Weekend Preview: UND vs. Minnesota-Duluth

51-20-12. That’s the record that Minnesota-Duluth compiled from 2010-2012. In 2010-11, the Bulldogs won the national title, and they followed that up with a berth in the Northeast Regional final at the end of the 2012 campaign (falling to Boston College).

But last season was a different story. UMD won only 14 games (14-19-5) and finished ninth in the last season of the WCHA as it used to be. Despite a national championship to his credit, head coach Scott Sandelin is only three games over .500 (235-232-64, .503) during his tenure at Duluth. Now in his 14th season behind the bench, Sandelin has notched 20 or more victories six times, claimed one WCHA playoff championship, led Duluth to the national tournament four times, and brought his teams to two Frozen Fours.

By contrast, UND head coach Dave Hakstol, now in his tenth season coaching at his alma mater, already has 238 wins to his credit (238-123-38, .644). In each of his nine campaigns, Hakstol has won at least 20 games and brought UND to the NCAA tournament. He boasts two MacNaughton Cups (WCHA regular season title), four Broadmoor trophies (WCHA playoff title), and five Frozen Four appearances.

At the end of the 2010-11 season, many expected these two squads to go to battle for the national title. Duluth held up their end of the bargain, dispatching Notre Dame in their semifinal. UND fell short, however, falling to Michigan 2-0 in heartbreaking fashion.

The early standings in the NCHC are misleading, with UND tied for 3rd place and Minnesota-Duluth in 8th. North Dakota has already played six league games, while the Bulldogs have only played one conference series (a road split at Colorado College). By winning percentage order, Duluth is squarely in the middle of the pack, tied with Miami for fourth place. UND, at 2-4-0, sits in seventh.

North Dakota’s lineup will be a question mark up until game time, as several players are battling the flu bug and the injury bug. If UND is able to dress a full complement of 18 skaters, it will be an accomplishment.

Minnesota-Duluth Team Profile

Head Coach: Scott Sandelin (14th season at UMD, 235-232-64,.504)
National Ranking: #20
This Season: 4-3-1 overall, 1-1-0 NCHC (8th)
Last Season: 14-19-5 overall, 10-13-5 WCHA (9th)

Team Offense: 2.50 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 1.88 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 9.8% (4 of 41)
Penalty Kill: 93.6% (44 of 47)

Key Players: Freshman F Alex Iafallo (3-3-6), Senior F Joe Basaraba (2-2-4), Sophomore F Tony Cameranesi (1-2-3), Freshman D Carson Soucy (0-4-4), Sophomore D Andy Welinski (1-2-3), Senior G Aaron Crandall (3-2-0, 1.81 GAA, .925 SV%)

North Dakota Team Profile

Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (10th season at UND, 238-123-38, .644)
National Ranking: #13
This Season: 3-4-1, 2-4-0 NCHC (t-3rd)
Last Season: 22-13-7 overall (NCAA West Regional finalist), 14-7-7 WCHA (3rd)

Team Offense: 2.62 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 3.12 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 18.2% (6 of 33)
Penalty Kill: 92.5% (37 of 40)

Key Players: Sophomore F Rocco Grimaldi (2-5-7), Junior F Mark MacMillan (2-2-4), Sophomore F Drake Caggiula (4-2-6), Sophomore F Michael Parks (2-4-6), Senior D Dillon Simpson (0-2-2), Junior D Nick Mattson (1-3-4), Sophomore G Zane Gothberg (2-4-1, 2.84 GAA. .908 SV%)

By The Numbers

Last Meeting: November 17, 2012 (Grand Forks, ND). UND sophomore forward Mark MacMillan tied the game early in the third period and potted the game winner in overtime as North Dakota downed visiting Duluth 4-3. The victory marked UND’s first Saturday night win of the season and the first time North Dakota had won a home overtime game since March 2009. The two teams skated to a 4-4 draw in Friday’s opener.

Most Important Meeting: March 22, 1984 (Lake Placid, NY) Minnesota-Duluth and North Dakota met in the national semifinal game, with the Bulldogs defeating the Fighting Sioux 2-1 in overtime to advance to the championship. UND went on to defeat Michigan State 6-5 (OT) for third place, while Duluth fell to Bowling Green 5-4 in four overtimes, the longest championship game ever played.

All-time Series: UND leads the all-time series, 136-75-9 (.639), including a 76-31-3 (.705) record in games played in Grand Forks.

Last Ten: North Dakota is 7-2-1 (.750) in the last ten games between the teams. UND has outscored Duluth 40-19 in the past ten contests. Both losses were by a single goal.

Game News and Notes

North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol is 19-7-3 (.707) against Minnesota-Duluth in his head coaching career. During last season’s series in Grand Forks, the two teams combined for 94 penalty minutes Both head coaches this weekend are alumni of the University of North Dakota: Dave Hakstol (’92) and Scott Sandelin (’86) both played for UND.

The Prediction

This is another of those weekends that has split written all over it, but I have a hunch that the short week of practice and all of the adversity that UND has faced up until this point will result in a gritty performance on Friday night. I think Saturday’s rematch is a closer affair, with North Dakota coming out on top. UND 4-2, 4-3 (OT).

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