Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Gameday: New Trend for No. 1?

Three weeks gone. Three new No. 1s.

After a 2-2 tie and a 3-2 win at home against No. 11 Nebraska-Omaha over Thanksgiving weekend, it’s time for UND’s crack as the top dog in the hockey world.

The newly-dubbed No. 1 North Dakota men’s hockey team will try to break the running trend of No. 1s to fall tonight and Saturday as the Green and White take on the Lake Superior State Lakers in Grand Forks.

Lowly Lakers?

 LSSU has struggled so far this season falling to 3-13 after a painful 7-0, 3-0 sweep at the hands of Minnesota State this past weekend, in which they were outshot 77-45.

The Lakers are a team coming into the Ralph Engelstad Arena searching for production on both sides of the ice.

Entering tonight’s tilt, the Lakers are near the bottom of the country in scoring as well as defense ranking 56th and 55th in goals per game (1.69) and goals allowed (3.88), respectively.

LSSU brings just one double-digit scorer into this weekend’s non-conference faceoff. Minot-native junior forward Bryce Schmitt leads the Lakers with 10 points (5g, 5a).

In the nets for the Lakers, freshman Gordon Defiel looks to improve on 3-11 record as well as a 3.53 goals against average and a .900 save percentage.

Lots of Leftovers

 Last weekend may have been Thanksgiving, but UND is looking to feast on a struggling LSSU squad.

Junior and November’s national player of the month Drake Caggiula paces North Dakota’s (10-3-2) attack that is scoring at a 3.22 goals per game clip.

The dynamic forward leads the Green and White with 20 points (7g, 13a). Caggiula’s linemates, seniors Michael Parks (5g, 11a –16 pts) and Mark MacMillan (7g, 6a – 13 pts) round out one of the nation’s top scoring groups.

It’s been Zane McIntyre’s net for UND this season and the junior has been up to the task. The reining National Collegiate Hockey Conference goaltender of the week carries a stellar 10-3-2 record into this weekend’s series.

The Pick

Simply put, UND cannot take anything less than a sweep. Facing a struggling opponent in a non-conference series, this is a weekend for North Dakota to flex its muscles. Although DDC knows a team like LSSU has nothing to lose and will bring its best to The Ralph this weekend, UND’s talent is too much to ignore. After being embarrassed at home in a 5-1 loss to Bemidji State and escaping Air Force with a come-from-behind 3-2 OT win earlier in the year, UND won’t take a wounded Laker team for granted. Fast starts are important for the Green and White as UND is clearly the better team this weekend.

UND SWEEPS, 4-0, 6-2.


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