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UND practices on Thursday afternoon in Grand Rapids, Mich.
MHKY Travel Blog: NCAA West Regional
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Updated: Sunday 03/30/2013 08:53:50 (ET)
by Jayson Hajdu, UND Athletic Media Relations
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For additional updates, follow us on Twitter at @UNDMHockey, @UNDSID and @mattschill.

THURSDAY, MARCH 28, 2013

11:10 a.m. ET (Jayson) -- Good morning from Grand Rapids!

Just checking in with a quick post. It's a slow morning to be followed by a busy afternoon, so Matt Schill and myself will have much more later in the day.

The team arrived via charter late yesterday afternoon, dropped off the gear at Van Andel Arena, checked into the hotel and headed off for dinner. After that, a few hours to just relax, which is quite refreshing this time of year.

Other than team breakfast, this morning's schedule is wide open. After lunch, we'll head to the arena and officially get to work. The ESPN announcers, Joe Davis and former Michigan Wolverine Sean Ritchlin, will chat with handful of players at 2 p.m., then the team will get in a one-hour practice from 3:15 to 4:15. At 4:30, UND players and coaches will be made available to the media.

As always, Matt will be on hand to video the UND and Niagara press conferences, both of which will be posted on UNDSports.com. We were also fortunate enough to have intern extraordinaire Eric Classen make the trip so it can be documented for Through These Doors. Here's hoping it has a happy ending!

2:57 p.m. ET (Jayson) -- Hello from Van Andel Arena.

The pre-practice ESPN obligations are out of the way and the players will be on the ice at 3:15. ESPNU announcers Joe Davis and Sean Ritchlin, the latter a former Michigan Wolverine, chatted with Derek Forbort, Rocco Grimaldi, Andrew MacWilliam, Corban Knight and Danny Kristo. Most of it took place off camera, a session used by the announcers to get background info on the team. Grimaldi, Knight and Kristo, as well as coach Dave Hakstol, also did some on-camera stuff.

Goalie Tate Maris also did a feature interview for the local Grand Rapids TV station. The man is a multi-platform, crossover sensation at this point.

Practice runs from 3:15 to 4:15, followed by media availability to the non-ESPN folks. Local media on hand already include Audrey Dahlgren from Valley News Live in Fargo, Dan Corey from WDAZ in Grand Forks and Dan Hammer from Midco Sports Network, as well as our own Matt Schill and Tim Hennessy. Slackers Schlossman and Miller from the Grand Forks Herald will be along...eventually.

After the media session, I'll be joining Brian Faison, Coach Hakstol, Pat Swanson and ticket manager Heather Reardon at the NCAA tournament protocol meeting. Our "work day" ends with that meeting. After that, it's off to dinner and then into jeans and a t-shirt for the rest of the night.

4:41 p.m. ET (Jayson) -- Practice day is nearly in the books. The team had an energetic 60 minutes of practice time, highlighted by assistant coach Brad Berry winning the weekly shootout with three goals on three different goalies. Said Berry after the win, "They (goalies) don't know what I'm doing because I don't even know what I'm doing."

Several players did post-practice interviews, and the team is now off the ice and in their video session. As mentioned, a few of us will attend a tournament meeting and then meet up with the rest of the team at dinner.

Matt will have comprehensive video coverage on UNDSports.com shortly, including interviews with Dave Hakstol, Carter Rowney, Stephane Pattyn, Colten St. Clair, Corban Knight, Andrew MacWilliam, Joe Gleason and Danny Kristo, as well as Niagara coach Dave Burkholder and senior forward Marc Zanette.

7:41 p.m. ET (Matt) - Interviews are now up. Because of number of student-athletes and time needed to upload, I cut down the player interviews. Sorry if your favorite player hit the cutting room floor.

You many notice that the interviews are not done in the traditional NCAA press conference fashion. Instead we opted for the bench as UND wound down its practice. While the setting was great, you may notice the background audio varies as players fired slap shots, yelling coaches, etc. Disappointingly, we weren't photo bombed. Everyone must be too focused on tomorrow's game.

I also talked with radio play-by-play voice Tim Hennessy to get his take on this weekend and the tournament in the Pregame Breakdown.

Overall it was a busy afternoon. Great to work along side WDAZ, Valley News Live and the Grand Forks Herald, sending some clips back to everyone's favorite team in the Red River Valley.

FRIDAY, MARCH 29, 2013

2:43 p.m. ET (Jayson) -- Game day.

The first between Minnesota and Yale just came to an end, with the Gophers and Bulldogs still scoreless.

Some lineup news of note for North Dakota, as Zane Gothberg gets the start in goal and freshman forward Bryn Chyzyk suits up for the first time since Jan. 26 against St. Cloud State. Chyzyk will skate on the left side with Mark MacMillan and Michael Parks. Drake Caggiula has been reunited with Carter Rowney and Rocco Grimaldi, while Connor Gaarder joins Stephane Pattyn and Colten St. Clair on the fourth line. The Knight-Kristo-O'Donnell like and the defensive pairings remain unchanged.

UND lineup
O'Donnell-Knight-Kristo
Caggiula-Rowney-Grimaldi
Chyzyk-Ma. MacMillan-Parks
Gaarder-Pattyn-St. Clair

MacWilliam-Simpson
Forbort-Schmaltz
Mattson-Gleason

Gothberg
Saunders
Maris

SATURDAY, MARCH 30, 2013

9:47 p.m. ET (Jayson) -- Back at Van Andel Arena for a brief morning skate. The team, I mean. I didn't bring my skates.

As the players and coaches expected, UND got all it could handle from Niagara last night. I walked back to the hotel with Joe Gleason and he told me it was an absolutel 60-minute trench fight out on the ice. Every bit of time and space had to be earned, as both teams emptied their respective tanks with the season on the line.

The good news is, UND appears to have emerged from the game relatively injury-free, minus the injury Mitch MacMillan suffered during morning skate.

Check back here later in the day for more news and lineup updates.

 

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