These non-conference matchups are critical for both schools, as both UND and St. Lawrence hope to be in the mix for the NCAA tournament at the end of the year. Over the past eight-plus seasons, North Dakota has taken advantage of its non-league games, going 41-14-12 (.701) over that stretch.
UND opened its non-conference season at home (taking three points from visiting Vermont) before managing just a tie in two games at Boston University. After the series this weekend, North Dakota will host Northern Michigan (6-5-1, 4-2-0 WCHA) and play a home-and-home series with Bemidji State (5-7-2, 5-4-1 WCHA).
St. Lawrence is 4th in the nation in goals per game (3.86) and 4th in power play percentage (28 percent).
The Saints have been dreadful on the penalty kill, allowing 16 power play goals on the young season.
SLU is also one of the few teams in college hockey allowing more goals/game than North Dakota, surrendering 3.64 goals per contest to UND’s 3.25.
On the injury front, North Dakota will be playing without several key forwards against the Saints. Mark MacMillan and Colten St. Clair continue to be unavailable, while Derek Rodwell’s status is questionable. Junior forward Brendan O’Donnell returned to the UND lineup last weekend against the Terriers and played perhaps his best game in green and white on Saturday night. To make up for the shortage up front, head coach Dave Hakstol will move defenseman Andrew Panzerella to forward for the Subway Holiday Classic.
St. Lawrence Team Profile
Head Coach: Greg Carvel (2nd season at SLU, 25-21-6, .538)
National Ranking: NR
This Season: 7-5-2, 2-2-2 ECAC (t-7th)
Last Season: 18-16-4, 9-9-4 ECAC (t-5th)
Team Offense: 3.86 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 3.64 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 27.9% (19 of 68)
Penalty Kill: 76.1% (51 of 67)
Key Players: Senior F Greg Carey (9-15-24), Freshman F Matt Carey (8-9-17), Senior F Jeremy Wick (5-9-14), Senior D Justin Baker (4-9-13) Freshman D Gavin Bayreuther (4-7-11), Senior G Matt Weninger (5-4-2, 3.57 GAA, .872 SV%)
North Dakota Team Profile
Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (10th season at UND, 239-125-39, .641)
National Ranking: NR
This Season: 4-6-2, 3-5-0 NCHC (4th)
Last Season: 22-13-7 overall (NCAA West Regional finalist), 14-7-7 WCHA (3rd)
Team Offense: 2.67 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 3.25 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 19.2% (10 of 52)
Penalty Kill: 85.7% (54 of 63)
Key Players: Sophomore F Rocco Grimaldi (4-7-11), Sophomore F Drake Caggiula (4-4-8), Sophomore F Michael Parks (3-6-9), Senior D Dillon Simpson (1-5-6), Junior D Nick Mattson (1-5-6), Sophomore G Zane Gothberg (2-5-2, 2.84 GAA, .906 SV%)
By The Numbers
Last meeting: December 30, 2006 (Hanover, NH). UND tripped up St. Lawrence 4-2 in the championship game of the Ledyard National Bank Classic behind two goals from Ryan Duncan, who was named tournament MVP. North Dakota came into the weekend on a four-game losing streak but righted the ship behind stellar play from goaltender Phillippe Lamoureux, Duncan, Robbie Bina, and T.J. Oshie, who were all named to the all-tournament team.
Last meeting in Grand Forks: November 25, 2000. St. Larwrence scored the first two goals of the game but could not contain Wes Dorey (two goals) and Travis Roche (one goal, two assists) as the Fighting Sioux toppled SLU 4-2. Jeff Panzer, Kevin Spiewak, and Bryan Lundbohm also had multi-point nights for North Dakota, which also won Friday’s opener, 6-1.
Most important meeting: February 20 and 21, 1987 (Grand Forks, ND). The Hrkac Circus dismantled St. Lawrence in a best-of-three NCAA quarterfinal series, taking down the Saints 3-1 and 6-3 on their way to the program’s fifth national championship.
All-time record: UND leads the all-time series, 11-1-0 (.917), including a perfect 6-0-0 mark in games played in Grand Forks. North Dakota’s only loss to SLU was in Canton, New York during the 1981-82 season, a campaign that also ended in an NCAA title for the Fighting Sioux.
Last Ten: UND has won nine of the previous ten games between the schools, outscoring the Saints 47-21 over that stretch of games.
Game News and Notes
UND is unbeaten in its last four Subway Holiday Classic weekends (6-0-2, .875), and is 15-5-2 (.727) all-time at the event. St. Lawrence has been a member of the ECAC since 1961 and has won the regular season title twice (2000 and 2007). North Dakota put 96 shots on net last weekend against Boston University but scored only four goals. SLU senior forward Greg Carey has collected 152 points in his NCAA career, the most among active players. Carey, a Hobey Baker finalist last season, has scored 33 of his 75 career goals with the man advantage.
Often, when two teams haven’t played in a while, the first period or two of the first game are played pretty close to the vest, without much action either way. I feel like this weekend’s games will be wide open from the outset, with plenty of chances for both teams. It’ll come down to special teams and goaltending, with a late power play on Saturday night salvaging a tie for the visiting Saints. UND 5-4, 4-4 tie.