Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Gameday: This One's for the Seniors

New weekend, same script.

With just four games remaining in the regular season, the No. 1 UND men’s hockey team has a critical match up against a conference foe with big points on the line.

This weekend, the Green and White welcome the St. Cloud State Huskies into the Ralph Engelstad Arena and UND controls its destiny in the race for the Penrose Cup as National Collegiate Hockey Conference regular season champions. North Dakota leads the conference by three points over Miami.

While UND may be the team with more to play for in terms of conference play, St. Cloud State’s incentive for wins this weekend comes with national tournament implications, as the Huskies jumped back into PairWise consideration with a big sweep at home against Omaha last weekend.

North Dakota is all but a lock for the NCAA tournament after a sweep last weekend at Western Michigan and with a sweep and some help around the league, could win the Penrose outright on Saturday.

So, needless to say, this series is a big one.

Here’s what to watch for in DDC’s “Who? What? How?” series preview.


Players to watch

St. Cloud State:

Jr. F, Jonny Brodzinski, 17 goals, 12 assists – 29 points
Jr. F, Joey Benik, 11g, 18a – 29 pts
Jr. F, Kalle Kossila, 4g, 20a – 24 pts

So. G, Charlie Lindgren, 14-13-1, .916 save percentage, 2.30 goals against average


Jr. F, Drake Caggiula, 15 goals, 16 assists  – 31 points
Sr. F, Michael Parks, 12g, 19a – 31 pts
Sr. F, Mark MacMillan, 16g, 9a – 25 pts

Jr. G, Zane McIntyre, 22-6-3, 1.96 goals against average, .932 save percentage (8th in NCAA). 22 wins are good for No. 2 in the NCAA.


Senior Send Off

It's senior weekend for the last class to wear a Fighting Sioux logo. Let that sink in for a second.

UND will honor its seven seniors, Mark MacMillan, Michael Parks, Brendan O’Donnell, Connor Gaarder, Stephane Pattyn, Andrew Panzarella and Nick Mattson, after Saturday night's tilt.

This class deserves every accolade it can get. Here's hoping the Green and White can get six big points for this outstanding, leadership-driven class.

This week, Through These Doors takes a look at UND's senior class.


Standout stats


2.87 goals per game, 2.47 goals allowed per game, 23.4% power play (3rd in NCAA), 79.3% penalty kill (44th in NCAA)

-2 overall in third period, 0-9 on the year when trailing after two periods, 1 short-handed goal on the year

3-0-1 in last four at Ralph Engelstad Arena


3.42 GPG (7th in NCAA), 2.13 GAG (10th in NCAA), 20.5% PP, 85.0% PK

15-0-3 when scoring first, 18-0-2 when leading after 2, +11 in third, 9 short-handed goals, leads NCAA

Can Mac Hit the Milestone?

MacMillan enters the weekend just one point shy of 100 for his career. He'd be the 85th player for UND to do so.


How’d they get here?


No. 14 PWR, NR USCHO, 15-14-1 overall, 10-9-1, 31 points, 6th in NCHC
Last weekend: 4-3 W, 2-0 W vs. Omaha


No. 2 PWR, No. 1 USCHO, 22-6-3 overall, 13-5-2, 41 pts, 1st in NCHC
Last weekend: 3-1 W, 3-2 OT win @ Western Michigan

Last meeting:

Two teams split Nov. 21-22 in St. Cloud. SCSU won 3-1 on Friday and UND got the split with a 3-2 win on Saturday.

The Pick

DDC loves to look at the stats when making his pick every week. A few jump out: St. Cloud’s 5th best power play, UND’s 15-0-3 record when scoring the first goal, St. Cloud’s -2 goal differential in the third period, North Dakota’s +11 in the same stat. Important stats, right?

Well, superlatives aside, it’s playoff time and stats can be thrown out the window.

While the Huskies are unbeaten (3-0-1) in their last four against UND in Grand Forks, DDC loves the way the Green and White are getting wins as the stretch run rolls on.

As it has been all season, UND’s success story has one protagonist: Zane McIntyre.

The junior netminder was outstanding last weekend in Kalamazoo, allowing just three goals on the weekend. All three of which came with a WMU extra-attacker on the ice. McIntyre brought his game to a new level last weekend and DDC sees that continuing in this series.

UND shuts down St. Cloud’s dynamic forward group and power play, gets timely scoring from their tremendous depth and inches closer to the Penrose.

UND SWEEPS, 4-2, 3-2

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Roses and Thorns: Getting it Done

NCHC Standings:
1) UND, 13-5-2, 41 points;
2) Miami, 12-7-1 (1 SO win), 38 pts;
t-3) Denver, 11-8-1 (1 SO win, 35 pts;
t-3) UNO, 11-8-1 (1 SO win), 35 pts;
5) UMD, 11-8-1, 34 pts;
6) SCSU, 10-9-1, 31 pts;
7) WMU, 5-11-4 (3 SO wins), 22 pts;
8) CC, 1-18-1, 4 pts.
It wasn’t pretty, but at this time of the season, it doesn’t need to be.The UND men’s hockey team entered into hostile territory against a game Western Michigan squad this past weekend that tested the Green and White physically for 120-plus minutes.

But again, UND did what they have done for most of this season – found a way to win.

After a 3-1 victory on Friday, the No. 1 team in the country led WMU 2-0 with just over four minutes to go. However, the Broncos potted two empty-net goals in a furious finish, the second coming with 30 seconds remaining to force overtime.

Despite the deflating finish to regulation, UND gritted its teeth and fought back as junior Drake Caggiula netted the overtime winner at 3:31 in the extra frame for a 3-2 win.

The sweep earned the Green and White six massive points in the race for the Penrose Cup as North Dakota left Kalamazoo, Mich., three points ahead of Miami on top the NCHC standings with just four games remaining in the regular season.

Here’s what stood out to DDC from Lawson Ice Arena in this week’s Roses and Thorns.


No. 1 – Zane McIntyre

The UND netminder was simply fantastic this weekend. Several times this series, WMU flexed its muscles with highly-physical play and pressed the North Dakota net, but time and time again, McIntyre stood tall. The junior from Thief River Falls, Minn., allowed just three goals on the weekend, all of which came with the WMU net empty.  McIntyre stopped 69-of-72 shots this weekend en route to NCHC goaltender of the week honors. After a run of less-than-perfect starts, McIntyre was UND’s best player this weekend. The Green and White will continue to be tough to beat if they continue to see McIntyre’s best like they did again this weekend.

No. 2 – Tucker Poolman

The freshman defenseman turned forward didn’t light up the statsheet this weekend, but his physical, up-tempo play led UND. Poolman had a beautiful assist on UND’s first goal on Friday and was a +1 with two shots on Friday. Saturday, Poolman was a +2 and added another shot on goal. While he wasn’t always scoring, he played with an edge against a rough and tumble WMU squad. His active stick was in passing lanes both nights as he was a big part of UND keeping the Broncos at bay.  The freshman has shown his versatility all season long and the weekend was no exception.

No. 3 – UND’s Lockdown Defense

After an impressive performance in the third period on Friday that saw UND shutdown the Broncos as they attempted a comeback, the Green and White continued that play on Saturday. While a late WMU push forced OT, UND’s defensive play was still exceptional. UND won nearly every battle late on Friday and it took two late empty netters to break the Green and White on Saturday. The blown two-goal lead was surely disappointing, but it still doesn’t change how UND played defensively. Again, despite the late struggle, UND left Lawson with six points and the defense was the biggest reason.

DDC's hometown Thief River Falls girls hockey team won the Minnesota Class A
state title on Saturday, their first in team history. (Photo: Youth Hockey Hub)

No. 4 – Thief River Falls Girls Hockey

An extra special shout out goes to DDC’s high school alma mater Thief River Falls as the Prowler girls hockey team topped Blake 3-1 in the Class A state championship game to earn the program’s first state championship. DDC had the honor of coaching several of these young women in baseball when they were children and it was very fun watching them take home the hardware up to Northwest Minnesota. DDC is very proud of his Prowlers.


No. 1 – UND’s Power Play

Simply put – yuck. DDC will give Western Michigan all the credit as they shutdown UND’s power play this weekend. The Green and White could not get things going with the extra man going 1-for-13 in the series. There was no time and space to be had and the Broncos held UND down. At times this season, North Dakota has been very good on the power play, but this weekend was a poor performance. Special teams play a huge role come playoff time and UND needs to get their power play clicking and in a hurry.

UND's Keaton Thompson battles for the puck on Saturday. (Photo cred:

No. 2 – Another Blown Lead

For the second weekend in a row, UND blew a two-goal lead on Saturday night. Despite playing lights out defensively for the first fifteen minutes in the third period, North Dakota coughed up the lead and clearly, this trend cannot continue. Western Michigan is not the most talented offensive team in the country but they grinded UND down in the third on Saturday. McIntyre can only do so much. Much like the power play, this needs to be fixed and in a hurry. With high-powered offenses St. Cloud State and Miami left on UND’s schedule, the Green and White can’t afford another third period let down like this Saturday.

So that’s it. Tune in later this week as the St. Cloud State Huskies head north up I-29 to Grand Forks and the Ralph Engelstad Arena for another important NCHC tilt. If all things fall right, UND could be playing for the Penrose Cup on Saturday.