The two teams have met twelve times over the past two seasons, and will play at least four games this year. In addition to the normal league schedule, the two teams met at the Great Lakes Invitational in December 2008 and have faced each other in the league playoffs each of the past two seasons. It is possible that the Huskies will play back-to-back weekends in Grand Forks in March, depending on the league playoff pairings.
Twelve games in two seasons is believed to be the most against one opponent in that span.
The Huskies have struggled on special teams so far this season, converting only 12.5 percent on the power play and killing less than 66 percent of penalties. Conversely, UND is over 24 percent with the man advantage and has allowed only one power play goal this season (27 of 28, 96.4%). If these statistics weren’t bad enough for Michigan Tech, consider that MTU is taking an average of six more minutes in penalties per game than their opponents (21 minutes to 15 minutes), while the Fighting Sioux are nearly even (20.5 minutes to 18.8 minutes). Michigan Tech must play at even strength this weekend to compete.
Michigan Tech Team Profile
Head Coach: (Jamie Russell, 7th season at MTU, 63-141-32, .335)
National Ranking: NR
This Season: 2-4-0, 1-3-0 WCHA
Last Season: 6-25-7 overall, 2-19-7 WCHA (10th)
Team Offense: 2.67 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 3.67 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 12.5% (4 of 32)
Penalty Kill: 65.9% (27 of 41)
Key Players: Sophomore F Brett Olson (4-6-10), Senior F Malcolm Gwilliam (5-3-8), Sophomore F Alex MacLeod (2-2-4), Freshman D Steven Seigo (0-5-5), Freshman G Kevin Genoe (1-2-0, 2.22 GAA, .924 SV%)
North Dakota Team Profile
Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (6th season at UND, 134-72-20, .637)
National Ranking: #3/#2
This Season: 4-1-1, 2-1-1 WCHA
Last Season: 24-15-4 overall (NCAA Northeast Regional semifinalist), 17-7-4 WCHA (1st)
Team Offense: 3.50 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 1.50 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 24.3% (9 of 37)
Penalty Kill: 96.4% (27 of 28)
Key Players: Senior F Chris VandeVelde (1-5-6), Sophomore F Jason Gregoire (3-0-3), Sophomore F Brett Hextall (2-0-2), Senior D Chay Genoway (4-3-7), Sophomore G Brad Eidsness (3-1-1, 1.78 GAA, .906 SV%, 1 SO)
By The Numbers
Last Meeting: March 14, 2009 (Grand Forks, ND). North Dakota held on for a 4-3 victory and a sweep of the WCHA first-round playoff series. It would turn out to be UND’s last victory of the 2008-09 season, as the Fighting Sioux lost both games at the WCHA Final Five (to Minnesota-Duluth and Wisconsin) and dropped their NCAA tournament opener to New Hampshire in overtime.
Last Meeting in Houghton: January 7, 2009. UND freshman net minder Brad Eidsness picked up his first career shutout (14 saves) as North Dakota rolled 5-0 to gain three points out of the weekend series with the homestanding Huskies.
Most Important Meeting: The Sioux and Huskies have never met in the NCAA tournament, so I will go with the most important meeting that never was: in 1965, the Sioux lost to Boston College, 4-3, one game short of the national championship game, where they would have faced the Michigan Tech Huskies, who won the second of their three titles by defeating the Eagles. UND settled for third place that season, downing Brown University, 9-5. North Dakota went 13-3-0 in the regular season in 1964-65, with two of those three losses coming at the hands of Michigan Tech.
All-time Series: UND leads the all-time series, 136-90-9 (.598), including a slim 57-55-5 (.509) record in Houghton. The teams first met in 1948.
Game News and Notes
Sioux seniors Chay Genoway and Chris Vandevelde have each notched ten points in 13 career games against Michigan Tech. MTU senior forward Malcolm Gwilliam is off to a great start after returning from a stroke. Gwilliam has five goals and three assists in his first six games. This weekend’s series will mark the beginning of seven consecutive weekends with at least one game for North Dakota. UND will not be idle again until December 25th and 26th.
If Michigan Tech can stay out of the penalty box against UND, they have a shot at a split. If there’s a parade to the penalty box, North Dakota’s edge in special teams will show up on the scoreboard. 2-2 tie, UND 5-1.