-38, .644). In each of his nine campaigns, Hakstol has won at least 20 games and brought UND to the NCAA tournament. He boasts two MacNaughton Cups (WCHA regular season title), four Broadmoor trophies (WCHA playoff title), and five Frozen Four appearances.

At the end of the 2010-11 season, many expected these two squads to go to battle for the national title. Duluth held up their end of the bargain, dispatching Notre Dame in their semifinal. UND fell short, however, falling to Michigan 2-0 in heartbreaking fashion.

The early standings in the NCHC are misleading, with UND tied for 3rd place and Minnesota-Duluth in 8th. North Dakota has already played six league games, while the Bulldogs have only played one conference series (a road split at Colorado College). By winning percentage order, Duluth is squarely in the middle of the pack, tied with Miami for fourth place. UND, at 2-4-0, sits in seventh.

North Dakota’s lineup will be a question mark up until game time, as several players are battling the flu bug and the injury bug. If UND is able to dress a full complement of 18 skaters, it will be an accomplishment.

Minnesota-Duluth Team Profile

Head Coach: Scott Sandelin (14th season at UMD, 235-232-64,.504)
National Ranking: #20
This Season: 4-3-1 overall, 1-1-0 NCHC (8th)
Last Season: 14-19-5 overall, 10-13-5 WCHA (9th)

Team Offense: 2.50 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 1.88 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 9.8% (4 of 41)
Penalty Kill: 93.6% (44 of 47)

Key Players: Freshman F Alex Iafallo (3-3-6), Senior F Joe Basaraba (2-2-4), Sophomore F Tony Cameranesi (1-2-3), Freshman D Carson Soucy (0-4-4), Sophomore D Andy Welinski (1-2-3), Senior G Aaron Crandall (3-2-0, 1.81 GAA, .925 SV%)

North Dakota Team Profile

Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (10th season at UND, 238-123-38, .644)
National Ranking: #13
This Season: 3-4-1, 2-4-0 NCHC (t-3rd)
Last Season: 22-13-7 overall (NCAA West Regional finalist), 14-7-7 WCHA (3rd)

Team Offense: 2.62 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 3.12 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 18.2% (6 of 33)
Penalty Kill: 92.5% (37 of 40)

Key Players: Sophomore F Rocco Grimaldi (2-5-7), Junior F Mark MacMillan (2-2-4), Sophomore F Drake Caggiula (4-2-6), Sophomore F Michael Parks (2-4-6), Senior D Dillon Simpson (0-2-2), Junior D Nick Mattson (1-3-4), Sophomore G Zane Gothberg (2-4-1, 2.84 GAA. .908 SV%)

By The Numbers

Last Meeting: November 17, 2012 (Grand Forks, ND). UND sophomore forward Mark MacMillan tied the game early in the third period and potted the game winner in overtime as North Dakota downed visiting Duluth 4-3. The victory marked UND’s first Saturday night win of the season and the first time North Dakota had won a home overtime game since March 2009. The two teams skated to a 4-4 draw in Friday’s opener.

Most Important Meeting: March 22, 1984 (Lake Placid, NY) Minnesota-Duluth and North Dakota met in the national semifinal game, with the Bulldogs defeating the Fighting Sioux 2-1 in overtime to advance to the championship. UND went on to defeat Michigan State 6-5 (OT) for third place, while Duluth fell to Bowling Green 5-4 in four overtimes, the longest championship game ever played.

All-time Series: UND leads the all-time series, 136-75-9 (.639), including a 76-31-3 (.705) record in games played in Grand Forks.

Last Ten: North Dakota is 7-2-1 (.750) in the last ten games between the teams. UND has outscored Duluth 40-19 in the past ten contests. Both losses were by a single goal.

Game News and Notes

North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol is 19-7-3 (.707) against Minnesota-Duluth in his head coaching career. During last season’s series in Grand Forks, the two teams combined for 94 penalty minutes Both head coaches this weekend are alumni of the University of North Dakota: Dave Hakstol (’92) and Scott Sandelin (’86) both played for UND.

The Prediction

This is another of those weekends that has split written all over it, but I have a hunch that the short week of practice and all of the adversity that UND has faced up until this point will result in a gritty performance on Friday night. I think Saturday’s rematch is a closer affair, with North Dakota coming out on top. UND 4-2, 4-3 (OT).

Next »