Weekend Preview: UND vs. Minnesota Duluth

#4 North Dakota (20-8-2 overall, 10-2-1-5 NCHC) hosts unranked Minnesota Duluth (10-15-4 overall, 4-8-3-3 NCHC) in a rematch of a November 2023 series played at Amsoil Arena. UND swept the homestanding Bulldogs that weekend (4-2, 2-0) to open league play.

UND finds near the top of the national rankings (USCHO #4, USA Hockey #5) and in the all-important Pairwise rankings (3rd) thanks in large part to its impressive non-conference victories…

North Dakota blanked #6 Wisconsin 2-0 at Ralph Engelstad Arena back on October 14th.

UND was also able to avenge its only two non-conference losses of the season (vs. #8 Minnesota, at #2 Boston University) with wins the following night.

Coming into last weekend at Colorado College, the Fighting Hawks had also taken care of business in NCHC action, earning points in its first sixteen league games (10-0-1-5). That streak came to an end in the Springs, as UND dropped two games to the Tigers, bringing their season mark against CC to 0-2-0-2 (two regulation losses; two 3-on-3 overtime losses).

UND has earned the majority of points against every team in the conference not named Colorado College:

vs. Denver: 7-5 win, 2-3 OT loss, 5-2 win, 4-2 win (10 of 12 league points)
vs. Miami: 6-4 win, 5-1 win, 5-4 OT win, 4-1 win (11 of 12 league points)
vs. Minnesota Duluth: 4-2 win, 2-0 win (6 of 6 league points)
vs. Omaha: 4-5 OT loss, 3-1 win (4 of 6 league points)
vs. St. Cloud State: 5-3 win, 3-3 tie/shootout loss (4 of 6 league points)

The Fighting Hawks have not yet played Western Michigan; those two teams will tangle at the Ralph next weekend (March 1st and 2nd), the second-to-last weekend of the regular season.

UND leads St. Cloud State by one conference point, Colorado College by four points, and Denver by six points with six games remaining for each team. Every regulation victory counts as three points.

According to KRACH, North Dakota has faced the nation’s eighth-toughest schedule to this point of the season, while the Bulldogs’ schedule weighs in as the 18th-most difficult. Despite its tough slate of games, the Green and White have the sixth-best winning percentage in the country (.711).

During the November series at UMD, UND wore helmet stickers honoring former Duluth forward Adam Johnson, who died on October 28, 2023 when a skate blade cut his neck during a pro hockey game. The stickers featured the initials ‘AJ’ along with the number 47, which he was wearing for the Nottingham Panthers. Former UND forward Westin Michaud was Johnson’s teammate with the Panthers.

Last season, the teams only met two times, a January series in Grand Forks that ended in a split. North Dakota took the opener 4-2 before falling 2-1 in the rematch. In Saturday’s finale, senior Luke Loheit broke a 1-1 tie with just over two minutes remaining in regulation. The goal came just 33 seconds after freshman Ben Steeves departed from the penalty box; Steeves assisted on the game-winning goal. Fast forward one year, and Steeves leads his team in goals (7) and points (11).

Two seasons ago, the two rivals split a November series at Ralph Engelstad Arena, with the Bulldogs winning by a 4-1 margin on Friday night. UND came from behind in Saturday’s rematch, knotting the score at 1-1 with five seconds remaining in the second period before scoring the game-winner five minutes into the third. When the two teams tangled in Duluth in February 2022, the visitors managed a pair of one-goal victories (4-3, 3-2).

And turning back the clock to March 27th, 2021, North Dakota was down 2-0 to Minnesota Duluth with just 101 seconds remaining in the third period of the 2021 NCAA Midwest Regional final at Scheels Arena in Fargo, North Dakota. The Bulldogs had built their lead with two goals just 80 seconds apart early in the final frame on a pair of fluky plays. A partially blocked shot off the stick of Jackson Cates fluttered past Fighting Hawks’ netminder Adam Scheel, and a broken stick at the blue line sent Cole Koepke in alone on a breakaway.

Through the first 25 games of the season, UND had only won one game after allowing the first goal (1-5-1). But after coming back against both Denver and St. Cloud State to claim the program’s first NCHC Frozen Faceoff postseason title, Brad Berry’s squad had to feel like another comeback was possible.

And it was indeed possible. Collin Adams and Jordan Kawaguchi scored extra-attacker goals 44 seconds apart to send the partisan crowd into a frenzy and send the game to overtime. And overtime. And overtime. And overtime.

UMD’s Luke Mylymok scored the game-winner just over two minutes into the FIFTH overtime session; his second goal of the season ended the longest NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey tournament game in history.

One could argue that after over 140 minutes of game action, Duluth had a built-in advantage: the Bulldogs (14-10-2) were scheduled to face Michigan in the regional semifinal, but after the Wolverines withdrew due to a positive COVID-19 test in their hockey program, UMD advanced in a “no contest” and therefore had fresher legs than top overall seed North Dakota (22-5-1).

Adams and Kawaguchi were two of six North Dakota players to finish the season with double digit goal totals. Of those six, only Riese Gaber remains at North Dakota.

The NCHC has been the premier hockey conference since its inception, and particularly over the past nine seasons. The eight teams in the league have gone 475-240-82 (.647) in non-conference action since the start of the 2014-15 season and sent twelve teams to the Frozen Four (UND and Omaha in 2015, UND and Denver in 2016, Denver and Duluth in 2017, Duluth in 2018, Denver and Duluth in 2019, Duluth and St. Cloud State in 2021, and Denver in 2022) over that eight-year stretch (there was no national tournament in 2020). Conference members North Dakota (2016), Denver (2017, 2022), and Minnesota Duluth (2018, 2019) have won five of the last seven national titles.

The Bulldogs played ten games at the Division I level in the early 1930s but didn’t really get started until after World War II. Its first 19 seasons after the war were played as an independent before joining the WCHA in 1965. It would take 18 seasons – and a head coach named Mike Sertich – before UMD would make the NCAA tournament, and Sertich would take them there in three consecutive seasons:

1982-1983: National Quarterfinalist
1983-1984: 2nd Place (National Runner-Up)
1984-1985: 3rd Place (Consolation Champion)

In 1984, Duluth was tantalizingly close to winning its first title. The Bulldogs defeated North Dakota 2-1 in overtime (behind a goal by Bill Watson) to advance to the championship game, where they would face Bowling Green in the longest NCAA final in Division I men’s hockey history. Gino Cavallini scored for the Falcons in the fourth overtime session, ending a game that took over 97 minutes of game action to complete.

And, perhaps, fittingly, UMD would find themselves locked in overtime contests in 1985 as well. The Bulldogs took RPI to three overtimes in the national semis before falling 6-5. Back in those days, there was still a third-place game, and so Duluth faced Boston College (which had also played three overtimes in its semifinal) for no reason at all. Of course, that game also went to overtime, with UMD defeating the Eagles 7-6.

After that three-year splash on the national scene, Mike Sertich would manage just one more tournament appearance (1993) over the final fifteen years of his head coaching career before giving way to Scott Sandelin, who has guided the Bulldogs to the NCAAs eleven times in his 23 completed seasons behind the Bulldog bench.

Even though UMD has been a more frequent participant over the past two decades than at any other point in team history, Duluth and North Dakota have only met twice in the national tournament (1984 and 2021). UND had a chance to meet the Bulldogs in the 2011 title game but fell to the Wolverines in the semifinals 2-0 (with an empty-net goal) despite outshooting Michigan 40-20.

Before the Wolverines were forced to withdraw from the 2021 tournament, UMD and Michigan were set to square off in the national tournament for the first time since that overtime thriller in St. Paul.

With three national titles in a nine-year stretch, the Bulldogs could certainly be considered the best team of the 2010s; North Dakota’s eight national titles have been spread out across the decades: 1959, 1963, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1997, 2000, and 2016.

The Wolverines have won nine NCAA titles but only two since 1964, those coming in 1996 and 1998. For that reason, I consider North Dakota (eight titles) and Denver (nine titles) the two best programs in NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey history.

And turning our attention to this season…

#4-ranked North Dakota has gone 20-8-2 against Army (one game), #6 Wisconsin (one game), #8 Minnesota, Minnesota State, #2 Boston University, Minnesota Duluth, Miami (four games), Bemidji State, #3 Denver (four games), #10 Colorado College (four games), Alaska, #19 Omaha, and #15 St. Cloud State, with a record of 13-4-1 at home and 7-4-1 on the road. Prior to last weekend, UND had not lost in regulation since November 3rd.

How has North Dakota made such a dramatic turnaround in just one season?

After missing the national tournament last year, head coach Brad Berry and his staff brought in fourteen fresh faces, tied for the second-most in team history. More strikingly, all eight defensemen are new to the UND men’s hockey program, including four freshmen.

Coincidentally, the breakdown of first-year players and transfers into the North Dakota system is identical:


Four defensemen (Nate Benoit, Tanner Komzak, Jake Livanavage, Abram Wiebe)

Two forwards (Michael Emerson, Jayden Perron)

One goaltender (Hobie Hedquist)


Four defensemen (Logan Britt, Keaton Pehrson, Garrett Pyke, Bennett Zmolek)

Two forwards (Cameron Berg, Hunter Johannes)

One goaltender (Ludvig Perrson)

Update: freshman forward Michael Emerson left the UND program at semester break; Emerson appeared in six games during the first half of the season.

These thirteen newcomers join eleven returning forwards and second-year netminder Kaleb Johnson to form UND’s 25-player roster. The Fighting Hawks returned 70 goals up front, led by senior Riese Gaber (20 goals last season) and sophomore Jackson Blake (16). With the addition of Berg (10 goals last season at Omaha), Johannes (13 at Lindenwood), and Perron (24 with the Chicago Steel of the USHL), North Dakota will easily surpass the 102 goals scored all of last season by its forward group.

Over the first 30 games of the 2023-2024 season, UND forwards have scored 100 goals and are on pace for 120 goals in the regular season alone. It is also encouraging that eleven North Dakota forwards already have multiple goals this season, led by Blake (17), Berg (16), Gaber (15), McLaughlin (9), Johannes (9), and Perron (8). Those six forwards have combined for 30 goals over the past six weekends of game action.

Hunter Johannes has been out of the lineup for the past seven games (lower-body injury); it is possible that Johannes will be in the lineup this weekend against Duluth.

After a down season (16-20-1) a year ago, Scott Sandelin dipped his toe into the transfer portal, bringing in forward Connor McMenamin from Penn State (24-42-66 in 129 games over four seasons with the Nittany Lions) and defenseman Luke Bast from North Dakota (3-6-9 in 39 games over two seasons with the Fighting Hawks). Sandelin’s freshman class numbers just four players: forwards Anthony Menghini (7-2-9 in 29 games this season), Matthew Perkins (5-8-13 in 27), and Braden Fischer (1-2-3 in 14) along with defenseman Aaron Pionk (2-13-15 in 29).

Pionk, whose older brother Neal played for UMD from 2015-2017, is a fifth-round pick of the Minnesota Wild. Perkins is a fourth-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks.

Braden Fischer did not play a game in October or November but has been a lineup regular since the departure of sophomore forward Cole Spicer, who was declared academically ineligible on December 26th.

Prior to UND’s series two weekends ago against Miami, Fighting Hawks defensemen had only scored seven goals all season.

And then, Logan Britt happened. The grad transfer from Sacred Heart scored three goals on the weekend and was named the NCHC Defenseman of the Week. Freshman Jake Livanavage added his third goal of the season to bring the d-corps total to eleven. Livanavage was recently named the NCHC Defenseman of the Week (January 29th), the NCHC Rookie of the Month (January), and a candidate for the Tim Taylor Award (National Rookie of the Year).

Last weekend at CC, freshman defenseman Abram Wiebe notched his first career collegiate goal, while fellow blueliners Garrett Pyke and Jake Livanavage added assists.

The six regular blueliners for North Dakota (Pyke, Livanavage, Britt, Wiebe, Zmolek, and Pehrson) have now collected a total of 66 points (12 goals and 54 assists) in 171 games played (0.39 points/game). As mentioned above, the offensive output from the blue line has been increasing lately, with Livanavage in particular chipping in more regularly (two goals and fourteen assists in his last eighteen games).

Graduate student blueliner Keaton Pehrson (0-5-5 in 25 games this season) is questionable to play this weekend with an upper-body injury. Pehrson,played four seasons at this Michigan (1-27-28 in 127 games as a Wolverine) before transferring to UND.

By comparison, the six Bulldog defensemen expected in the lineup this weekend have scored ten goals and added 57 assists in 172 games played for an identical 0.39 points/game).

A half-point per game or better is my benchmark for solid offensive production, and Scott Sandelin’s squad has eight players who meet that threshold: sophomore forward Ben Steeves (22-8-30), senior forward Blake Biondi (8-10-18), graduate forward Quinn Olson (4-14-18), graduate forward Connor McMenamin (4-13-17), graduate forward Luke Loheit (7-8-15), sophomore forward Kyle Bettens (4-10-14), junior defenseman Owen Gallatin (5-20-25), and freshman defenseman Aaron Pionk (2-13-15).

Connor McMenamin is probable to appear in the lineup this weekend (undisclosed injury).

By that same measure, North Dakota has eight players at a half point or better, including three – sophomore forward Jackson Blake (17-23-40), sophomore forward Owen McLaughlin (9-20-29), and Cameron Berg (16-14-30) – averaging a point per game or better. Other offensive contributors include senior forward Riese Gaber (15-13-28), graduate forward Hunter Johannes (9-6-15 in 23 games), senior forward Louis Jamernik V (6-9-15), senior defenseman Garrett Pyke (3-20-23), and freshman defenseman Jake Livanavage (3-16-19).

The Minnesota Duluth roster features a face familiar to North Dakota fans. Defenseman Luke Bast (2-6-8 in 29 games played) is a senior for the Bulldogs after playing his first two seasons at UND (3-6-9 in 39 games played).

Offensively, UND far outpaces Minnesota Duluth. To this point of the season, North Dakota has scored 112 goals (3.73 goals per game, 8th in the country), while the Bulldogs have managed just 86 (2.97, 31st).

The Fighting Hawks are 5th in the nation in shooting percentage at 12.0%. Minnesota Duluth clocks in at 9.7%, good for 39th in the country.

Not only does North Dakota score on a high percentage of its shots on goal, but it also gets the puck to the net. To this point in the season, the Green and White have 936 shots on goal. Minnesota Duluth? 885.

This averages out to 31.2 shots on goal per game for UND (17th) and 30.5 shots on goal per game for UMD (26th).

On the defensive side, UND has only allowed 778 shots on goal this season in 30 games (25.9/game, 10th), while Minnesota Duluth has allowed 929 in 29 games (32.0, 50th).

The Fighting Hawks are also vastly superior in two key puck possession statistics:

North Dakota: 16th in Corsi (53.4%) and 8th in Fenwick (54.9%)
Minnesota Duluth: 43rd in Corsi (48.4%); 48th in Fenwick (47.7%)

Corsi measures the share of shot attempts for each team at even strength, while Fenwick measure the share of unblocked shot attempts for each team at even strength.

As always, a key area to watch this weekend is the face-off circle. The Fighting Hawks are the nation’s 20th-best team on draws (51.9%), while the Bulldogs clock in as the second-worst face-off team in the country (43.4%, 63rd).

For UND, junior Cameron Berg has been making a living on draws, winning 303 of 524 (57.8%). Senior Louis Jamernik V (187 of 326, 57.4%) has more than held his own, while sophomore Owen McLaughlin (161 of 348, 46.3%) has struggled of late.

For Minnesota Duluth, sophomore Jack Smith (168 of 406, 41.4%) and freshman Matthew Perkins (133 of 313, 42.2%) have taken the most draws, while junior Carter Loney (126 of 293, 43.0%) has been the most successful.

Scott Sandelin certainly misses the presence of Grand Forks native Cole Spicer, who went 153 of 322 (47.5%) in the first half of the season before being declared academically ineligible. Spicer now plays for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL.

The expected top center for Duluth -junior Dominic James – suffered a shoulder injury on October 13th vs. Northern Michigan and is not expected to return this season. James had a line of 16-30-46 in his first two seasons (74 games) at UMD.

To this point in the season, North Dakota has had slightly the better of the specialty teams play, even though the Bulldogs boast better numbers. UND has been a combined plus-12, with 27 power play goals scored (27 of 106, 25.5%, 9th in the country) and seventeen power play goals allowed (68 of 85, 80.0%, 35th), with three shorthanded goals scored and one allowed.

UMD has posted a plus-8, with 26 power play goals scored (26 of 92, 28.3%, 4th), nineteen power play goals allowed (101 of 120, 84.2%, 13th), two shorthanded goals scored, and one allowed.

As mentioned above, UND has a better specialty teams scoring margin despite posting inferior success rates to Duluth. This is due to the fact that North Dakota has earned 21 more power plays than penalty kill situations (106-85), while the Bulldogs have been shorthanded 28 more times than they have had the man advantage (92-120).

North Dakota is 8th in the country in scoring offense (3.73 goals scored/game) and a solid 19th in the country in scoring defense (2.70 goals allowed/game).

Minnesota Duluth is 31st in the country in scoring offense (2.97 goals scored/game) and even worse on the defensive side, allowing 3.21 goals per game (46th).

A huge key to UND’s defensive turnaround this season has been the play of senior netminder Ludvig Persson. The transfer from Miami has played all but three games between the pipes for the Fighting Hawks, posting a record of 17-8-2 with a goals-against average of 2.61, a save percentage of .899, and three shutouts.

Persson was ill two months ago, and freshman Hobie Hedquist stepped in for him, winning both games while posting a goals-against average of 3.01 and a save percentage of .870).

Persson returned to practice on a Wednesday and got the start on Friday, but he struggled, allowing five goals on 24 shots. Hedquist stepped in on Saturday, making 22 of 23 saves and earning his third victory of the season. Persson started both games in St. Cloud last month and he shined, stopping 66 of 72 shots which came his way for a combined save percentage of .917. Persson wasn’t tested much in UND’s home sweep of Denver; he allowed two goals each night while making 17 saves on Friday night and 22 saves in the rematch. In a road sweep at Miami, Persson stopped 60 of 65 shots (.923).

Last year, UND’s team save percentage was .886, the fifth-worst mark among 62 teams. To put the difference in perspective, North Dakota allowed 110 goals on 962 shots last season. If we apply Persson’s save percentage from this year to that shot total, the Fighting Hawks would have allowed a total of only 97 goals, a difference of 13 goals over the 39-game season.

And what difference does one goal make? UND found itself in a Pairwise predicament last season due to three tough losses:

Arizona State 3, North Dakota 2 (October 29th, 2022)

Miami 4, North Dakota 3 (November 19th, 2022)

Minnesota Duluth 2, North Dakota 1 (January 21st, 2023)

All three of those games were tied in the third period.

Duluth’s defensive woes this season echo North Dakota’s from a year ago, although UMD’s goaltending has improved as the year has gone on. Senior Zach Stejskal (19 games, 2.83 GAA, .904 SV%) and graduate student Matthew Thiessen (12 games, 3.28 GAA, .906 SV%) have both performed well at times, although the team defense and puck possession struggles have doomed the Bulldogs for long stretches.

North Dakota currently finds itself in 3rd place in the all-important Pairwise rankings, with victories over Boston University (PWR 2), Denver (PWR 5), Wisconsin (PWR 6), Denver (PWR 7), Minnesota (PWR 9), and St. Cloud State (PWR 13) certainly helping the cause. With six games remaining in the regular season, UND is virtually a lock for the national tournament.

At 26th in the Pairwise, Minnesota Duluth has some work to do to return to the NCAAs after a one-year absence.

And one final note: Bulldog junior defenseman Will Francis took the fall semester off to undergo cancer treatments, and he has yet to return to the lineup. All of us at SiouxSports.com wish Will all the best in his journey to recovery. No one fights alone.

Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs

Head Coach: Scott Sandelin (23rd season at UMD, 454-383-99, .538)

National Ranking: NR/NR
Pairwise Ranking: 26th
KRACH Rating: 117.4 (24th)

This Season: 10-15-4 overall, 4-8-3-3 NCHC (7th of 8 teams)
Last Season: 16-20-1 overall (missed NCAA tournament), 9-10-1-4 NCHC (t-5th of 8 teams)

2023-2024 Season Statistics:

Team Offense: 2.97 goals scored/game – 31st of 64 teams
Team Defense: 3.21 goals allowed/game – 46th of 64 teams

Power Play: 28.3% (26 of 92) – 4th of 64 teams
Penalty Kill: 84.2% (101 of 120) – 13th of 64 teams

Key players: Sophomore F Ben Steeves (22-8-30), Graduate F Quinn Olson (4-14-18), Senior F Blake Biondi (8-10-18),Graduate F Connor McMenamin (4-13-17), Junior D Owen Gallatin (5-20-25), Freshman D Aaron Pionk (2-13-15), Senior G Zach Stejskal (8-8-3, 2.83 GAA, .904 SV%, 1 SO)

North Dakota Team Profile

Head Coach: Brad Berry (9th season at UND, 200-100-33, .650)

National Rankings: #4/#5
Pairwise Ranking: 3rd
KRACH Rating: 502.3 (4th)

This Season: 20-8-2 overall, 10-2-1-5 NCHC (1st of 8 teams)
Last Season: 18-15-5 overall (missed NCAA tournament), 7-10-5-2 NCHC (t-5th of 8 teams)

2023-2024 Season Statistics:

Team Offense: 3.73 goals scored/game – 8th of 64 teams
Team Defense: 2.70 goals allowed/game – 19th of 64 teams

Power Play: 25.5% (27 of 106) – 9th of 64 teams
Penalty Kill: 80.0% (68 of 85) – 35th of 64 teams

Key Players: Sophomore F Jackson Blake (17-23-40), Senior F Riese Gaber (15-13-28), Sophomore F Owen McLaughlin (9-20-29), Junior F Cameron Berg (16-14-30), Senior F Louis Jamernik V (6-9-15), Senior D Garrett Pyke (3-20-23), Freshman D Jake Livanavage (3-16-19), Senior G Ludvig Persson (17-8-2, 2.61 GAA, .899 SV%, 3 SO)

By The Numbers

Last Meeting: November 11, 2023 (Duluth, MN). North Dakota weathered an early first-period storm and went to the locker room leading 1-0 on Louis Jamernik V’s power play goal. A dominant middle frame saw UND outshoot the Bulldogs 18-5 and extend the lead to 2-0. That would be more than enough, as Ludvig Persson stopped all 30 shots he faced. One night earlier, the Fighting Hawks built a 3-0 lead in the opening twenty minutes but saw a UMD comeback bring the home team within one. North Dakota’s Cameron Berg iced the game with a power play tally with under forty seconds remaining.

Last Meeting in Grand Forks: January 21, 2023 (Grand Forks, ND). One night after a 4-2 home victory, North Dakota saw a 1-1 tie turn into a regulation defeat. In Saturday’s finale, UMD senior Luke Loheit broke the 1-1 tie with just over two minutes left on the clock. The goal came just 33 seconds after freshman Ben Steeves departed from the penalty box.

Most Important Meeting: March 27, 2021 (Fargo, ND). Minnesota Duluth outlasted North Dakota 3-2 in five overtimes to advance to the NCAA Frozen Four. UND scored two extra-attacker goals in the final two minutes of regulation to send the game long into the night. The three goaltenders involved in the contest combined to make 114 saves.

The Meeting That Never Was: Both teams advanced to the 2011 NCAA Frozen Four at Xcel Energy Center (St. Paul, Minnesota). UND could not get past Michigan, falling 2-0 despite outshooting the Wolverines 40-20. In the other national semifinal, Minnesota-Duluth defeated Notre Dame 4-3 and rode that momentum to the title game. The Bulldogs took the Wolverines to overtime before senior forward Kyle Schmidt scored the game winner and earned UMD their first national championship. North Dakota won two of the three games against Duluth that season, outscoring Scott Sandelin’s team 11-5.

All-time Series: UND leads the all-time series, 155-89-11 (.629), including a sparkling 84-39-3 (.679) advantage in games played in Grand Forks. The teams first met in 1954, with North Dakota winning the first ten games between the schools by a combined score of 72-16. UMD’s first win over the Fighting Sioux (a 3-2 road victory on December 18th, 1959) did not sit well with the defending national champions. UND defeated Duluth 13-2 the following night.

Last Ten: North Dakota is 7-3-0 (.700) in the last ten games between the teams, outscoring the Bulldogs 25-20 over that stretch. Only four of the past ten UND-UMD games were played at Ralph Engelstad Arena (one was played in the Omaha pod, one in Fargo, and four in Duluth).

Game News and Notes

UND has outscored opponents 39-23 in the first period of play this season. Over thirty percent of Duluth’s goals this season (26 of 86) have come with the man advantage. As a team, North Dakota has blocked 391 shots this season (13.0 blocks/game), led by Bennett Zmolek (68), Garrett Pyke (46), and Abram Wiebe (41). Both head coaches this weekend are alumni of the University of North Dakota; Brad Berry (1983-86) and Scott Sandelin (1982-86) both played for UND under John “Gino” Gasparini.

The Prediction

The Fighting Hawks should have the puck the majority of the time, and that may lead to an extra power play or two. If UND can find success with the man advantage AND stay out of the penalty box, a sweep is the most likely result. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hobie Hedquist get one start in net for North Dakota this weekend. UND 4-2, 5-2.

Broadcast Information

Game times are set for 7:07 p.m. Central Time on Friday and 6:07 p.m. Central Time on Saturday. Both games will be broadcast live on Midco Sports Network and also available via webcast at NCHC.tv. All UND men’s hockey games can be heard on stations across the UND Sports Home of Economy Radio Network as well as through the iHeart Radio app.

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

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