December 15th and 16th, 2006. The last home hockey series before the Christmas break. The Fighting Sioux held a 5-6-1 record in conference play, and hoped to improve on that mark against the Michigan Tech Huskies.
Jamie Russell’s Huskies had other plans.
Michigan Tech swept UND, 3-1 and 3-2, at Ralph Engelstad Arena to send the Sioux home for Christmas to do some soul-searching.
“What we did tonight was not enough,” said UND head coach Dave Hakstol after Saturday night’s contest, “but there’s a lot of fight left in this dog.”
A lot of fight, indeed. After the break, UND posted a 17-4-4 record the rest of the way in advancing to its third consecutive Frozen Four.
This season, both teams are off to good starts. Michigan Tech (3-1-0), hoping to build on last season’s successes, swept Minnesota-State Mankato last weekend in the WCHA opener for both schools. The Huskies outscored the Mavericks 9-1 on the weekend. UND (2-0-1) has faced both national championship teams from last season (Boston College and Michigan State), and in three games, the Sioux have yet to give up a goal.
Michigan Tech Team Profile
National Rankings: #14/#15
Head Coach: Jamie Russell (5th season at MTU, 44-93-20, .344)
This Season: 3-1-0, 2-0-0 WCHA
Last Season: 18-17-5, 11-12-5 WCHA (6th)
Key Returning Players: Senior F Peter Rouleau (1-3-4), Senior F Tyler Shelast (3-0-3), Junior D Geoff Kinrade (0-4-4), Junior G Michael-Lee Teslak (1-1-0, 1.50 GAA, .929 SV)
North Dakota Team Profile
National Rankings: #1/#1
Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (4th season at UND, 81-45-12, .630)
This Season: 2-0-1, 0-0-0 WCHA
Last Season: 24-14-5 (Frozen Four semifinalist), 13-10-5 WCHA (3rd)
Key Returning Players: Junior F Ryan Duncan (1-1-2), Junior F T.J. Oshie (1-0-1), Junior D Taylor Chorney (0-3-3), Senior D Robbie Bina (0-2-2), Senior G Jean-Philippe Lamoureux (2-0-1, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 SV)
By The Numbers
Last Meeting: December 15-16, 2006. Michigan Tech sweeps the series in Grand Forks, 3-1 and 3-2, for its first sweep over North Dakota in 14 years.
Last Meeting in Houghton: December 2-3, 2005. UND sweeps the series, 6-1 and 8-2.
All-time: UND leads the all-time series, 128-87-8 (.592). The teams first met in 1948.
Game News and Notes
In its last 22 games in Houghton, the Fighting Sioux have collected 20 wins against 1 loss and 1 tie. Last Friday’s game against Boston College was just the second 0-0 tie in Fighting Sioux hockey history. UND and Michigan Tech played to a 0-0 (no OT) tie in the first game of a two-game, total goals series in the 1968 WCHA playoffs. This weekend’s series will mark the first time in 20 years that the Fighting Sioux have opened up their WCHA schedule at Michigan Tech. UND Junior F T.J. Oshie needs two points to reach the century mark for his career.
I have a feeling that the Huskies will be ready for this weekend’s series. A split is likely, although I will go with three points for UND based on the play of Lamoureux. UND 2-1 Friday, 1-1 tie Saturday.