Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Gameday: A Trip Down I-94

8-2-1 and 5-0.


Which trend will continue as the No. 2 UND men’s hockey team takes on the No. 16 St. Cloud State Huskies tonight and Saturday?

North Dakota is rolling coming into this weekend’s National Collegiate Hockey Conference tilt with that 8-2-1 record, going 5-0 on the road for the first time since the 1980-81 season However, UND is just 1-5-1 in its last seven games against St. Cloud.

Highs and lows

It’s been an up and down year thus far for the Huskies as they enter the weekend a very average 4-5-1 after a win and shootout loss this past weekend at Western Michigan.

At its high, St. Cloud knocked off previously unbeaten and No. 1 ranked Minnesota.

At its low, the Huskies got swept at home against UMD.
Jonny Brodzinski

Which team shows up this weekend against the Green and White will ultimately come down to a talented forward group.

Junior forwards Jonny Brodzinski (5g, 3a), Joey Benik (5g, 3a) and Kalle Kossila (2g, 6a) lead the Huskies with eight points while Senior defenseman and assistant captain Andrew Prochno (2g, 5a) is just behind the SCSU top line with seven.

Their explosive offense has been aided by a tremendous power play unit that is clipping at a 25% (11-out-of-44) rate this year, good for sixth-best in the country.

Sophomore goaltender Charlie Lindgren paces the Husky defense with a 4-5 record, 2.49 goals against average and .909 save percentage.

Top line vs. Top line

UND Jr. F. Drake Caggiula
is tied for the national lead
in points with 16.
The talented Benik, Kossila, Brodzinski line will certainly see its equal this weekend at the Herb Brooks Center.

The top line of seniors Michael Parks and Mark MacMillan and junior Drake Caggiula reunited this past weekend with MacMillan’s return from a wrist injury and it didn’t take long for the trio to get reacquainted.

The line recorded four points in a 2-2 tie on Friday and a whopping seven in a 4-1 victory on Saturday to earn a split with Miami in Grand Forks.

Caggiula leads the way for the nation’s seventh-best scoring team (3.55 goals a game) and is tied for first in the country in scoring with 16 points (6g, 10a). Parks (5g, 9a) and MacMillan (6g, 4a) are right behind him with 14 and 10 points respectively.

Between the pipes, it’s all Zane McIntyre.

The junior stalwart has been as steady as steady goes this season with a 8-2-1 record, 1.95 goals against average and .928 save percentage.

McIntyre had a rough start to open the year, getting yanked in the second period after giving up four goals in an embarrassing 5-1 home loss to Bemidji State.

Since that game, however, the netminder is 8-1-1 with a tiny 1.67 GAA and stellar .935 SV PCT.

The Pick

With all this talk about offense, it’s easy to forget about the talent on the blue lines. DDC believes this is where the weekend is won and frankly, UND’s is better than St. Cloud’s.

Sophomore defenseman Paul LaDue returned from injury against Miami and was very quiet and seemed to be getting his legs underneath him. North Dakota fans know what this kid is like when he gets going. LaDue will be a key cog this weekend for the Green and White.

The offenses on both ends of the ice will get theirs this weekend, but DDC believes  UND’s ability to play shutdown defense while providing offense at the same time, ultimately makes the difference.

DDC has been much maligned this season for picking a sweep every week, but, you know what? He’s only been wrong on two weekends. Call him a homer if you want, but DDC thinks UND is playing great hockey right now. The 1-5-1 trend falls by the wayside and a 2-0 streak starts for the Green and White in St. Cloud.

UND SWEEPS … 4-3, 5-3.


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