The 30-Win Season: A Major Milestone

By virtue of their quarterfinal round sweep of Colorado College, the UND men’s hockey team reached the 30-victory plateau for the twelfth time in program history. That level of success has usually translated to multiple banners and trophies.

Of the first eleven teams to reach 30 wins, nine of those won the regular season league title (as did this year’s squad). Five previous 30-victory campaigns also rode that level of success all the way to a national championship.

Here is a look at the twelve North Dakota men’s hockey teams with the most victories; the chart also indicates which banners and trophies those teams collected along the way:

Season Record Win % Regular Season Title League Playoff Title NCAAs Frozen Four
2015-2016 30-5-3 .829 Yes ??? Yes ???
2010-2011 32-9-3 .761 Yes Yes Yes 3rd
2003-2004 30-8-3 .768 Yes Yes
1999-2000 31-8-5 .761 Yes Yes 1st
1998-1999 32-6-2 .825 Yes Yes
1997-1998 30-8-1 .782 Yes Yes
1996-1997 31-10-2 .744 Yes Yes Yes 1st
1986-1987 40-8-0 .833 Yes Yes Yes 1st
1983-1984 31-12-2 .711 Yes 3rd
1981-1982 35-12-0 .745 Yes Yes 1st
1979-1980 31-8-1 .787 Yes Yes 1st
1978-1979 30-11-1 .726 Yes Yes 2nd

North Dakota’s other two NCAA titles (1959 and 1963) came during a different era. Head coach Bob May guided UND to a 20-10-1 (.661) record and the national championship during their final season as an independent (1958-59), but with only 31 games played, the 30 victory mark would have been almost an impossible feat.

And four years later, Barry Thorndycraft’s 1962-63 squad won 22 of its 32 games (22-7-3,.734), but again, the schedule (as well as the opportunity for victories) was vastly different than today’s game.

Three other North Dakota men’s hockey teams fell one game short of 30 victories, including last year’s group:

Season Record Win % Regular Season Title League Playoff Title NCAAs Frozen Four
2014-2015 29-10-3 .726 Yes Yes 3rd
2005-2006 29-16-1 .641 Yes Yes 3rd
2000-2001 29-8-9 .728 Yes Yes 2nd

Brad Berry has done wonders in his first year behind the UND bench. In the first half of the season, he dealt with long-term injuries to both of his scholarship goaltenders (Cam Johnson and Matej Tomek), and he has also seen several key components miss significant time. The only two players to appear in all 38 games to this point are sophomore forward Austin Poganski and junior forward Luke Johnson. The most significant injuries were to senior forward Drake Caggiula (missed five games) and sophomore forward Nick Schmaltz (missed seven). Berry has also kept his team on an even keel, only losing back-to-back games on one occasion (February 12-13 at Denver). In its four victories after losses this season, North Dakota outscored its opponents 13-4.

This year’s team has as many as six games remaining to make their mark on the great legacy and tradition that is University of North Dakota hockey.

As always, thank you for reading. I welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions. Follow me on Twitter (@DBergerHockey) for more information and insight. Here’s to hockey!