Friday Game React: UND vs. Minnesota-Duluth

First of all, this did not play like an 8-3 hockey game. It was tight through two periods, and Duluth carried much of the play, particularily in the second frame. Trupp’s goal to make it 4-3 midway through the second was huge, as the Bulldogs had tied the game with two goals less than three minutes apart and were playing with poise and momentum.

The third period, obviously, was all UND. In addition to the four goals, the Sioux skated better than they had earlier and played to win, as opposed to stretches earlier in the contest during which they played tentatively.

The most important statistics from tonight’s game are that eight different players scored and eight players registered two points. Matt Watkins, Brad Miller, Chris VandeVelde, Matt Frattin, and T.J. Oshie each notched a goal and an assist, and Taylor Chorney, Ryan Duncan, and Robbie Bina tallied two assists each.

Duncan, Oshie, and Bina remain tied for the most points (11) among Sioux players.

Brad Malone did not show up on the scoresheet, but he turned in the most physical game I’ve seen him play since his injury.

Evan Trupp (one goal) continues to impress, and worked his way onto the #1 power play unit tonight. The Sioux power play, unfortunately, finished 0 for 3. Duluth was 1 for 6 with the man advantage, that goal being scored with three seconds remaining in the first period to make the score 3-1 in favor of UND.

Chay Genoway left the game early in the second period with an injury and did not return. For much of the game, Brad Malone was double-shifting, playing on the left wing with Darcy Zajac and Matt Frattin and alongside Rylan Kaip and Matt Watkins. Dave Hakstol mentioned in the post-game interview that they had an initial evaluation but do not know how serious it is yet. Genoway is considered doubtful for tomorrow. I would expect Ryan Martens to play tomorrow night.

Robbie Bina continues to play rock solid defensively and contribute on the offensive end. His 11 assists lead the team, and he may well eclipse the staggering numbers from his junior campaign (10-22-32 last season after scoring 1 goal and 16 assists through his first two seasons).

UND was three seconds away from blanking yet another opponent in the first period, and now have given up just two first period goals through ten games.

UMD goaltender Alex Stalock allowed 6 goals on 25 shots and saw his goals-against average jump from 1.97 to 2.37. His save percentage fell from .929 to .915, and he suffered his fourth loss of the season. Backup goaltender (and former Fighting Sioux) Nate Ziegelmann allowed two goals on the three shots he faced in relief.

UND improves to 6-3-1 overall (4-3-0 WCHA). UMD drops to 5-4-2 overall (4-4-1 WCHA). The same two teams play tomorrow night at 7:07 p.m.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your questions and comments. For more information about the matchup between the teams, click here. For reaction and commentary from Saturday’s game action, click here.

Game Preview: UND vs. Minnesota-Duluth

Coming into the 2007-2008 season, both the Sioux and the Bulldogs were hoping to avoid the early-departure bug that has bitten so many conference teams in recent history.

It has been well-documented that North Dakota avoided a mass exodus of underclassmen, as Taylor Chorney (8-23-31 last season), Joe Finley (1-6-7), T.J. Oshie (17-35-52), and Hobey Baker winner Ryan Duncan (31-26-57) all passed up professional contracts to return to UND. Only Jonathan Toews (18-28-46) and Brian Lee (2-24-26) gave up eligibility to turn pro, leaving the Fighting Sioux with enough depth and talent to compete for an upper-division finish.

The Bulldogs, on the other hand, unexpectedly lost two key underclassmen in forward Mason Raymond (14-32-46) and defenseman Matt Niskanen (9-22-31), who gave up their final two seasons of eligibility to join the professional ranks. These two losses, along with the graduation loss of Bryan McGregor (16-12-28), leave Minnesota-Duluth with only two 20-point scorers [F MacGregor Sharp (11-16-27) and D Josh Meyers (11-13-24)] from a year ago. UND, by contrast, returns five twenty-point players [F Ryan Duncan, F T.J. Oshie, D Robbie Bina (10-22-32), D Taylor Chorney, and F Brad Miller (10-14-24)].

According to Minnesota-Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin, the lack of top-end talent may be a mixed blessing for his club.

“We might not have that one big line or that one dynamic player,” Sandelin said, adding that the team will have to hope for production from everyone as well as look for a few players to break out offensively.

North Dakota has had the better of the results between the two teams recently, going unbeaten (7-0-1) in their last eight meetings. The two teams will also play a weekend series in Duluth on March 1-2, 2008.

Minnesota-Duluth Team Profile
National Rankings: #15/#12
Head Coach: Scott Sandelin (8th season at UMD, 114-146-33, .445)
This Season: 5-3-2 Overall, 4-3-1 WCHA
Special Teams: Power Play 9.3% (4 of 43), Penalty Kill 88.7% (47 of 53)
Last Season: 13-21-5, 8-16-4 WCHA (9th)
Key Returning Players: Junior F Michael Gergen (2-3-5), Junior D Josh Meyers (4-4-8), Junior F MacGregor Sharp (2-5-7), Sophomore G Alex Stalock (5-3-2, 1.97 GAA, .929 SV, 2 SO)

North Dakota Team Profile
National Rankings: #6/#5
Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (4th season at UND, 83-48-12, .622)
This Season: 5-3-1 Overall, 3-3-0 WCHA
Specialty Teams: Power Play 18.2% (8 of 44), Penalty Kill 91.1% (41 of 45)
Last Season: 24-14-5 (Frozen Four semifinalist), 13-10-5 WCHA (3rd)
Key Returning Players: Junior F Ryan Duncan (3-6-9), Junior F T.J. Oshie (6-3-9), Junior D Taylor Chorney (0-7-7), Senior D Robbie Bina (0-9-9), Senior G Jean-Philippe Lamoureux (5-3-1, 1.29 GAA, .948 SV, 4 SO)

By The Numbers
Last Meeting: February 17, 2007 (Grand Forks, ND). UND’s Ryan Duncan scores the only goal of the contest at 3:14 of the opening period, and North Dakota prevails 1-0 to take three of four points from the weekend series. Duncan also scored the game-tying goal in Friday’s contest, a 2-2 deadlock.
Most Important Meeting: March 22, 1984. Minnesota-Duluth and North Dakota meet in a National Semifinal game in Lake Placid, New York. The Bulldogs defeat the Fighting Sioux 2-1 in overtime to advance to the title game. UND goes on to defeat Michigan State 6-5 (OT) for third place, while Duluth falls to Bowling Green 5-4 in four overtimes, the longest championship game ever played.
All-time Series: UND leads the all-time series, 125-69-8 (.639), including a 72-30-2 (.702) mark in Grand Forks and a 8-1-2 (.818) record at the new Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Game News and Notes
North Dakota holds a 13-1-1 record against Duluth over the past four seasons. UMD sophomore goaltender Alex Stalock, who had four assists last season, has never faced the Fighting Sioux. UND is 11-2-1 in games on Thanksgiving weekend in the past ten seasons. The Sioux have allowed just one 1st period goal all season.

The Prediction
North Dakota has the top-end talent and an edge in special teams situations that should translate into two victories. If they can maintain their intensity after a week off and keep the crowd involved through their physical play, it will be a long weekend for the Bulldogs. UND 3-2, 4-1.

Thank you for reading. I welcome your questions and comments. For reaction to Friday’s contest, click here. For reaction to Saturday’s game, click here.

Saturday Game React: UND vs. Wisconsin

It seems only fitting that the Wisconsin hockey broadcast featured the “water bottle incident” during the first intermission, as these two teams combined for 172 penalty minutes, most coming within the final four minutes of the hockey game.

Sioux captain Rylan Kaip’s charge behind the Badger net ignited the largest round of fisticuffs, as all five skaters on each side were given game misconducts and shown the exit doors.

Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves seemed particularly miffed at the physical play, as his post-game handshake with the North Dakota coaching staff turned heated. A video of this altercation can be seen here. My guess is he was upset at Kaip charging a player with his head down, and also with Matt Watkins’ take-down of freshman phenom Kyle Turris. What he didn’t see from the bench, however, was that Turris had slashed Watkins across the wrist as the two were skating away from the boards.

“From the bench, the whole thing bothered me how it unfolded and carried on,” Eaves said. “I was just disappointed and I expressed it to him. How often do you see that in college hockey?”

North Dakota outshot Wisconsin 34-22 in this one, including 13-6 in the first period, as UND staked a 2-0 lead on a beautiful power-play goal by Chris VandeVelde and a late tally by T.J. Oshie. VandeVelde’s goal, a top-shelf backhander at 10:21, came just six seconds into a Sioux power play. Oshie’s goal, the eventual game-winner, came with under three seconds remaining in the opening period. T.J Oshie now has 14 career game-winning goals, third on UND’s all-time list behind only Mark Taylor (18) and Brandon Bochenski (15).

“We didn’t have a lot of spark coming out of the locker room,” Wisconsin senior captain Davis Drewiske said. “It’s disappointing that we could not match them from the start.”

“We were able to make some plays,” said UND senior Robbie Bina, who tallied assists on goals by VandeVelde and Andrew Kozek. “They weren’t tic-tac-toe or anything like that. It was nice to get out there, get a goal first and go from there. We were able to raise our level a little bit more tonight.”

At 14:21 of the second period, Brad Miller came close to making the score 3-0, but the referee ruled that the puck had not crossed the line before Wisconsin goalie Shane Connelly swatted it out of midair with his stick. The overhead video appeared to show a bit of white between the flipping puck and the goal line, but it was very close. The play was reviewed, and ruled no goal.

Andrew Kozek showed a nifty toe-drag move and rifled a wrist shot off the pipe and crossbar to make the score 3-0 later in the second period. Robbie Bina made a nice play to get the puck up the ice to Kozek streaking down the left wing.

“It was a tale of two different nights for me,” Connelly said. “They had some pretty good looks and took advantage of it. I made all those saves (43) last night and don’t get the bounces tonight. I had chances, but they buried their opportunities.”

The Badgers, scoreless on their first seven power plays, finally cashed in on the man advantage with just over two minutes remaining, spoiling Jean-Philippe Lamoureux’s chance at a fifth shutout in nine games. North Dakota’s penalty kill was particularly impressive in the second period, killing three consecutive penalties. UND finished 1 for 4 on the power play.

UND is now killing penalties at a rate of 91.1% (41 of 45), and scoring on 18.2% of power plays (8 of 44). Wisconsin’s power play percentage falls to 30.2% (13 of 43) after going 2 for 11 on the weekend, while their penalty kill has an 85.4% success rate (41 of 48).

The Sioux have given up only one first period goal this season after blanking the Badgers in both opening frames this weekend.

As UND head coach Dave Hakstol said in the post-game interview, this weekend was the best 120 minutes of hockey North Dakota has played to this point. He deemed the 5-3-1 overall record “acceptable”, given the quality of competition. He is pleased that the team is making progress in all areas.

The Ryan Duncan-VandeVelde-Oshie line registered 2 goals and 2 assists, Robbie Bina notched two assists and now has nine through nine games, and Andrew Kozek (1 goal) now has five goals this year and continues to display the quicker, more accurate wrist shot that was missing from his game last season. Evan Trupp had his best weekend, and the Matt Frattin-Darcy Zajac-Brad Malone line may be together for a while, as they created opportunities all weekend long.

UND moves to 5-3-1 (3-3-0 WCHA) on the year, while Wisconsin falls to 5-3-0 (2-2-0 WCHA). North Dakota is off next weekend, and returns to game action November 23-24 when they host the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs for a pair at Ralph Engelstad Arena. The Badgers head to Colorado Springs to face the Tigers in WCHA action.

Thank you for reading this edition of the Game React. I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Friday Game React: UND vs. Wisconsin

Well, it was one of those nights. Again.

For the second game in a row, UND struggled offensively.  Let me put it another way: UND generated chances, scoring opportunities, and odd-man rushes, but did nothing more than chip some paint off the posts and crossbar.

The final shots on goal were UND 43, UW 24, including 25 Sioux shots in the third period alone. UND must have attempted 70 shots or more, with many blocked by Wisconsin or sent off target.

As Coach Hakstol mentioned in his post-game interview, the prevailing feeling was that if North Dakota could get one past Connelly, the floodgates would open. But it was not to be. The junior netminder stopped all 43 shots sent his way for his fifth career shutout in 22 games.

Even down 2-0 with 14 minutes to play, the ice seemed to be tilted in North Dakota’s favor. UND was winning the majority of the draws and getting to most of the loose pucks. The back-breaker goal happened after one of very few defensive zone face-offs for UND, a draw they lost, and the puck was in the back of the net for a 3-0 Wisconsin lead with 5:22 to go.

Bright spots for UND:
-North Dakota had exactly the start they needed. They controlled the opening period and took the crowd out of the game. Many in the press box remarked that the score could have been 3-0 UND after one.
-The Frattin-Zajac-Malone line clicked from the get-go. They added a physical presence, created offense, and drew penalties. Expect more from this line going forward.
-Freshman defenseman Derrick LaPoint and Jake Marto were paired together on the blue line for the second consecutive game, and handled their responsibilities very well.

It appeared as if North Dakota backed off the physical play after the first two penalties to Zach Jones. UND will need to crash the net and take the body tomorrow night if they expect a different result.

UND finished 0 for 5 with the man advantage, while Wisconsin scored once on three power play opportunities.

Wisconsin improves to 4-2-0 (2-1-0 WCHA), while North Dakota falls to 4-3-1 (2-3-0 WCHA). The same two teams battle tomorrow night at the Kohl Center. Incidentally, UND now has a 4-11-0 record at the Kohl Center.

For a comparison and complete preview of the weekend series, click here. I thank you for reading, and welcome your comments and suggestions.

Game Preview: UND vs. Wisconsin

Sioux versus Badgers in Madtown. High-powered offense meets the nation’s top defense. Sound familiar?

Not exactly.

This time around, the nation’s best defense belongs to North Dakota, allowing just 1.29 goals per game, while Wisconsin boasts the country’s second highest scoring offense, tallying 4.67 goals per contest. And though Wisconsin has had the better of the netminding in recent memory (think Elliot, Bruckler, and Melanson), UND brings in Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, whose eye-popping .958 save percentage, 1.06 goals-against average, and four shutouts lead the nation. Top scorers? No Sioux player ranks in the top 20 nationally, while Wisconsin freshman phenom Kyle Turris leads the nation in points (13) and assists (8), despite playing in only 6 games thus far.

So what to make of this apparent role reversal? Is this some sort of early-season anamoly, where statistics do all sorts of crazy things? Maybe. A look inside the schedule reveals that while the teams sport almost identical records (UND 4-2-1, UW 4-2-0), the teams have taken different early-season paths. Both squads have split with Michigan Tech; beyond that, the Fighting Sioux have faced a much tougher schedule.

UND has played 4 games against top-10 teams (vs. Michigan State, at Boston College, 2 vs. Colorado College), while Wisconsin has played #12 Notre Dame and three games against teams in the “others receiving votes” category (vs. Ohio State, 2 vs. Robert Morris). The 15 goals Wisconsin scored in their home series against Robert Morris, and specifically the 8 power play goals on 17 opportunities, have catapulted them to the top of most offensive categories. Kyle Turris, for example, collected 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists) on Robert Morris weekend.

Wisconsin Team Profile
National Rankings: #10/#10
Head Coach: Mike Eaves (6th season at UW, 111-80-23, .572)
This Season: 4-2-0 Overall, 1-1-0 WCHA
Special Teams: Power Play 34.4% (11 of 32), Penalty Kill 84.6% (33 of 39)
Last Season: 19-18-4, 12-13-3 WCHA (6th)
Key Returning Players: Junior F Ben Street (3-7-10), Sophomore F Michael Davies (2-2-4), Freshman F Kyle Turris (5-8-13), Senior D Kyle Klubertanz (4-4-8), Junior G Shane Connelly (3-2-0, 2.60, .897)

North Dakota Team Profile
National Rankings: #3/#4
Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (4th season at UND, 82-47-12, .624)
This Season: 4-2-1 Overall, 2-2-0 WCHA
Specialty Teams: Power Play 20.0% (7 of 35), Penalty Kill 94.1% (32 of 34)
Last Season: 24-14-5 (Frozen Four semifinalist), 13-10-5 WCHA (3rd)
Key Returning Players: Junior F Ryan Duncan (3-5-8), Junior F T.J. Oshie (5-2-7), Junior D Taylor Chorney (0-7-7), Senior D Robbie Bina (0-7-7), Senior G Jean-Philippe Lamoureux (4-2-1, 1.06 GAA, .958 SV, 4 SO)

By The Numbers
Last Meeting: December 9, 2006. Wisconsin defeats North Dakota 4-2 in Grand Forks to complete a two-game sweep of the Fighting Sioux. The Badgers won the first game, 4-3.
Last Meeting in Madison: October 14, 2006. Wisconsin defeats North Dakota 1-0 at the Kohl Center to earn a split of the weekend series. UND won the first game, 3-2 (OT).
Most Important Meeting: March 27, 1982. A 2-2 tie after two periods turns into a 5-2 Sioux victory, as Phil Sykes nets a hat trick and leads UND to its fourth National Championship.
All-time Series: Wisconsin leads the all-time series, 79-56-10 (.579), including a 42-21-3 mark (.659) in Madison and a 10-4 record (.714) at the Kohl Center.

Game News and Notes
Badger defensemen have scored 10 goals through 6 games, a number that equals their total from all of last season. North Dakota has only allowed one first period goal in seven games. Wisconsin failed to make the NCAA tournament last year after winning the national championship in 2006. After this weekend’s action, the Badgers head to Colorado Springs for a two-game set with #9 Colorado College. The following weekend, Wisconsin will compete against #2 Michigan and #4/#3 Michigan State in the College Hockey Showcase. UND is idle next weekend and hosts Minnesota-Duluth on November 23rd and 24th. Jean-Philippe Lamoureux has started 32 consecutive games, and needs one start to move alone into second place on UND’s all-time list. Al Finklelstein holds the Sioux start streak record with 40. WCHA teams have a combined 22-5-4 mark (.774) in non-conference action this season.

The Prediction
On neutral ice, I would lean toward three points for the Sioux, but at the Kohl Center, a split is the norm. The Badger offense comes back down to earth, but both sides earn two points. North Dakota 4-2 Friday, Wisconsin 3-2 Saturday.

For reaction to Friday’s game action, click here. Check back after Saturday’s contest for more analysis and commentary. Thank you for reading and, as always, I welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions.

UND vs. Colorado College Saturday Game React

Well, it was one of those nights. The Sioux outshot CC 18-4 in the first period, but trailed 1-0 after giving up a shorthanded goal.

Despite the shots on goal, there were a number of things I saw in the first period that did not bode well for the rest of the game. Players weren’t finishing checks and there were multiple odd-man rushes. I would venture a guess that UND allowed more outnumbered situations in this game than they had the entire season up until this point.

I am not sold on Marto and LaPoint as a defensive pair. I think there are different ways to get them both in the lineup.

Once again, CC looked faster than any team we’ve seen so far.

It would be tempting to talk about all of the things that could have gone differently, but I’d rather focus on the things CC was able to do to play their game. They were very effective on the forecheck, tipped passes and got in the way of shots, and cleared rebounds away from the net. In short, they played the game they needed to play to get a win on the road.

Check back later for a full Rewind from this weekend’s action. Thanks for reading. Please leave your comments, questions, or suggestions.

UND vs. Colorado College Friday Game React

First of all, Colorado College in person looked faster than Boston College did on TV. It seemed to take a few shifts for UND to adjust to the tempo.

T.J. Oshie put a statement hit on Colorado College defenseman Nate Prosser in the first period, a check that will be replayed on highlight reels all season long. The 6’2″, 203 lb. Tiger blueliner left the game and did not return. His status for Saturday’s contest is questionable.

Ryan Duncan became the second Sioux player in as many games to reach the 100 career point mark. His goal and assist put his career totals at 49 goals and 51 assists in 95 games. T.J. Oshie joined the Century Club with a hat trick last Saturday night against Michigan Tech.

This season, the VandeVelde-Oshie-Duncan line will grab most of the headlines, but the Sioux are getting contributions up and down the lineup. Other players are making plays, finishing checks, and drawing penalties, and a more balanced attack will help UND down the road.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Kaip will equal his career totals (8g-16a-24pts) this season (he has 2 goals and 1 assist through six games). I don’t think you could pick a better captain for this team.

It looked to me that Zajac was a bit upset at the hit on Kozek towards the end of the game; maybe more upset because the hit happened along the center ice boards with under 20 seconds to play.

It’s amusing that Lamoureux can give up 2 goals and see his goals-against average take a huge hit. His season line (6 games) now reads: 4-1-1 record, 0.71 goals-against average, .972 save percentage, 4 shutouts. Eye-popping numbers so far.

Kozek’s wrist shot seems quicker and more on target this season, and his four goals are second on the team to Oshie’s five.

At times, Forney was effective, and at other times, he appeared sluggish and overmatched along the boards. Hopefully, he can increase his speed and stamina as he plays more and more.

Much was made of the four players (Chorney, Duncan, Finley, Oshie) who decided to turn down pro offers and return for their junior seasons, and rightly so. Through 6 games, Ryan Duncan (3g-5a-8pts), T.J. Oshie (5-2-7), and Taylor Chorney (0-7-7) lead the team in scoring, and Finley has chipped in with one goal and one assist. The four players have scored 40% of the team’s goals and have collected 37% of the total points on the season.

The first power play unit of Duncan-Oshie-VandeVelde-Chorney-Bina moved the puck well tonight. They were patient and deliberate while getting into scoring areas. UND finished 2 of 6 with the man advantage, and held the Tigers scoreless on four power play opportunities.

UND moves to 4-1-1 (2-1-0 WCHA), while Colorado College loses its third consecutive game and now has a record of 2-3-0 (2-1-0 WCHA). The two teams meet again Saturday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Watch for another edition of the Rewind, where I take a closer look at goals, replays, and decisions within Friday night’s contest. I will also post reaction to Saturday night’s action at the conclusion of the game. Thanks for reading, and, as always, I welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions.

Game Preview: UND vs. Colorado College

Two seasons ago, the NCAA West Regional was held at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and the Fighting Sioux were in real danger of missing the national tournament. UND had gone 17-12-1 (10-10-0 WCHA) through its first thirty games, and found itself squarely on the bubble for the 16-team field.

An early-February series with Colorado College kick-started a 12-4 finish, including the WCHA Final Five Championship and a trip to the NCAA Frozen Four.

This season, the Colorado College Tigers know they have an opportunity to make some waves in the postseason, an opportunity they did not cash in on the last time Colorado Springs was home to the West Regional.

“We’re very excited and anxious for the season to get started,” said head coach Scott Owens. “Losing last year at home in the playoffs for the second year in a row left a bad taste in our mouths and knowing that we have an opportunity hosting the West Regional in ’07-’08 I think has really excited our team.”

In case you forgot, the last time Colorado College hosted the West Regional (2004), the Tigers failed to make the tournament. Denver defeated North Dakota, 1-0, in that West Regional final to advance to the Frozen Four.

Both teams know how important non-conference games are in determining the 16-team field for the NCAA tournament. UND sports a 2-0-1 mark in non-conference play; CC is 0-2 after a sweep at the hands of #4 New Hampshire last weekend. WCHA schools own a 20-5-4 (.759) record in non-conference play this season, a mark that bodes well for the conference come tournament time.

Colorado College Team Profile
National Rankings: #9/#10
Head Coach: Scott Owens (9th season at CC, 197-111-24, .630)
This Season: 2-2-0 Overall, 2-0-0 WCHA
Special Teams: Power Play 23.8% (5 of 21), Penalty Kill 86.4% (19 of 22)
Last Season: 18-17-4, 13-12-3 WCHA (5th)
Key Returning Players: Senior F Jimmy Kilpatrick (1-0-1), Senior F Scott McCulloch (1-1-2), Junior F Chad Rau (2-2-4), Sophomore F Bill Sweatt (2-2-4), Senior D Jack Hillen (1-4-5)

North Dakota Team Profile
National Rankings: #2/#3
Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (4th season at UND, 82-46-12, .629)
This Season: 3-1-1 Overall, 1-1-0 WCHA
Specialty Teams: Power Play 20.0% (5 of 25), Penalty Kill 96% (24 of 25)
Last Season: 24-14-5 (Frozen Four semifinalist), 13-10-5 WCHA (3rd)
Key Returning Players: Junior F Ryan Duncan (1-4-5), Junior F T.J. Oshie (4-0-4), Junior D Taylor Chorney (0-6-6), Senior D Robbie Bina (0-4-4), Senior G Jean-Philippe Lamoureux (3-1-1, 0.43 GAA, .983 SV, 4 SO)

By The Numbers
Last Meeting: January 6, 2007. UND defenseman Joe Finley scores with under 5 seconds remaining in the second period to break a 1-1 tie, and the Fighting Sioux hold on for a 2-1 victory in Colorado Springs to gain a split of the weekend series.
Last Meeting in Grand Forks: November 25, 2006. North Dakota turns in what head coach Dave Hakstol calls “our best 60 minutes of the season” and defeats the Tigers, 5-2.
Most Important Meeting: March 27, 1997. UND defeats Colorado College, 6-2, in the Frozen Four Semifinals in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Two nights later, North Dakota downs Boston University, 6-4, to claim its sixth NCAA Championship. North Dakota and Colorado College also met in the 2001 East Regional (Worcester, Mass.), with UND prevailing, 4-1.
All-time Series: UND leads the all-time series, 127-73-9, and holds a 77-18-5 mark against the Tigers in Grand Forks. The teams first met in 1948.

Game News and Notes
The Sioux will celebrate 60 years (1947-2007) of collegiate hockey over the weekend. The Sioux and Tigers have split their last three series in Grand Forks. Colorado College has played in 10 of the last 13 NCAA national tournaments, but has not won a national championship since 1957. Ryan Duncan needs two points to reach the 100 point plateau for his career; the junior forward has collected 48 goals and 50 assists through his first 94 games. T.J. Oshie was named the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week last week after he notched a hat trick in Saturday’s victory over Michigan Tech.

The Prediction
This weekend marks the only regular season meeting between the two schools, but I predict they will face each other again at the WCHA Final Five and on the national stage. UND and CC have split the last three series in Grand Forks, and that trend will continue. CC 4-2 Friday, UND 5-1 Saturday.

UND vs. Michigan Tech Saturday Game React

Maybe you remember Ben Cherski, Bill Reichart, and Jim Cahoon. Or you started watching Sioux hockey when Mark Taylor, Doug Smail, Phil Sykes, and Troy Murray were on the ice. Who can forget Bob Joyce, Steve Johnson, and Tony Hrkac? Perhaps your hockey heroes are Greg Johnson, Dixon Ward, and Lee Davidson? Jason Blake? Ryan Bayda? Brandon Bochenski? Zach Parise?

All of these hockey greats have one thing in common: they belong to UND’s most exclusive club. Not only are they members of the Fighting Sioux Century Club (100 career points), but they all scored more than one point per game during their time at UND.

And it’s time to make room for one more: T.J. Oshie.

T.J. Oshie became the 47th player to join the Century Club while averaging more than one point per contest (and the 76th Century Club member overall) by notching his third career hat trick in leading North Dakota past Michigan Tech, 6-0. Oshie now boasts career totals of 45 goals and 56 assists in his first 92 games.

And Ryan Duncan isn’t far behind. Duncan notched three assists on the night, and his 48 goals and 50 assists in 94 games leave him 2 points shy of joining Oshie in that exclusive company.

And this after the two junior forwards had notched just three points combined during their first four games of the season.

Oh, and by the way, in his first five games, senior goaltender Jean-Philippe Lamoureux has posted four shutouts to go along with a .983 save percentage and a goals-against average of 0.43. Lamoureux had four career shutouts in his first three seasons at UND.

The biggest difference in this game, to me, was the way this game was officiated. And, yes, it was officiated differently than Friday night’s contest. Interference, hooking, and holding were called as they should be called. And it worked both ways. But that allowed the skill players from both teams to create offense or draw penalties in the process.

UND went 3 for 8 on the power play tonight, while MTU went 0 for 7.

Chris VandeVelde (1 goal, 1 assist), Taylor Chorney (2 assists), and Robbie Bina (2 assists) also had multiple point nights for the Fighting Sioux.

VandeVelde with Oshie and Duncan seems to be working. When Oshie plays along the wall, and has fewer defensive responsibilities, it frees him up to create more up the ice. Look for this line to continue playing together.

Andrew Kozek notched his fourth goal of the season, and is showing signs of breaking out this year.

In his first game in a long time, Michael Forney showed poise and made a good first step toward cracking this lineup.

My three stars tonight would be Oshie, Duncan, and Lamoureux, but it would be a nice night to have 6 or 7 stars to give, as UND played well up and down the lineup.

UND moves to 3-1-1 (1-1-0 WCHA) on the season. Michigan Tech falls to 4-2-0 (3-1-0 WCHA). UND hosts Colorado College next weekend in WCHA action.

Thank you for reading. I welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions.

UND vs. Michigan Tech Friday Game React

Well, as I said here, a split in this series was likely, although I ended up predicting a win and a tie for UND due largely to the play of Jean-Philippe Lamoureux.

As it turns out, Michigan Tech has a shot at a sweep due to the play of its goaltender, Michael-Lee Teslak.

Clearly the player of the game, Teslak stopped all 14 shots that came his way in the third period, and made 26 out of 27 saves on the evening, as Michigan Tech downed UND 3-1 (empty net).

The Sioux peppered Michigan Tech in the last five minutes of the contest, but couldn’t solve the junior netminder, who moves to 2-1-0 on the season, with marks of 1.33 GAA and .942 SV.

The Huskies have won the last three meetings between the teams.

Andrew Kozek scored the lone goal for UND, his third of the season. He was assisted by defensemen Taylor Chorney and Chay Genoway.

In the post-game show, UND head coach Dave Hakstol made mention of the fact that in games like this, the team needs someone to step up and make a play.

Ryan Duncan and T.J. Oshie have 2 goals and 1 assist combined through the first four games of the season.

UND junior defenseman Taylor Chorney was named the number-two star of the game. UND senior defenseman Robbie Bina was named the number-three star.

Michigan Tech moves to 4-1-0 on the season, and is 3-0-0 in the WCHA. UND falls to 2-1-1 (0-1-0 WCHA). The two teams battle again tomorrow night. For more on the matchup between the two teams, click here.

Thank you for reading. Check back tomorrow night for post-game reaction and a recap of scores and happenings from around the league. As always, I welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions.