(9-4-1, 7-2-1 WCHA)
#9 North Dakota
(7-5-2, 4-2-2 WCHA)
Dec. 7-8, 2012 • 7:37/7:07 pm CT
Ralph Engelstad Arena (11,634) • Grand Forks, N.D.
Radio: 96.1 FM The Fox (KQHT-FM) • Webcast: UNDSports.com
TV: Midco Sports Network, FOX College Sports Central, DirecTV 626
THIS WEEK: North Dakota returns home from a 2-week road swing to host first-place Denver on Friday and Saturday at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
UND enters the week tied for fifth place in the WCHA with Colorado College and Minnesota State, but a sweep would lift UND to within a point of the Pioneers. DU has a league-leading 15 points, five ahead of UND.
MEDIA COVERAGE: All UND men's hockey games, home and away, can be heard on 96.1 FM (The Fox) and on stations across the UND Hockey Radio Network. Veteran broadcaster Tim Hennessy is in his 34th season as the voice of the men's hockey program. Steve Olson serves as color analyst for home games. Free audio is available at UNDSports.com.
This weekend's games can be seen live on Midco Sports Network, FOX College Sports Central and DirecTV 626. Dan Hammer calls the action with color analysis from former UND standout Scott Koberinski (1985-89). Katie Hale provides intermission interviews.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Receive real-time updates during all UND men's hockey games by following
@UNDMHockey. Additional coverage can be found at @UNDSports and @UNDSID.
Fans can also follow the action via live chat at UNDSports.com.
TICKET INFORMATION: A limited amount of general admission tickets remain available for both games, and a limited amount of reserved seating remains available for Friday's game only.
Additional tickets may become available on ‘Ticket Release Thursday.'
Tickets can be purchased at the UND Box Office at Ralph Engelstad Arena or at Ticketmaster.com.
ABOUT THE PIONEERS: Following a 9-1-0 start to the season, Denver is mired in a 4-game winless skid (0-3-1) after a loss and a tie at home last weekend against Wisconsin.
The Pioneers and Badgers skated to a 1-1 tie on Friday after DU's Joey LaLeggia scored with 1:16 remaining to force overtime. The Badgers defeated Denver 3-1 in Saturday's finale despite being out-shot by the Pioneers 36-25, including 23-11 over the final two periods.
LaLeggia is the top-scoring defenseman in the WCHA with 14 points (6g, 8a) in 14 games. He's the only defenseman in the league averaging at least a point per game.
Sophomore goaltender Juho Olkinuora leads the WCHA with a .934 save percentage in five starts. He has split time with senior Sam Brittian, who has made seven starts.
DU COACHING STAFF: George Gwozdecky (Wisconsin ‘78) is in his 19th season at Denver and is 432-257-60 (.617). In 27 years as a collegiate head coach, Gwozdecky is 582-381-81 (.596).
Gwozdecky's staff includes associate head coach Steve Miller (St. Mary's ‘88), assistant coaches David Lassonde (Providence ‘84) and David Tenzer (New York University ‘84), and volunteer assistant Matty Thomas (Navy ‘05).
SERIES HISTORY: UND leads the all-time series with DU by a 135-116-8 (.537) margin, including an 80-42-5 edge in Grand Forks.
The two teams split their lone regular season series in Denver last February, and UND later blanked the Pioneers 4-0 in the championship game of the WCHA Final Five in St. Paul. UND has won four of the last five meetings and six of the last eight, including three Final Five victories and one NCAA regional win.
Senior forward Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) leads all active skaters with 10 points (3g, 7a) in 12 career games against DU.
POLL POSITION: UND is ranked No. 9 in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national polls released on Monday.
Denver is ranked No. 6 in both polls.
LAST ACTION: UND is coming off of a split at No. 18 Colorado College last weekend, winning 3-2 in overtime on Saturday after suffering a 5-3 loss on Friday.
Freshman forward Drake Caggiula (Pickering, Ontario) scored three goals in the series, including the overtime winner on Saturday, his team-leading second GWG of the season.
Caggiula potted the game-winner on Saturday after junior defenseman Dillon Simpson (Edmonton, Alberta) had tied the game with 13.2 seconds remaining in regulation.
Caggiula's first collegiate 2-goal game highlighted Friday's 5-3 loss, a setback in which UND held a 47-26 edge in both shots on goal and faceoffs. Senior defenseman Joe Gleason (Edina, Minn.) added his first goal of the season and second of his career.
UND outshot CC 88-46 in the series.
WORKIN' OVERTIME: UND's 3-2 overtime victory last Saturday at No. 18 Colorado College came after junior defenseman Dillon Simpson (Edmonton, Alberta) had tied the game with 13.2 seconds remaining in regulation.
It marked the first time UND tied a game in the final minute of regulation and went on to win in overtime since Jan. 11, 1986, at Minnesota Duluth.
In that memorable game, UND trailed 6-1 in the second period and 7-3 with 2:41 left in regulation before storming back for an 8-7 overtime win. Chris Jensen scored the tying goal with 14 seconds left in the third period and Ian Kidd won it 50 seconds into extra time.
UND is unbeaten in four overtime games this season (2-0-2) after going winless in four (0-1-3) last season.
GRIMALDI TABBED BY USA HOCKEY: Freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, Calif.) was one of 27 players named to the 2013 U.S. National Junior Team preliminary roster on Tuesday by USA Hockey.
The 27 players will attend training camp Dec. 16-18 at the New York Rangers' Madison Square Garden Training Center in Tarrytown, N.Y. An additional camp will follow in Helsinki, Finland, with the final 23-man roster announcement scheduled for Dec. 23.
The 2013 U.S. National Junior Team will compete at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2012-Jan. 5, 2013, in Ufa, Russia.
Grimaldi helped lead the United States to gold medals at the 2011 and 2010 U-18 World Championships.
In 14 games this season, Grimaldi is tied for fourth in the WCHA rookie scoring race with 11 points in 14 games and is tied for the team lead with a +5 rating.
A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER: Senior forward Corban Knight (High River, Alberta) had an assist last Friday at CC and added a goal and an assist Saturday, extending his career-long point streak to nine games.
Knight has a goal and 11 assists during his streak that began on Nov. 3 against Boston University. It is UND's longest point streak since Danny Kristo (Sr., Eden Prairie, Minn.) hit the scoresheet in 13 straight games in 2009-10. Steve Johnson's 27-game point streak in 1987-88 is the school record.
Knight's 3-point weekend also enabled him to continue his climb up UND's career scoring list:
Knight also won 20-plus faceoffs in both games against CC, going 42-19 (.689) in the series. He has won a team-leading 58.2 percent of his draws this season.
SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS: UND outshot CC 88-46 in the series, snapping a streak of seven straight games in which it was outshot by the opponent, the longest such streak under ninth-year head coach Dave Hakstol.
UND had allowed 36.6 shots over its previous seven games.
THE COUNT OF DANNY KRISTO: Forward Danny Kristo (Sr., Eden Prairie, Minn.) did not register a point at CC, the first series this season in which he's been held off the scoresheet.
Kristo ranks among the active NCAA Division I men's hockey leaders in points, goals and assists:
Kristo, who leads the team in scoring, is on the verge of tying former All-Americans Lee Goren (1997-00) and Bryan Lundbohm (1998-2011) on UND's career scoring list:
NODAK NATION: Thanks to the National Hockey League (NHL) lockout, North Dakota is the top hockey draw in all of North America.
UND is averaging 11,730 fans through six home games in the 11,634-seat Ralph Engelstad Arena, more than any other NCAA, American Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League or Canadian Hockey League team.
No other NCAA team is averaging more than 10,000 fans per game, and the only other team in North America averaging at least 10,000 is the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
Last season, North Dakota led the nation in total attendance (419,981) and average attendance (9,999.5) for all games -- which includes home, away and neutral -- and also led the country in total home attendance (249,501).
UND's 2011-12 average home attendance of 11,341 fans per game ranked second nationally behind only Wisconsin's 11,772.9.
CAPTAIN'S LOG: With 135 career games played, senior captain Andrew MacWilliam (Calgary, Alberta) is the active leader among WCHA defensemen and ranks tied for fifth nationally among all skaters:
MacWilliam has a goal and four assists and is a +3 in 13 games this season.
KILL OR BE KILLED: UND's penalty killing unit went a perfect 3-for-3 in each game against CC, blanking what had been the WCHA's top-ranked power play entering the week.
UND leads the WCHA in penalty killing during league play at 88.5 percent and ranks second overall at 87.5 percent.
FRESHMAN ON FIRE: Freshman forward Drake Caggiula's (Pickering, Ontario) 3-goal series at Colorado College gave him five goals on the season, all of which have come during league play.
Minnesota Duluth's Austin Farley, who has six, is the only freshman to have scored more goals during WCHA games.
OFFENSE FROM THE DEFENSE: UND's defensemen averaged 14.5 shots on goal in the two games at Colorado College after averaging 7.6 shots in the previous 12 games.
UND's blueliners had a season-high 17 shots on goal during Friday's 5-3 loss to the Tigers, led by a career-high six from junior Dillon Simpson (Edmonton, Alberta).
HEY JOE: Senior defenseman Joe Gleason (Edina, Minn.) scored his first goal of the season and second of his career in UND's 5-3 loss at Colorado College on Friday.
Both of Gleason's collegiate goals have come at the Colorado Springs World Arena.
Since sitting out as a healthy scratch in UND's 4-3 win over Minnesota Duluth on Nov. 17, Gleason has one goal and is a +3 with five shots on goal in four games.
FREAKY FRIDAY: UND's 5-3 setback at Colorado College last Friday was its first Friday loss of the season.
UND is 5-1-1 on Fridays and 2-4-1 on Saturdays this season.
IN THE WINNERS' CIRCLE: One of the bright spots in UND's Friday loss at CC was its work in the faceoff circle, where the Green and White won 47 of 73 draws (64.4 percent).
UND's top three centers -- Corban Knight (22-8), Carter Rowney (10-5) and Colten St. Clair (11-2) -- combined to win 43 of 58 (74.1 percent) of their faceoffs, with all three establishing season highs for wins.
NON-CONFERENCE NUMBERS: Following its split at No. 6 Notre Dame on Nov. 23-24, North Dakota is 43-16-10 (.696) in regular season non-conference games under ninth-year head coach Dave Hakstol.
UND has lost just seven of its last 29 regular season non-conference games dating back to the start of the 2009-10 season, going 16-7-6 during that stretch:
Year W-L-T Opponents
2004-05 5-1-2 Maine, BC, NE, Canisius, BSU
2005-06 6-2-1 Miami, MSU, NE, UNH, BSU, Harvard
2006-07 6-2-0 Quinnipiac, Maine, Dartmouth, STL, BSU
2007-08 5-1-1 MSU, BC, NE, UNH, BSU
2008-09 5-3-0 BU, UMass, Cornell, Harvard, BSU
2009-10 5-1-2 Merrimack, OSU, Miami, Niagara, ND, Cornell
2010-11 4-2-2 Alaska, Maine, Notre Dame, Robert Morris
2011-12 4-1-2 Air Force, BC, Maine, Harvard, Clarkson
2012-13 3-3-0 Alaska, UAA, BU, Notre Dame (Holy Cross)
(ROD)WELL HAS RUN DRY: After suffering a season-ending injury last Dec. 30 that caused him to miss UND's final 23 games, junior forward Derek Rodwell (Taber, Alberta) has returned this year to play in all 14 games.
But despite 24 shots on goal in those 14 games, Rodwell has yet to register a point and has just one goal and one assist in his last 37 games, a skid that dates back to the first round of the 2011 WCHA Playoffs.
FAMOUS DAVE: With 220 career victories behind the North Dakota bench, head coach Dave Hakstol is approaching his predecessor, Dean Blais, as the second winningest coach in UND history.
Blais amassed 262 victories from 1994 to 2004, to trail only John "Gino" Gasparini's 392 wins from 1978-94.
Hakstol played for Gasparini at UND and coached alongside Blais as an assistant coach from 2000-04.
With 26 victories in 2011-12, UND reached the 20-win plateau for the eighth time in as many seasons under head coach Dave Hakstol.
Only Gasaprini, who won 20 games for 13 straight years from 1978 to 1991, had a longer streak of 20-plus wins at UND.
LUCKY 13: Connor Gaarder's (So., Edina, Minn.) hat trick on Nov. 3 against No. 12 Boston University was UND's first since March 11, 2011, when Matt Frattin and Jason Gregoire each scored three times in an 8-0 win over Michigan Tech in the first round of the WCHA playoffs.
Gaarder, a walk-on, had entered the night with four goals in 36 career games and had yet to score a goal in his first three games this season.
All three of his goals on Nov. 3 either tied the game or put UND in the lead. His third and final goal was the power-play game-winner.
Gaarder's eight points in 10 games this season are already just two shy of the 10 he notched in 33 games as a freshman.
NET GAINS: Clarke Saunders (Jr., Brockville, Ontario) and Zane Gothberg (Fr., Thief River Falls, Minn.) are the first goalies to earn their first UND victories in the same season since 2002-03, when freshmen Jake Brandt and Josh Siembida achieved the feat.
Saunders has started 10 of UND's 14 games this season, going 5-3-2 with a 2.38 goals against average and a .921 save percentage.
Gothberg is 2-2-0 in his four starts with a 2.97 goals against average and .902 save percentage.
HELLO, MY NAME IS: UND's 2012-13 roster features seven newcomers, including five incoming freshmen, one returning freshman, and one junior transfer.
The incoming freshmen include forwards Drake Caggiula (Pickering, Ontario), Bryn Chyzyk (Virden, Manitoba) and Coltyn Sanderson (Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan), goalie Zane Gothberg (Thief River Falls, Minn.), and defenseman Jordan Schmaltz (Verona, Wis.).
Schmaltz was a first-round draft pick of St. Louis in June, while Gothberg was taken by Boston in the sixth round of the 2010 draft.
The returning freshman is forward Colten St. Clair (Gilbert, Ariz.), who sat out the entire 2011-12 season due to an NCAA eligibility issue.
The junior transfer is goalie Clarke Saunders (Brockville, Ontario), who came to UND after two seasons at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.
Last season, Saunders posted a solid .906 save percentage and an NCAA-leading 34 saves per game for a UAH team that went 2-28-1.
An eighth player, junior forward Mitch MacMillan (Penticton, British Columbia), will be eligible to play for UND in January. MacMillan transferred to UND last January after a season-and-a-half at St. Cloud State. He is the older brother of UND sophomore forward Mark MacMillan.
TUNING UP FOR A TITLE?: With exhibition games against Manitoba and the U.S. Under-18 Team, UND opened the year with two exhibition games for the first time since 1999-00.
That team opened with wins over Team Canada and Manitoba, a season that culminated with the seventh -- and most recent -- NCAA championship in program history.
CONFERENCE CALL: UND was ranked No. 2 in both the WCHA preseason media and coaches polls, and freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, Calif.) was named preseason rookie of the year in both:
2012-13 94X Radio
WCHA Preseason Media Poll
Rk Team (1st place votes) Pts/Vote
1. Minnesota (24) 11.92
2. North Dakota (1) 10.76
3. Denver 9.92 4. Wisconsin 7.8
5. Minnesota Duluth 6.88
6. St. Cloud State 6.84
7. Colorado College 6.08
8. Nebraska Omaha 5.48
9. Michigan Tech 5.2
10. Minnesota State 3.6
11. Bemidji State 2.48
12. Alaska Anchorage 1.04
POY: Nick Bjugstad, So., F, Minnesota
ROY: Rocco Grimaldi, F, North Dakota
2012-13 Grand Forks Herald
WCHA Preseason Coaches Poll
Rk Team (1st place votes) Points
1. Minnesota (11) 121
2. North Dakota (1) 110
3. Denver 91
4. St. Cloud State 90
5. Wisconsin 70
6. Minnesota Duluth 69
7. Colorado College 56
8. Nebraska Omaha 51
Michigan Tech 51
10. Minnesota State 37
11. Bemidji State 31
12. Alaska Anchorage 15
POY: Nick Bjugstad, So., F, Minnesota
ROY: Rocco Grimaldi, F, North Dakota
Grimaldi received the rare distinction of earning preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year honors for the second straight year. Grimaldi was the consensus choice for preseason rookie of the year last season before missing all but four games with a knee injury.
Grimaldi, who had one goal and one assist in those four games, retained his rookie status for 2012-13.
FAREWELL SEASON: The 2012-13 season is UND's last as a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). Beginning in 2013-14, UND will join the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), which will also consist of Denver, Colorado, Miami, Minnesota Duluth, Nebraska Omaha, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan.
Since joining the WCHA in 1959-60, UND leads the league in both regular season (15) and playoff (11) conference championships.
In 2011-12, UND made league history by becoming the first school to win three consecutive Broadmoor Trophies as WCHA Final Five champions.
CAPTAIN CRUNCH: Rugged senior defenseman Andrew MacWilliam (Calgary, Alberta) was elected team captain in a vote of his teammates earlier this fall.
Fellow seniors Corban Knight (High River, Alberta), Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Carter Rowney (Sexsmith, Alberta) will serve as assistant captains.
Both MacWilliam and Knight served as assistant captains as juniors last season.
FEELING A DRAFT: UND's 2012-13 roster features 14 National Hockey League draft picks, including 2012 1st-rounder Jordan Schmaltz (Verona, Wis.). The freshman defenseman was taken in the first round (25th overall) by the St. Louis Blues.
Schmaltz is one of two 1st-round picks on UND's roster, joining 2010 selection Derek Forbort (Los Angeles).
UND's other active draft picks include two 2nd-rounders (Rocco Grimaldi, Danny Kristo), two 4th-rounders (Mark MacMillan, Dillon Simpson), three 5th-rounders (Corban Knight, Michael Parks, Derek Rodwell), three 6th-rounders (Zane Gothberg, Nick Mattson, Brendan O'Donnell) and two 7th-rounders (Joe Gleason, Andrew MacWilliam).
UND boasts six draft picks among its defensive corps, the most in program history.
MAY I HAVE THIS DANCE?: UND advanced to the NCAA postseason tournament for the 10th consecutive season in 2011-12, the second-longest active streak in the NCAA behind only Michigan (22).
It was also the 27th all-time postseason appearance for UND. Head coach Dave Hakstol has now led the program to the NCAA tournament in each of his eight seasons behind the UND bench, including Frozen Four appearances in five of those eight years.
UND continued its playoff dominance under Hakstol, extending its record to is 42-15 in the playoffs (WCHA and NCAA combined) during his tenure, 16 more wins than any other WCHA team during that time.
TRADITION NEVER GRADUATES: Seventeen former UND players appeared in the NHL last year, tying the program's most since 1993-94.
Those 17 NHLers included: Jason Blake (Anaheim), Taylor Chorney (St. Louis/Edmonton), Mike Commodore (Detroit/Tampa Bay), Joe Finley (Buffalo), Matt Frattin (Toronto), Chay Genoway (Minnesota), Matt Greene (Los Angeles), Brian Lee (Ottawa, Tampa Bay), Brad Malone (Colorado), T.J. Oshie (St. Louis), Zach Parise (New Jersey), Chris Porter (St. Louis), Drew Stafford (Buffalo), Jonathan Toews (Chicago), Chris Vande Velde (Edmonton), Matt Watkins (Phoenix) and Travis Zajac (New Jersey).
Finley, Genoway, Malone and Watkins each made their NHL debuts, while Greene led the Los Angeles Kings to a Stanley Cup championship, defeating Parise, Zajac and the New Jersey Devils in the finals.
NICKNAME/LOGO: The University of North Dakota officially retired its longtime "Fighting Sioux" nickname and logo prior to the 2012-13 athletics season.
UND's varsity athletics teams will operate without an official nickname until 2015, when the University will undertake the process of adopting the third official nickname in school history. Until 2015, the Uuniversity's varsity athletics teams will be referred to as "the University of North Dakota," "North Dakota,"
UND adopted the "Fighting Sioux" nickname in 1930 after previously being known as the "Flickertails."