Thursday, January 12, 2017

Friday Gameday: UND Looks to Make 2017 Great... Again?

UND forward Brock Boeser (16) celebrates a goal in last Friday's 9-1 win over UNO in Omaha. Boeser returned
from wrist surgery, netting two goals in his first action since November 19th. Photo: Megan Farmer/The World-Herald.
It's 2017 and change is abound.

DDC is no longer a 20-something, the United States is about to inaugurate a new president, baby DDC No. 2 is less than two months away from entering this crazy world and after an up-and-down start of the season, the UND men's hockey team seems to be turning the corner.

After a New Years Eve 3-1 victory over Union in Upstate New York, North Dakota traveled to Omaha and brought two big guns with them. UND got back Brock Boeser from wrist surgery and Tyson Jost from a silver medal performance for Team Canada in the World Junior Championship tournament and their impacts were felt immediately. Boeser scored twice on Friday and then netted another and assisted twice on Saturday for a five-point weekend. Jost on Friday, having almost no sleep on the heels the gold medal game in the WJC in Montreal the night before, scored and added an assist. Then on Saturday, playing his fourth game in four days and fifth in six days, potted two goals for a crazy, four point weekend.

UND Fr. F, Tyson Jost
had a four-point weekend
at UNO (3 goals, 1 assist).
Think about this for a second ... UND rolled the Mavericks, a Team Under Consideration in the PairWise rankings and a conference foe in Omaha with two blowout victories (9-1, 7-3), potting 16 goals, their most on a weekend since the 2010-11 season. North Dakota has now won three-in-a-row and five of their last six games.

As the college hockey world saw these developments, a loud "uh oh" could be plainly heard. The Green and White may have found their mojo.

With their lineup back to form, No. 7 UND welcomes the Miami RedHawks to the Ralph Engelstad Arena this weekend for an important National Collegiate Hockey Conference series that sees Miami also on the uptick.

After a rough 0-7-2 streak, the RedHawks have heated up, winning four straight games and going unbeaten in their last five. That includes a sweep at home against SCSU, 3-2 (OT) and 4-1 last weekend.

After their huge sweep on the road, UND is now third in the NCHC and looking to cement their place as the second half gets rolling. Miami is 6th and a good showing in Grand Forks would certainly vault them into 2017.

Who will continue their New Year hot start?

Here's what to watch for as Miami faces off with the Green and White in DDC's first "Who? What? How?" series preview of 2017.


Players to Watch


Miami Fr. F, Carson Meyer
is sixth in the NCAA
in Rookie points per
game with 1.06.

Sr. F, Anthony Louis, 11 goals, 14 assists -- 25 points; So. F, Kiefer Sherwood, 10g, 13a -- 23 pts; So. F, Josh Melnick, 6g, 11a -- 17 pts; Fr. F, Carson Meyer, 5g, 12a -- 17 pts; Jr. D, Louie Belpedio, 3g, 6a -- 9 pts;  Fr. G, Ryan Larkin, 6-6-5, 2.48 goals against average, .914 save percentage.


So. F, Shane Gersich, 15g, 13a -- 28 pts (3rd in the NCAA in goals); Fr. F, Tyson Jost, 10g, 12a -- 22 pts (T-2 in NCAA in rookie goals and 6th in rookie points/game); So. F, Brock Boeser, 10g, 11a -- 21 pts; Jr. D, Tucker Poolman, 4g, 14a -- 18 pts; Jr. F, Austin Poganski, 7g, 10a -- 17 pts; Jr. G, Cam Johnson, 12-6-3, 2.08 GAA, .916 SV PCT.


Standout Stats


The Redhawks lead the NCHC on the penalty kill and is 13th in the nation with a 85.3% mark.

Miami has struggled offensively, at times, this season, averaging just 2.6 goals per game which is T-40th in the NCAA. However, they've scored at a 3.4 goals per game clip during their current five-game unbeaten streak.

Freshman forward Carson Meyer ranks sixth in the NCAA in rookie points per game at 1.06 (5 goals, 12 assists in 16 games).


UND is 9th in the country in goals against, allowing just 2.19 goals per game and are T-9 in goals scored with a 3.52 per game average.

The Green and White's 16-goal outburst last weekend in Omaha was their most in a series since they scored 17 to close out the 2010-11 season at Michigan Tech.

Sophomore forward Shane Gersich is tied with Omaha's Austin Ortega for the NCHC goal lead with 15 and is tied for 3rd nationally.

Freshman forward Tyson Jost leads the NCHC and is sixth nationally with a 63% faceoff win mark.


How’d they get here?

Miami (PWR: 28, 7-8-5; 3-4-3-1 – 13 points, 5th in NCHC) swept SCSU at home 3-2 in OT and 4-1. The Redhawks are unbeaten in their last five games (4-0-1).

No. 7 UND (PWR: 7, 12-6-3; 5-4-1-1 – 17 points, 3rd in NCHC) swept UNO last weekend in Omaha, drubbing the Mavericks 9-1 and 7-3. The Green and White have won five of their past six.

The Pick

The last time Miami traveled to Grand Forks, the REA faithful were treated to one of the most memorable goals ever scored in UND history.

It will forever be known by DDC and many others as "The Tic-Tic-Tic-Tac-Toe" goal.

This will be a goal that all UND fans will remember as the seminal play of the Green and White's 8th national champion season in 2015-16. 

While this goal means nothing in terms of this weekend, DDC just had to bring it up. Sorry, Miami fans.

Ok, so with that, on to The Pick. 

Both teams are playing much better of late, but DDC can't shake off what he saw last weekend as UND destroyed Omaha. While 16 goals will more than likely not be repeated, that series showed the college hockey world that the Green and White are ready for a serious run at defending their crown. 

The return of Boeser and Jost to the lineup has given UND a huge shot in the arm and has evened out their scoring attack. Shane Gersich is having a monster year and leads the NCHC in goals and is third in the NCAA with 15. With Jost and Boeser on separate lines, UND is 4-0, outscoring their opponents  by a ridiculous 23-4 margin while going an equally ridiculous 9-for-20 on the power play. 

Couple these points with a defense allowing just 2.19 goals per game, the 9th-best mark in the NCAA, UND is turning up their performance. 

DDC sees the Green and White sweeping the RedHawks to keep their 2017 going in the right direction.


There's The Pick. Check back next week to see if North Dakota kept it rolling. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Friday Gameday: A 20-Something Sweep, Not a Dirty 30 Geritol, Please?

DDC turns 30 on Saturday and is
feeling spry with no supplements needed.
This is DDC's last post as a 20-Something as he turns 30 on Saturday and he'd love a birthday present from his beloved UND men's hockey team and he's not asking for medication for any elderly ailment.

Much like DDC's 29 years on this wonderful earth, it's been an up-and-down first half for the defending national champions. (Pretty much kidding with DDC's up-and-down life 😀)

The UND men's hockey team started their title defense 5-0 then went on a six-game winless streak, the Green and White's longest since the 2002-03 season. UND followed that up with an impressive sweep in St. Cloud for the first time since 1998 and then slipped again the next weekend as North Dakota lost and tied Michigan State, who entered that weekend near the bottom of the PairWise rankings. Last weekend, the upswing came back as UND topped rival Boston College 4-3 in the College Hockey Showdown game from Madison Square Garden in New York City.

So, in short, DDC really has no idea what the heck is going to happen as the No. 18 Western Michigan Broncos travel to Grand Forks to take on the No. 8 Green and White.

This is DDC's last "He's in his 20s, he wears it well and still doesn't need any Little Blue Pill or Geritol" series preview. Here's what to watch for as DDC brings back his "Who? What? How?" look of this last National Collegiate Hockey Conference tussle of 2016.


Players to Watch

WMU So. Matheson Iacopelli
leads the NCHC with 13 goals.

Western Michigan:

So. F, Matheson Iacopelli, 13 goals, 4 assists -- 17 points; Sr. D, Taylor Fleming, 0g, 13a -- 13 pts; So. F, Griffen Molino, 4g, 7a -- 11 pts; Fr. F, Wade Allison, 7g, 3a -- 10 pts; Sr. F, Sheldon Dries, 4g, 6a -- 10 pts;  So. G, Trevor Grouch, 4-3-2, 3.07 goals against average, .894 save percentage.


So. F, Shane Gersich, 11g, 11a -- 22 pts; Fr. F, Tyson Jost, 7g, 10a -- 17 pts; So. F, Brock Boeser, 7g, 9a -- 16 pts (likely out this weekend); Jr. D, Tucker Poolman, 4g, 10a -- 14 pts; Jr. F, Austin Poganski, 3g, 7a -- 10 pts; Jr. G, Cam Johnson, 8-5-3, 2.24 GAA, .907 SV PCT.


Standout Stats

Western Michigan:

The Broncos are 9th in the NCAA in goals per game with a 3.64 average and are 11th in power play at 22.1%.

Sophomore Matheson Iacopelli leads the NCHC with 13 goals for the year after scoring just once in his freshman season in 27 games played.

WMU has just one win in their last five games (1-2-2).


UND is 11th in the country in goals against, allowing just 2.31 goals per game and are 26th in goals scored with a 3.06 per game average.

UND is 15-1-0 all time against WMU, with their lone loss coming in 2013-14, costing UND a Penrose Cup title in the NCHC's first season. The Green and White won all four games between the two teams last season. Netminder Cam Johnson won all four of those games with a sterling 1.56 goals against average and .948 save percentage.

Sophomore forward Shane Gersich is tied with Omaha's Austin Ortega for the NCHC scoring lead with 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists).

Freshman forward has six points in his last five games (4 goals, 2 assists) including a pair of goals in two separate games (last week against Boston College and Nov. 25 at home against Michigan State).


How’d they get here?

No. 18 WMU (PWR: 11, 7-4-3; 3-4-1 – 11 points, 3rd in NCHC) fell 3-0 at home against St. Cloud State on Friday and tied 5-5, but won in a shootout to gain the extra conference point on Saturday.

No. 8 UND (PWR: 7, 8-5-3; 2-3-1 – 8 points, 6th in NCHC) topped No. 3 Boston College 4-3 in the College Hockey Showdown game from Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The Pick

UND Fr. F, Tyson Jost celebrates one of his two goals in the Green and
White's 4-3 win over Boston College last Saturday from Madison Square
Garden in New York City. (Photo credit: Russell Hons/UND Athletics)
This is a different looking Western Michigan squad from their recent incarnations as they can score goals (9th in the NCAA in scoring) and have beaten three ranked teams, including Denver. 

On the other side of the ice, like DDC previously mentioned, UND has been wholly an up-and-down team. They've looked dominant at times and completely lost and uninspired at others. 

The Green and White took to a big stage last weekend in NYC and outplayed the No. 3 BC Eagles, particularly when 5-on-5, and got scoring from their top-end players as well as third and fourth liners. This development will be huge for UND, going forward. 

With Brock Boeser likely out for another weekend as he nurses an arm injury, Tyson Jost and Shane Gersich will need to continue to lead the way in the scoring department. Where UND gets tough to beat is when players like Trevor Olson, who scored his first goal in 57 games, the game winner against BC, find the back of the net. 

Again, this isn't the plodding and overly physical WMU team that UND has seen in recent years and the Green and White will need to slow a Broncos squad that is scoring plenty of goals, this season. 

UND must stay out of the penalty box as they have played very well when 5-on-5 this season but are a lowly 79.7% on the penalty kill and WMU is clicking with a 11th-best in the NCAA power play (22.1%). If the Green and White can stay out of the box and give open viewing lanes to Cam Johnson in net, UND has shown the ability to score enough goals and deny chances and win games.


There you have it. Thanks for reading and for all birthday gifts, feel free to comment and DDC will send you his address. Cheers!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Friday Gameday: 8 > 0.6

April 10, 2014.

It's a date that DDC, and many fans of the UND men's hockey team and the Minnesota Gophers, will never forget -- albeit for opposite reasons.

If that date doesn't ring a bell, this probably will:


Remember? Sorry. DDC just threw up in his mouth a little bit. Ok, he's better.

It has been over two years since the Green and White and the Maroon and Gold have met on the ice, but for fans and players alike, that sure won't diminish the hostility as No. 3 UND and No. 13 Minnesota faceoff in a non-conference series from Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis Friday and Saturday.

While the programs and fanbases sure know each other well, the two teams really do not. Just two players from the epic Frozen Four semifinal game in 2014 remain on UND's 2016-17 squad -- Seniors Gage Ausmus and Matt Hrynkiw -- and neither played in that matchup. On the other side of the ice, just four on the Gophers were there -- Justin Kloos, Taylor Cammarata, Vinni Lettieri and Connor Reilly. None of those four registered a point or penalty.

Unfamiliarity aside, there's no doubt this rivalry survives a couple years without playing. Make no mistake, these two teams want to win these games for multiple reasons, bragging rights included.

"It's on our walls all over the rink, UND head coach Brad Berry said to the media on Wednesday. "We haven't played them in a few years, but the history and the tradition resonate through this building and out program."

In a testament to that tradition, former Fighting Sioux greats and teammates T.J. Oshie and Taylor Chorney and current teammates of the Washington Capitals, drove six hours round trip to Grand Forks to speak to the Green and White about the importance of this rivalry during a day off in preparation for a game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Read about that story from the Grand Forks Herald's Brad Schlossman here:

This week's Through These Doors also includes comments from Chorney and Oshie, talking about this UND program and touches on the rivalry renewed.

While Minnesota's heart-wrenching goal was a true moment in this rivalry, UND has the chip that ultimately holds most importance -- the national title. For two programs that pride themselves on winning and tradition, this truly matters most.

Sorry, Gopher fans. As we've said for the longest time and now have added to it, 8 > 5. Taking it one step further, 8 really is > than 0.6. Don't deny it.

All rivalry gusto aside, these are two games that both of these squads want to win. UND got spanked last weekend in Duluth and needs to get back on track. Minnesota has started off the season well and wants a sweep against their bitter rival before they head into Big 10 play. As it always is, this weekend will be a fun one to watch.

Here's what to watch for as The Rivalry renews in DDC's "Who? What? How?" series preview.


Players to Watch

Sr. F, Justin Kloos
captains the No. 13 ranked
Minnesota Gophers


So. F, Tyler Sheehy, 3 goals, 5 assists -- 8 points; Jr. F, Leon Bristedt, 3g, 4a -- 7 pts; Sr. D, Jake Bischoff, 2g, 4a -- 6 pts; Sr. F, Justin Kloos, 2g, 3a -- 5 pts; Jr. F, Mike Szmatula 3g, 3a -- 6 pts; So. G, Eric Schierhorn, 3-2-1, 2.78 goals against average, .890 save percentage.


So. F, Brock Boeser, 6g (T-6th in NCAA), 6a -- 12 pts (T-5th in NCAA); So. F, Shane Gersich, 4g, 6a -- 10 pts; Fr. F, Tyson Jost -- 2g, 5a -- 7 pts; Jr. D, Tucker Poolman, 1g, 5a -- 6 pts; So. F, Joel Janatuinen, 3g, 2a -- 5 pts; Jr. F, Austin Poganski, 2g, 2a -- 4 pts; Jr. G, Cam Johnson, 5-2-0, 2.31 GAA, .894 SV PCT.


Standout Stats


The Gophers come into this weekend's series 12th in the NCAA in power play (20.8%)  but are just 43rd in penalty kill (80.6%).

Minnesota is No. 5 in the country in goals score per game with 4.17 and tied for 23rd in goals allowed at 2.83 goals per game.

Gophers Head Coach Don Lucia is one win away from his 700th career win. He would become just the seventh coach in NCAA history to reach that mark.


The Green and White have struggled on special teams this year, slotting themselves tied for 32nd on the penalty kill (83.3%) and 40th in power play (13.5%) in the NCAA.

Despite giving up 63 shots on goal last weekend to Minnesota Duluth, UND still leads the NCAA in lowest shots on goal allowed with 21.71 shots per game and is eighth in putting shots on goal at 34.71.

UND sits at 3.57 goals per game and 2.43 goals allowed, which puts them tied for 16th and tied for 19th respectively.


How'd they get here?

No. 1 UND (5-2-0) got swept for just the third time in 88 regular-season series last weekend in Duluth. The Bulldogs swept the Green and White for the first time since 1995 and first time since 1992 in Duluth.

UND is 3-6-1 in the last 10 against Minnesota after going 6-2-2 in the previous 10. UND hasn't beat Minnesota since the "Timeout" game in the WCHA Final Five Semifinals on March 16, 2012. Just in case you don't remember that one...
No. 13 Minnesota (3-2-1) got a win and a tie in two overtime contests out east. The Gophers trailed Clarkson 3-0 on Friday night, but stormed back and won in OT 4-3. On Saturday, Mike Szmatula scored with just 23 seconds left to lead Minnesota to a 2-2 tie.

The Pick

This rivalry produced DDC's favorite college hockey picture
of all time -- Matt Frattin's demolition of Kevin Wehrs in 2010.
(Photo: The great John Stennes, Grand Forks Herald)
Boy, this one is hard. Everything in DDC's homer blood wants to pick a sweep, expecting the Green and White to roll into Mariucci with a chip on its shoulder and dominate Minnesota. However, UND is coming off a weekend in Duluth in which they were beaten handily and it looked like they weren't ready for a big stage. And simply put, this is a very, very big stage. 

DDC had a conversation on Thursday with his father, Papa DDC, and the thought came up -- "Which team in Green and White will show up in Minneapolis?" Is it the team that played tenacious defense and held its opponents to very few shots and only a few Grade A chances per game in a 5-0 start or the team that got wholly blown out of AmsOil Arena and showed its youth in front of a hostile crowd last weekend in Duluth?

Much like UND, Minnesota has game-breaking skill in players like Justin Kloos and Tyler Sheehy. Also like UND, the Gophers seem to be a little leaky on the blue line and prefer to play an up-tempo game that features their skill and speed while doing their best to not let their opponent grind out games. 

One difference hasn't been expressed, thus far and that's the Olympic-sized ice sheet in Mariucci Arena. Minnesota has always been terrific using this extra space on the power play and they are going pretty strong with the extra man, so far. Slowing Minnesota's chances with the extra man, being responsible in the zone and clearing rebounds, will go a long way for UND taking points in Minneapolis. 

So, what's the game breaker this weekend? Minnesota isn't as solid defensively as Minnesota Duluth was last weekend and the Green and White must take advantage of this. Brock Boeser was held without a point last weekend and with the extra space on the Olympic ice and playing against a defense who isn't as strong, Boeser needs to produce. This extends to the blue line, as well. DDC foresees Tucker Poolman and Christian Wolanin, UND's best two playmaking defenseman, having opportunities to make plays. If big-bodied players like Rhett Gardner and Austin Poganski can take away the eyes of Minnesota's solid netminder, Eric Shierhorn, Poolman and Wolanin can go to work.

While these two teams don't know each other very well, the programs do. UND and Minnesota are very aware of what this series means to their fanbases and this will be a fun series to watch. DDC was in the house for UND's destruction of Minnesota in a 5-3, 7-3 sweep in 2007 featuring one of DDC's favorite all-time plays in "The Rivalry" -- Robbie Bina's full-length goal. Just for funsies, let's see that one again. 
Sorry, not sorry. DDC had to.

This was the last time UND swept Minnesota in Mariucci Arena. Again, everything in DDC's homer body wants to pick a sweep, but it's just too hard to do with last week looming over UND's head. However, with this adversity, you can take a bit of the homer out of the DDC, but you certainly cannot take all of it. The Green and White, after learning how to play in big stage last week in Duluth, doesn't lose in Mariucci, this weekend. DDC will be in the house on Friday, so he goes with a win there.


There it is. It's exciting to this blogger that The Rivalry is back starting this weekend for the next seven year. This is a series that college hockey world needs to see every year and DDC is pumped that it's back. Check back later to see how it all went down. 

Just because he can, here's some of DDC's favorite moments from the best rivalry in college hockey. Hopefully this gets you all in the mood for some great hockey.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Roses and Thorns: Let's Keep This Short, Shall We?

In a battle of No. 1 and No. 2 in the NCAA, the UMD Bulldogs took it to No. 1 UND, sweeping the Green and White,
5-2, 3-0, for the Bulldogs' first home sweep over UND since 1992. (Photo: Duluth News Tribune)
For sanity's sake, we're going to keep this short and to the point.

In a showdown of No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the NCAA, No. 2 flat out put it on No. 1.

The UND men's hockey team traveled to Duluth and AmsOil Arena to take on the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, in a city where they hadn't been swept since 1992. Two losses later, 5-2 on Friday and 3-0 on Saturday, the Green and White left Duluth with their first two losses on the season.

With the Presidential Election now just a week away, let's put this in prespective.

The last time UMD swept UND in Duluth, George H.W. Bush was the current president and Bill Clinton had just been elected as the next.

It was hard for DDC to find things he would consider Roses and Thorns were a plenty. So, DDC is going to keep it short. Flat out, UMD took it to the Green and White this weekend.


No. 1 -- Saturday's Strong Start

Yes, UND gave up the first goal for the sixth-straight game, but it came after a very solid start for the Green and White. UMD did not register a shot on UND goaltender Cam Johnson until 13 minutes into the game and had just three in the first 25. However, the Bulldogs scored 11:24 into the second period on a shorthanded goal, added a power play tally just over four minutes later and rounded out the third with another shorty, with under a minute left, in the second stanza to pace a 3-0 victory. A promising start didn't lead UND to victory, but showing some early spark is the only real bright spot for the Green and White on the weekend.


No. 1 -- Not-so-Special Teams

UND went a paltry 1-for-13 with the extra man against the Bulldogs, including a 0-for-7 mark on Saturday that included two minute-plus long 5-on-3 power plays. To make things worse, UMD netted two shorthanded goals on Saturday. Through seven games, the Green and White are just 5-for-37 (13.5%) on the power play and are 30-for-36 (83.3%) on the penalty kill, ranking them 40th and T-32 in the NCAA, respectively. Yuck. Simply put, this has to improve. UND came to play on Saturday after a wholly disappointing performance on Friday, but lost the special teams battle and that lead to the sweep. Time for the Green and White to become special on special teams if they want to get the results they are looking for.

No. 2 -- Looking Young

UMD Jr. F, Alex Iafallo
notched a five-point weekend
against UND, including a
hat trick on Friday night.

Last year's national championship team certainly had its share of young players, but also carried a core of upperclassmen, like Drake Caggiula, Paul LaDue, Troy Stecher and others that really knew how to handle big-time situations. In Duluth this past weekend, UMD showed that kind of veteran presence and handled the big stage much better than UND. The Bulldogs got five of their eight goals in the series from upperclassmen, including a hat trick from junior Alex Iaffalo on Friday. Yes, UND's best player, Brock Boeser, is a sophomore and to attest to the looking young point, Boeser was held without a point in the series. As the season goes along, the freshmen and sophomores will continue to improve, but to go to the next level, the Green and White needs to lean on their upperclassmen who have been there before, particularly on the blue line.

Well, there you have it. Not much good came out of this weekend, but maybe this weekend's rough performance will lead UND to bigger and better things. 

For just the third time in 88 series, the Green and White were swept. That's a pretty remarkable run. 

Up Next? The Rivalry Returns

Can the Green and White shake off this performance? Well, we'll find out and it's coming at an interesting time as UND travels to Minneapolis this coming Friday and Saturday to take on their bitter rival Minnesota Gophers in a regular season series for the first time since UND left for the NCHC and the Gophers to the Big 10. 

Yes, DDC fans, it's UND/Minnesota week. It's time to turn the page. Bring on the Gophers. 

Check back later this week for the breakdown of the best rivalry in college hockey back at it from Mariucci Arena. Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday Gameday: A Tussle at the Top

For a series in late October, it really doesn't get any better than this.

It's a showdown of the No. 1 UND men's hockey team and the No. 2 Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs from AmsOil Arena in Duluth, the first regular-season tussle between the nation's top two teams since 2008.

The Green and White come in undefeated, but a bit untested as they've beaten three teams, Canisius, RPI and Bemdiji State, with a combined seven wins. On the other side of that spectrum, the Bulldogs have proven their mettle against some of the NCAA's best, Michigan Tech, UMass-Lowell and Notre Dame, going 3-1-2.

It's the first National Collegiate Hockey Conference series for both teams and the points on the line aren't just for the polls as both are looking to start off on the right NCHC foot.

It's going to be a fun weekend against teams who know each other very well and here's what to watch for in DDC's "Who? What? How?" series preview.


Players to Watch

UMD So. D, Neal Pionk
leads all NCHC defensemen
with seven points (3g, 4a).

Minnesota Duluth

So. F, Adam Johnson, 4 goals, 3 assists -- 7 points; So. D, Neal Pionk, 3g, 4a -- 7 pts; Fr. F, Joey Anderson, 0g, 6a -- 6 pts; Sr. F, Kyle Osterberg, 3g, 2a -- 5 pts; Sr. F, Alex Iafallo, 2g, 2a -- 4 pts; So. G, Nick Deary, 1-0-2, 1.54 goals against average (6th in NCAA), .934 save percentage (T-10th in NCAA); Fr. G, Hunter Miska, 2-0-0, 2.73 GAA, .877 SV PCT.


So. F, Brock Boeser, 6g (T-2nd in NCAA), 6a -- 12 pts (2nd in NCAA); So. F, Shane Gersich, 3g, 5a -- 8 pts; Fr. F, Tyson Jost -- 2g, 5a -- 7 pts; Jr. D, Tucker Poolman, 1g, 5a -- 6 pts; So. F, Joel Janatuinen, 3g, 2a -- 5 pts; Jr. F, Austin Poganski, 2g, 2a -- 4 pts; Jr. G, Cam Johnson, 5-0-0, 1.81 GAA, .899 SV PCT.


Standout Stats


The Green and White are allowing just 17.8 shots on goal per game, the best in NCAA by over three shots per game and are third in the country in shots on goal with 37.4 per game.

North Dakota is 6-1 all time at AmsOil Arena outscoring UMD 27-8 in those seven games including a pair of 3-0 shutouts last season. In fact, the Bulldogs haven't scored a goal against UND in 166 minutes and 23 seconds in AmsOil, the last coming in 2014.

With Zach Yon's goal in last Saturday's 5-4 win against Bemidji State, all five UND freshman forwards have scored a goal.

Minnesota Duluth

The Bulldogs haven't won a series against UND since 2008 and haven't swept the Green and White -- home or away -- since 1995.

Sophomore defenseman Neal Pionk's seven points (3g, 4a) leads all NCHC defenseman and Freshman goaltender Nick Deary is 6th in the NCAA with a 1.54 goals against average and 10th in the NCAA with a .934 save percentage. 

This weekend's series will be UMD's fourth consecutive playing a team ranked in the poll at the time they played their opponent. So far this season, the Bulldogs have played No. 17 Michigan Tech, No. 8 UMass-Lowell and No. 5 Notre Dame. 


How'd they get here?

No. 1 UND (5-0-0) swept Bemidji State in Grand Forks, 3-2, 5-4, coming from behind from early deficits in each game. Going back to last Thanksgiving, the Green and White have lost just four times in their last 35 games (29-4-2).

No. 2 Minnesota Duluth (3-1-2) lost an exhibition affair against the USA U-18 team 2-1, while playing all three goaltenders one period and outshooting Team USA 33-18. UMD split a home series against Notre Dame on October 14-15 winning 4-3 on Friday and falling 3-1 on Saturday.

The Pick

UND has been dominant against Minnesota Duluth in AmsOil Arena since its opening in 2010, posting a 6-1 record
in the Bulldogs' home rink. The Green and White spoiled the opening in December 2010, rolling UMD 5-0. UND hasn't
allowed the Bulldogs a goal against in AmsOil in 166 minutes, 23 seconds, not scoring since 2014.
This series is an interesting one in many aspects. On one side of the ice, you have UND who is undefeated, but not having seen the quality of UMD and on the other, the Bulldogs have played top competition all season and are still No. 2 in the country.

The Green and White have had UMD's number of late in the regular season, including two sweeps last year, but Duluth knocked off UND in the Frozen Faceoff.

UND's Brock Boeser went absolutely nutty last weekend against BSU, netting his second-career hat trick on Friday and adding two more goals on Saturday and is kicking off his Hobey Baker campaign in style. The Green and White's top line of Boeser, sophomore Shane Gersich and freshman Tyson Jost have lit up the score sheet so far and are looking to cement themselves as one of the nation's top lines against a freshman goaltender in Nick Deary who came in highly touted and has brought that talent to the NCAA ice.

Will the Green and White continue its dominant play in AmsOil Arena? The Bulldogs are definitely aware of what UND has done to them in Duluth and overall in recent years and they will come out firing. UMD presents UND its first huge challenge of the year and despite going 5-0, the Green and White have had some big-time defensive lapses that have led to goals against. With a lineup chocked full of veteran scoring, the Green and White will need to tighten up defensively.

Another stat that could loom large is that UND has given up the first goal in 4-of-5 games this year. While they've come back to win in all four, falling behind against a UMD team that is getting solid netminding and features a defense with top D-men Neal Pionk and Willie Raskob, the Green and White need quick starts to get wins in Duluth.

With all of that said, DDC likes UND's depth so far as they have gotten scoring from all over the lineup. If they can get a couple goals from their bottom two lines, the top line of Boeser, Gersich and Jost could make up the difference. Until DDC sees UND falter, he's not going to pick against them.


Thanks for reading and head back early next week to see who prevailed in the matchup of No. 1 versus No. 2. It should be a heckuva weekend.