Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday Gameday: A Big Fight Feel

It's Rylan Kaip leveling Kyle Turris in the corner.

It's a 2-0 third period deficit in the 2008 Midwest Regional in Madison turning into a 3-2 OT win, sending UND to the Frozen Four on goals by Kaip, Ryan Duncan (PING!) and Andrew Kozek.

It's Dave Hakstol and Mike Eaves arguing on ice.

It's Cary Eades taking on the Wisconsin bench in the infamous Water Bottle Incident.

And for the first time since 2013, it's UND vs. the Wisconsin Badgers from the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks.

There's a big fight feel in the air tonight.

These former WCHA foes left for the NCHC and Big 10 to start the 2013-14 season and have gone in opposite directions. The Green and White have made back-to-back Frozen Fours while Wisconsin has seen unprecedented struggles. 

Excuse the cliche, but you can throw that all out the window this weekend.

It's UND vs. Wisconsin.

Here's what to watch for in DDC's weekly "Who? What? How?" series preview.


Players to Watch


Jr. F, Grant Besse 3 goals, 5 assists -- 8 points; Fr. F, Seamus Malone 2g, 5a -- 7pts; Fr. F, Luke Kunin 2g, 4a -- 6pts; Fr. G, Matt Juruski, 2-2-2, 2.84 goals against average, .904 save percentage.


UND Sr. F. Drake Caggiula

Sr. F, Drake Caggiula 2g, 7a -- 9pts; Sr. F, Bryn Chyzyk 5g, 2a -- 7pts; Fr. F, Brock Boeser 5g, 2a -- 7pts (T-2 in NCAA rookie goal scoring); Jr. D, Troy Stecher 2g, 5a -- 7pts; Jr. G, Matt Hyrnkiw, 5-0-1, 1.48 GAA (11th in NCAA), .942 SV PCT (13th in NCAA).


Standout Stats

UND brings in the NCAA's eighth-best scoring defense (1.62 goals against per game) and 16th-best scoring offense (3.62 goals scored per game) into this weekend's series.

UND's 6-0-2 mark is their longest unbeaten streak to start a season since 1999-00.

Wisconsin's sweep of Arizona State last weekend was their first series sweep since March 2014 against Penn State.

The Green and White are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games against the Badgers including a 4-3, 5-1 sweep last November in Madison.


How'd they get here?

UND swept Colorado College last weekend 5-2, 2-0 in Colorado Springs. The No. 1 Green and White are unbeaten on the season with a 6-0-2 record.

Wisconsin got a non-conference sweep of Arizona State 5-1, 2-1 at home. In Friday night's win, the Badgers outshot the D-I rookie Sun Devil team 56-19. They carry a 2-3-3 record to Grand Forks.

The Pick

UND celebrates its comeback 3-2 overtime win over Wisconsin in the
2008 Midwest Regional final in Madison. This is easily DDC's favorite
image from that game. J.P. Lamoreux's celebration is flat out epic.
Boy does this series bring the DDC back down memory lane.

Whether it's covering the 2-0 comeback in the 2008 Midwest Regional with one of his best friends while they both had bleach blonde hair (fun story... feel free to ask), a rowdy series in Madison where DDC watched UND clinch a MacNaughton Cup with a dozen of his fraternity brothers or seeing the Green and White end Wisco's season just one week after the Badgers got UND into the tournament, DDC flat out loves watching these two teams play and he has the honor of being in Grand Forks this weekend, to watch it in person.

Outside of the Minnesota Gophers, this is the one team that DDC hates more than any other. Year after year, big game after big game, playoff battle after playoff battle, UND vs. Wisconsin brings an intensity that few other rivalries in college hockey can bring.

Despite where they are in the national standing and their records, DDC expects a game Badgers team this weekend in Grand Forks.

All of the emotion aside, UND is playing better than Wisconsin.

The Green and White are No. 1 in the country, paced by a dynamic scoring punch and a goaltender playing as well as any the country.

The Badgers got their first sweep in 18+ months at the hands of D-I infant Arizona State.

UND is the better team in every phase, this season and while this series could very well end up being a dog fight, stirring up memories of battles of the past, the talent difference between these two teams can't be ignored.

Bring it, Bucky. It's time for a fight.


Come back after the series for DDC's recap.

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