Game Preview: UND vs. Alaska-Anchorage

North Dakota’s power play is on fire, and that spells doom for the Seawolves this weekend.

UND comes into this weekend’s series riding a five-game winning streak. During that five game span, the Sioux have converted 39 percent (9 of 23) of power-play opportunities. Prior to their current winning streak, North Dakota’s success rate with the man advantage was 14.7 percent. For the season, Alaska-Anchorage has killed off less than 80 percent (87 of 109) of its shorthanded situations.

Special teams will definitely be a factor this weekend, as the two teams combine for over 34 penalty minutes per game (UND 19.43, UAA 15.18). The Seawolves have allowed 22 power play goals this season; the Sioux, 14.

Anchorage will need to strike quickly to stay in these games. For the season, North Dakota has outscored opponents 27-7 in the first period, and holds a record of 8-2-1 (.773) when scoring first. When opponents score first, North Dakota is 6-6-0 (.500).

Alaska-Anchorage Team Profile
National Rankings: -/-
Head Coach: Dave Shyiak (3rd season at UAA, 25-58-12, .326)
This Season: 6-10-6 Overall, 2-10-4 WCHA (10th)
Special Teams: Power Play 17.4% (16 of 92), Penalty Kill 79.8% (87 of 109)
Last Season: 13-21-3, 8-19-1 WCHA (10th)
Key Players: Sophomore F Kevin Clark (7-13-20), Sophomore F Paul Crowder (6-11-17), Sophomore F Josh Lunden (10-9-19), Junior D Mat Robinson (2-10-12), Sophomore G Jon Olthius (5-10-6, 3.11 GAA, .880 SV)

North Dakota Team Profile
National Rankings: #4/#4
Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (4th season at UND, 92-53-12, .624)
This Season: 14-8-1 Overall, 11-7-0 WCHA (3rd)
Special Teams: Power Play 20.4% (20 of 98), Penalty Kill 87.6% (99 of 113)
Last Season: 24-14-5 (Frozen Four semifinalist), 13-10-5 WCHA (3rd)
Key Players: Junior F Ryan Duncan (10-13-23), Junior F T.J. Oshie (10-12-22), Sophomore F Chris VandeVelde (9-11-20), Senior D Robbie Bina (2-18-20), Junior D Taylor Chorney (2-16-18), Senior G Jean-Philippe Lamoureux (14-8-1, 1.87 GAA, .929 SV)

By The Numbers
Last Meeting: January 13, 2007 (Grand Forks, ND). The Fighting Sioux blank the Seawolves, 4-0, after skating to a 3-3 tie the previous night. A heated exchange during the pre-game warm-up carried over onto the ice, as North Dakota forward Rylan Kaip and Alaska-Anchorage captain Chad Anderson were ejected following their second-period fight. UND held UAA scoreless on 10 power-play opportunities for the weekend.
Most important meeting: March 19, 2004, St. Paul, MN (Final Five Semifinal). North Dakota defeats Alaska-Anchorage, 4-2, to advance to the championship game the following night. The Sioux outshoot the Seawolves, 45-24, and the two teams combine for 56 penalty minutes, 30 in the third period alone.
All-time: North Dakota leads the all-time series, 34-16-2 (.673).

Game News and Notes
UND has won at least one game on 21 consecutive regular-season weekends, tops among WCHA teams. UND senior netminder Jean-Phillippe Lamoureux has 92 career starts, and is now fourth all-time among Sioux goaltenders, behind only Toby Kvalevog (121 games played from 1993-97), Karl Goehring (118, 1997-2001), and Peter Waselovich (104, 1973-77). North Dakota forwards T.J. Oshie and Ryan Duncan are the top two active career point leaders in the WCHA. Oshie leads the way with 119 points in 108 career games, and Duncan is second with 116 points in 111 games. No other active WCHA player has more than 100 career points.

The Prediction
The Sioux are loaded with talent and hitting their stride. Barring a major letdown or a line brawl, North Dakota will pick up its second consecutive sweep this weekend and head to Mariucci riding a seven-game winning streak. UND 4-1, 4-2.

Thank you for reading. I welcome your comments and suggestions.

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