Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Gameday: It's Hard to End Somebody's Season

It’s hard to believe these words are about to be uttered:

It’s playoff time.

While this weekend’s best two-out-of-three first round National Collegiate Hockey Conference tournament series between No. 1 seeded UND and No. 8 seeded Colorado College is certainly big for both teams with a berth in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff on the line, for the visiting Tigers, it’s do-or-die. It’s win or go golfing.

North Dakota clinched the Penrose Cup as NCHC regular season champions outright this past Friday in Oxford, Ohio against Miami and comes into this series a lock for the NCAA tournament in two weeks with the No. 1 ranking in the polls and PairWise. For UND’s seven seniors, it’s the last time they will play in front of the Ralph Engelstad faithful.

For CC, simply put, there’s no other option left but to keep on winning. The Tigers are well out of the NCAA tournament picture and must win this weekend to keep their season alive. 

Enough of the fluff. Let’s get to the preview of this weekend’s series in Grand Forks.


Players to watch

Colorado College:

Jr. F, Cody Bradley, 10 goals, 19 assists – 29 points
Sr. F, Scott Wamsganz, 8g, 11a – 19 pts
Jr. F, Hunter Fejes, 5g, 13a – 18 pts

So. G, Tyler Marble, 5-16-2, .899 save percentage, 3.39 goals against average (7th in NCAA), started last 13 games. 27 save shutout against WMU on 2/28. 0-4, 5.95 GAA, .850 against UND this season
Fr. G, Chase Perry, 1-8-1, .873 save percentage, 4.05 goals against average


Jr. F, Drake Caggiula, 16 goals, 17 assists  – 33 points
Sr. F, Michael Parks, 12g, 19a – 31 pts
Jr. D, Jordan Schmaltz, 3g, 23a – 26 pts

Jr. G, Zane McInyre, 25-7-3, 1.99 goals against average (13th in NCAA), .931 save percentage (7th in NCAA). 25 wins tied for lead in NCAA.

16 players with at least 10 points.

UND gathers with the Penrose Cup this past Friday after clinching the NCHC regular season
title outright with a 2-1 win against Miami in Oxford, Ohio. (Photo Credit:


Standout stats


2.15 goals per game (49th in NCAA), 3.88 goals allowed per game (56th in NCAA), 21.0% power play (11th in NCAA), 77.5% penalty kill (51st in NCAA)

1-15-2 away from home, 0-14-1 when giving up first goal


3.34 GPG (10th in NCAA), 2.17 GAG (8th in NCAA), 20.5% PP, 83.6% PK

14-3-3 at home, 18-1-3 when scoring first, 14-0-1 when leading after 1, 21-0-2 when leading after 2.

13th-straight year hosting first round of conference tournament.


How’d they get here?


No. 50 PWR, NR USCHO, 6-24-3 overall, 2-19-3, 10 points, Final Rankings: 8th in NCHC.

Last weekend:

2-2 T (SO win), 4-2 L @ Omaha.


No. 1 PWR, No. 1 USCHO, 25-7-3 overall, 16-6-2, 50 pts, Won Penrose Cup as NCHC regular season champions.

Last weekend:

2-1 W, 6-3 L @ Miami.

Last meeting:

UND swept CC, 2-1, 5-3 in Grand Forks Jan. 23-24. Swept CC in Colorado 3-1, 7-2 on Oct. 17-18.

Fab 5

UND Jr. G, Zane McIntyre

UND lands five on NCHC all-conference teams

First Team
- Sr. F, Mark MacMillan
- Jr. G, Zane McIntyre

Second Team
- Jr. F, Drake Caggiula,
- Jr. D, Jordan Schmaltz

UND Jr. F, Drake Caggiula
Rookie Team
- Fr. F, Nick Schmaltz

The Pick

UND has handled the Tigers this season, sweeping the series 4-0 while outscoring CC 17-7. On paper, this looks like a mismatch.

Statistically, North Dakota is near the top in goals per game and goals against while Colorado College is near the bottom.

That being said, the old adage rings true “it’s hard to end somebody’s season.”

This was evident last season as the Tigers took the Green and White to three games in the first round of the NCHC tournament.

But, as hard it is to put a team away, these two squads are where they are in the standings for a reason. While CC will no doubt be playing with nothing to lose this weekend in Grand Forks, UND has earned its billing as one of the nation’s best teams.

CC has certainly come a long way this season in terms of their play, but UND will not take this challenge lightly. North Dakota plays a tenacious, end-to-end defensive style that relies on depth and hard work. This will be the difference this weekend.

Colorado College brings the nation’s 11th best power play into this series and it will be important for North Dakota to stay out of the box as the clear edge goes to UND in 5-on-5 play.

With the season on the line for the Tigers, it’s tempting to call this series to go three games, but again, these two teams are where they are for a reason. The Green and White get it done in two and head to Minneapolis.

It’s absolutely hard to close a team’s season, but it’s the end of the line for Colorado College.

UND SWEEPS 5-1, 3-1