North Dakota and Massachusetts are both looking to rebound from opening-day losses at the Icebreaker Invitational in Boston. UND lost 5-1 to Boston University, while Michigan State University downed the Minutemen 3-1 behind a 36-save performance from Jeff Lerg.
As we have seen in recent years, non-conference results play a critical role in determining the 16-team field for the NCAA tournament. Neither team wants to begin the 2008-09 campaign with two losses.
UMass returns seven of its top ten scorers from a squad that was ranked as high as #5 in the country last season. Despite a large question mark at the goaltending position, the Fighting Sioux expect to be in the mix at the end of the year.
Massachusetts Team Profile
Head Coach: Don “Toot” Cahoon (9th season at UMass, 115-147-28, .445)
National Rankings: -/-
This Season: 0-1-0, 0-0-0 Hockey East
Last Season: 14-16-6, 9-13-5 Hockey East (8th)
Key Returning Players (last season‘s statistics): Sophomore F James Marcou (8-24-32), Senior F Cory Quirk (11-18-29), Senior F Chris Davis (6-17-23), Junior D Justin Braun (4-16-20), Junior D Martin Nolet (2-4-6), Sophomore G Paul Dainton (12-14-6, 2.56 GAA, .911 SV)
North Dakota Team Profile
Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (5th season at UND, 106-57-15, .638)
National Rankings: #5/#4
This Season: 0-1-0, 0-0-0 WCHA
Last Season: 28-11-4 (Frozen Four semifinalist), 18-7-3 WCHA (2nd)
Key Returning Players (last season‘s statistics): Senior F Ryan Duncan (18-22-40), Junior F Chris VandeVelde (15-17-32), Senior F Andrew Kozek (18-3-21), Junior D Chay Genoway (8-21-29), Senior D Joe Finley (4-11-15)
Game News and Notes
Saturday’s contest will mark the first ever meeting between these two teams. Massachusetts outshot Michigan State 37-16 on Friday night but lost 3-1; the Minutemen finished 0 for 6 on the power play. Only 3753 fans showed up for Friday’s matchup between UND and BU.
North Dakota will come out flying after Friday’s 5-1 loss to the Terriers. The Minutemen could find some success countering UND’s aggressive style, but the Sioux will prove too much for UMass. UND 3-2.