This weekend, the University of North Dakota returns to conference play against the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. This weekend’s series pits the two top possession teams in college hockey, UMD 62.4 and UND 59.6.
The Bulldogs are the defending NCAA champion and the Fighting Hawks will be looking to knock them down a peg.
It’s not going to be easy, UND has gone 2-8-0 against UMD in the last 10 games. During those 10 games, UND lost eight straight games. It gets worse, during the eight-game losing streak, UND was outscored 35-15.
Last March, UND finally ended that streak with 4-1 win in the third-place game of the Frozen Faceoff. Moving forward, UND looks to expand on that winning streak.
UND 7-5-1, 1-3-0 NCHC vs. UMD 9-2-1, 3-1-0 NCHC.
Last weekend, UMD was off. UND’s next two opponents are coming off bye weeks.
About Last Weekend
Last weekend, UND swept the UAA Seawolves (5-2, 4-3). On Saturday, UND was down 3-1 entering the third period. UND would score three goals in the third period to get the win. How important was it for UND’s confidence to get the comeback win on Saturday night against the UAA Seawolves?
“Very important,” head coach Brad Berry said. “Obviously coming on Friday night, taking the first step, but it was Saturday night, the game didn’t really go our way and a lot had to do with us putting a couple of pucks in our own net. But that didn’t faze us.
“I go back to the Western weekend on Saturday night. We didn’t play as a team, to play catch up or chased the game. And (on Saturday night) I thought we chased the game the right way, as a team and found a way to win and within that, some of the older players stepping up. Obviously, Rhett Gardner stepping up and making plays at the end to help us get that win.”
A Couple of Bullet Points
UMD is ranked 13th in the nation in scoring. UND is ranked 29th.
Defensively, UMD is ranked 6th in the nation. UND is ranked 20th.
UND is ranked 32nd in PIMs. UND is ranked 28th.
On the power play, UMD is ranked 11th. UND is ranked 17th.
On the penalty kill, UMD is ranked 6th. UND is ranked 48th.
Freshmen Class Making an Impact
During the month of November, the underclassmen are leading the team in points. The sophomore class has 22 points, the freshman class has 15 points the seniors have 13 and the Juniors are last with 10.
Looking at those stats, the Freshman have been a nice surprise for the UND coaching staff. You don’t always get that with first-year players.
“Yeah, they’ve done a good job of providing the depth that we need in our group to have success,” Berry said. “Whenever we bring freshman and there’s a lot of true freshmen in this group you know the balance becomes, okay, how long does it take them to get acclimated to do to the play college hockey and the NCHC. When is that going to take place and sometimes it’s longer for others.
“And this group here, they’ve dug in, when you look at guys, like Mark Senden and Jacob Bernard-Docker, Jasper Weatherby, those type of players, they played some heavy minutes and then contributed. And again, it’s nice to see that that always doesn’t happen.”