This has all the makings of an upset weekend. North Dakota, fresh off of a three point weekend against Minnesota, travels up to Anchorage to take on the Seawolves. Despite dominating UAA in Grand Forks (24-3-3), the Fighting Sioux are just one game over .500 (14-13-0) in games played up where “you can see Russia from my house”.
UND did notch a two-game sweep in Anchorage last season, but needed Chay Genoway’s overtime goal to do it. Before that, the last Sioux road sweep of the Seawolves was in January 2003.
This season, UAA has competed in two tournaments in Alaska, the Kendall Hockey Classic and the Brice Alaska Gold Rush. The Seawolves split their games in each tournament, and bring a 2-2-0 non-conference mark into the weekend series with North Dakota. The Fighting Sioux have not lost this season, sweeping Merrimack and taking three of four points from the Gophers.
Alaska-Anchorage Team Profile
Head Coach: (Dave Shyiak, 5th season at UAA, 42-88-19, .346)
National Ranking: NR
This Season: 2-2-0, 0-0-0 WCHA
Last Season: 14-17-5 overall, 9-14-5 WCHA (9th)
Team Offense: 3.00 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 3.50 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 15.8% (3 of 19)
Penalty Kill: 83.3% (20 of 24)
Key Players: Senior F Kevin Clark (3-2-5), Junior F Tommy Grant (2-3-5), Senior F Josh Lunden (2-1-3), Sophomore D Curtis Leinweber (1-2-3), Junior D Kane Lafranchise (0-2-2), Senior G Jon Olthuis (2-1-0, 2.69 GAA, .897 SV%, 1 SO)
North Dakota Team Profile
Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (6th season at UND, 133-71-20, .638)
National Ranking: #2/#2
This Season: 3-0-1, 1-0-1 WCHA
Last Season: 24-15-4 overall (NCAA Northeast Regional semifinalist), 17-7-4 WCHA (1st)
Team Offense: 3.75 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 1.75 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 24.0% (6 of 25)
Penalty Kill: 100.0% (15 of 15)
Key Players: Senior F Chris VandeVelde (1-3-4), Sophomore F Jason Gregoire (2-0-2), Sophomore F Brett Hextall (2-0-2), Senior D Chay Genoway (3-3-6), Sophomore G Brad Eidsness (3-0-1, 1.72 GAA, .908 SV%, 1 SO)
By The Numbers
Last meeting: February 21, 2009 (Anchorage, AK). Kevin Clark scored for the homestanding Seawolves less than three minutes into the game, but the Fighting Sioux tallied three goals of their own in the opening period and completed the road sweep with a 6-2 victory. Chris Vandevelde netted a hat trick on Saturday, while Chay Genoway scored the overtime winner for UND on Friday night.
Most Important Meeting: March 19, 2004 (St. Paul, MN). The Fighting Sioux and Seawolves met in the semifinal round of the WCHA Final Five, and UND cruised to the championship game with a 4-2 victory.
All-time Series: UND leads the all-time series, 39-16-3 (.698) and holds a slim advantage (14-13-0) in games played in Anchorage. The Fighting Sioux have only lost once in the last eight meetings between the teams (6-1-1), with two of those eight games going to overtime.
Game News and Notes
Both games this weekend will be televised live on the Fighting Sioux Sports Network, but will not be carried on Fox College Sports. The puck drops at 10:07 Central Time both nights. North Dakota sophomore forwards Jason Gregoire and Brett Hextall have each scored four points in four career games against the Seawolves. These games mark the WCHA conference opener for the Seawolves and the first road trip of the season for North Dakota.
Friday’s game will be the troublesome game for North Dakota, and the result will hinge on special teams play. I expect the opener to be tied going into the third, with one goaltender or the other stealing the game. Saturday’s rematch will be all UND. UAA 3-2, UND 5-1.
As always, thank you for reading. I welcome your comments and suggestions.