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Game Notes: UND, UM meet with first place in sight
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Updated: Sunday 01/16/2013 15:13:58 (ET)
by Jayson Hajdu, UND Athletic Media Relations
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#6 North Dakota
(13-6-3, 8-3-3 WCHA)
at
#1 Minnesota
(16-3-3, 8-3-3 WCHA)


January 18-19, 2013 • 7:07-5:07 pm CT
Mariucci Arena (10,000) • Minneapolis, Minn.
Radio: 96.1 FM The Fox (KQHT-FM) • TV: FOX Sports North
Webcast: None • Live Stats: GopherSports.com

THIS WEEK: North Dakota, with just one loss in its last nine games (7-1-1), visits top-ranked Minnesota this weekend, which has just one loss in its last 15 games (11-1-3). Both teams are tied for third in the WCHA with 19 points, just one point behind league-leading Denver and Nebraska Omaha, both of which have played two more games than UND and Minnesota.

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 will be broadcast live on FOX Sports North (channel 28 and 623 HD in the Grand Forks viewing area). There are no video webcasts due to television restrictions.

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, featuring Brad Schlossman and Tom Miller of the Grand Forks Herald and Jayson Hajdu and Matt Schill of UND Athletics Media Relations.

TICKET INFORMATION: Visit MyGopherSports.com for ticket information.

ABOUT THE GOLDEN GOPHERS: The top-ranked Gophers are coming off a three-win week that extended the team's unbeaten streak to a season-best eight games (7-0-1).

Minnesota played its second-straight top-five opponent last Tuesday, topping No. 2/3 Notre Dame 4-1 before earning the team's first WCHA sweep of the season over the weekend with 4-3 and 7-1 wins over Alaska Anchorage.

As a team, Minnesota boasts the WCHA's top offense, defense, power-play and penalty kill. Minnesota also leads the nation in scoring (3.82 goals per game) and scoring margin (+2.00 per game).

Erik Haula leads the Gophers with 26 points this season (9g, 17a) despite missing the last three games with an injury. Haula has tallied a point in 14-straight appearances for Minnesota and currently ranks eighth nationally in points per game (1.37). His next point will mark the 100th point of his career.

Freshman goalie Adam Wilcox (15-2-3) leads the WCHA (and ranks second nationally) in wins and winning percentage (.825). He also paces the league and ranks fifth nationally (first among rookies) with a 1.65 goals against average.

MINN COACHING STAFF: Don Lucia (Notre Dame ‘81) is in his 14th season at Minnesota and is 334-176-57 (.639). Now in his 26th season as a collegiate head coach, Lucia carries an overall career mark of 613-331-86 (.637).

Lucia's staff includes associate head coach Mike Guentzel (Minnesota ‘87), assistant coach Grant Potulny (Minnesota ‘04) and goaltending coach Justin Johnson (Minnesota ‘05).
SERIES HISTORY: UND trails the all-time series with Minnesota 130-137-14 (.488), including a 51-73-6 record in Minneapolis, dating back to UND's first varsity season of 1947-48.

UND is 17-13-3 (.561) against the Gophers under ninth-year head coach Dave Hakstol. The Gophers took four of the six meetings last year, including a 5-2 win in the NCAA West Region final in St. Paul that ended UND's season. One week earlier, UND had rallied from a 3-0 deficit to defeat UM 6-3 in the Red Baron WCHA Final Five championship game.

Senior forward Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) leads all active UND skaters with 11 points (5g, 6a) in 14 career games against the Gophers.

POLL POSITION: UND climbed one spot and is now ranked No. 6 in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls, released on Monday.

Minnesota remained the nation's top-ranked team in both poll.

LAST ACTION: UND is coming off of a home WCHA split with Colorado College last weekend, winning 5-3 on Saturday after falling 4-3 on Friday.

Danny Kristo (Sr., Eden Prairie, Minn.) had a career-high four points (2g, 2a) in Saturday's win, while junior forward Mitch MacMillan (Penticton, British Columbia) and sophomore forward Dan Senkbeil (Fremont, Calif.) each tallied their first goals in a UND uniform. Senior Joe Gleason (Edina, Minn.) added a power-play goal.

MacMillan, a transfer from St. Cloud State, added an assist for his first collegiate 2-point game, while Senkbeil's goal stood as the game-winner.

Friday's loss ended UND's 7-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1) and its 6-game home unbeaten streak (4-0-2). Kristo and sophomores Nick Mattson (Chanhassen, Minn.) and Mark MacMillan (Penticton, British Columbia) accounted for UND's scoring.

ON THE OFFENSIVE: This weekend's series features the WCHA's top-scoring overall offense in Minnesota (3.82 goals per game) against the WCHA's top-scoring offense during league play in North Dakota (3.71).

Nationally, Minnesota and North Dakota (3.45 goals/game overall) rank first and sixth, respectively, in scoring offense.

DYNAMIC DUO: Senior linemates Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Corban Knight (High River, Alberta) have been scorching hot of late, having combined for 32 points (14g, 18a) over the last seven games.

Knight (31 points) and Kristo (30) are the only teammates in the nation who have each already reached the 30-point plateau.

Kristo's average of 1.5 points per game is tied for the WCHA lead, while Knight ranks third at 1.48. Those averages rank third and fifth, respectively, in the national rankings.

The two are also among the top active scorers in NCAA Division I men's hockey, with Kristo topping the list, and are the nation's highest-scoring active teammates with 267 points between them:

Both are also among the NCAA's active career assists leaders, while Kristo is one of the top active goal scorers in the nation:

KNIGHT STREAKING: Knight had an assist in each game of UND's split with Colorado College last weekend, extending his point streak to 17-games, UND's longest in a decade:

Knight has 29 points (8g, 21a) during his streak, which began Nov. 3 against Boston University.

UND is 31-2-4 all-time when Knight scores a goal, including an unbeaten 6-0-2 record this season.

Earlier this month, Knight was one of 77 players nominated for the Vote For Hobey fan voting process at HobeyBakerAward.com. Fans can cast their votes through March 10, 2013. Phase two of fan balloting will begin on March 22 from the list of Top Ten Hobey Baker finalists. The fans' vote accounts for a full 1 percent of the total ballot in each phase in selecting this year's award recipient.

THE COUNT OF DANNY KRISTO: Kristo has scored at least one goal in each of his last seven games, the longest such streak of his career and UND's longest since All-American Matt Frattin had separate streaks of eight games and nine games during the 2010-11 season.

Kristo has eight goals and eight assists during his 7-game streak and continues to climb UND's all-time scoring list (refer to page 7).

SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Knight and Kristo have helped UND's senior class out-produce all but two other senior classes in the country:

UND's senior skaters include Knight (10-21-31), Kristo (13-17-30), Carter Rowney (6-7-13), Joe Gleason (3-7-10) and Andrew MacWilliam (1-5-6).

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: UND also boasts the third-highest scoring defensive unit in the country, while Minnesota ranks fourth:

UND's blueline includes Dillon Simpson (2-11-13), Derek Forbort (4-7-11), Nick Mattson (2-9-11), Joe Gleason (3-7-10), Jordan Schmaltz (1-6-7), Andrew MacWilliam (1-5-6) and Andrew Panzarella (0-0-0).

HEY JOE: Senior defenseman Joe Gleason (Edina, Minn.) is in the midst of the most productive stretch of his collegiate career.

Gleason has two goals and seven assists in his last seven games, making him UND's third-highest scorer during that stretch.
Gleason played forward last Saturday night after having played defense in his first 20 games of the season. Last season, Gleason played 29 games at forward and 12 at his natural defense position.

NODAK NATION: Thanks to the National Hockey League (NHL) lockout, North Dakota has been the top hockey draw in all of North America this season.

UND is averaging 11,651 fans 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). Minnesota ranks second nationally in the NCAA in home attendance at 9,828.

North Dakota (8,341) and Minnesota (7,594) also rank 1-2 nationally in overall average attendance, making them college hockey's top draws home and away.

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).

YOU ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR FIRST: A pair of milestone goals keyed UND's 5-3 win last Saturday night against Colorado College.

Junior forward Mitch MacMillan (Penticton, British Columbia), a transfer from St. Cloud State, scored his first goal in a UND uniform, while sophomore forward/defenseman Dan Senkbeil (Fremont, Calif.) notched his first collegiate tally.

MacMillan's goal at 13:22 of the of the second period gave UND a 3-2 lead until CC tied the game early in the third. But UND regained the lead for good at 7:54 of the third period on Senkbeil's first goal in 10 career games, the game-winner.

After sitting out one year due to NCAA transfer rules, MacMillan became eligible to play for UND Jan. 4-5 against Holy Cross.

The older brother of UND sophomore forward Mark MacMillan, Mitch MacMillan transferred to UND from St. Cloud State last January. He notched four goals and seven assists in 11 career games with the Huskies.

SECOND-HALF SURGE?: At 3-1-0 since the Christmas break, UND looks to continue its trend under ninth-year head coach Dave Hakstol of playing its best hockey in the second half of the season:

Year Before Xmas After Xmas
2004-05 13-7-2 (.636) 12-8-3 (.587)
2005-06 12-7-1 (.625) 17-9-0 (.654)
2006-07 7-10-1 (.417) 17-4-4 (.760)
2007-08 8-6-1 (.567) 20-5-3 (.768)
2008-09 9-8-1 (.528) 15-7-3 (.660)
2009-10 9-6-3 (.583) 16-7-2 (.680)
2010-11 13-5-2 (.700) 19-4-1 (.813)
2011-12 9-8-1 (.528) 17-5-2 (.750)
2012-13 10-5-3 (.639) 3-1-0 (.750)
Totals 91-62-15 (.586) 135-50-18 (.709)

This season marked just the second time in the last seven years that UND won 10 games before Christmas, and just the fourth time during Hasktol's nine-year tenure.


CAPTAIN'S LOG: With 143 career games played, senior captain Andrew MacWilliam (Calgary, Alberta) is the active leader among WCHA defensemen and ranks fifth nationally among all skaters:

MacWilliam has a goal and five assists and is a +8 in 21 games this season.

NET RETURN: Freshman goalie Zane Gothberg (Thief River Falls, Minn.) earned the win in Saturday's 5-3 victory over Colorado College, his first start since Nov. 24 at Notre Dame. He stopped 21 of 24 shots, including 10 each in the first and third periods, to improve to 3-2-0 on the year.

Junior Clarke Saunders (Brockville, Ontario) had started UND's previous nine games in a row, going 7-1-1 during that stretch.

NON-CONFERENCE NUMBERS: UND finished 5-3-0 against non-conference opponents and is now 46-16-10 (.708) in regular season non-conference games under ninth-year head coach Dave Hakstol.

UND has lost just seven of its last 32 regular season non-conference games dating back to the start of the 2009-10 season, going 19-7-6 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 5-2-2 Alaska, Maine, Notre Dame, UMD, Robert Morris
2011-12 4-1-2 Air Force, BC, Maine, Harvard, Clarkson
2012-13 5-3-0 Alaska, UAA, BU, Notre Dame, Holy Cross
Total 46-16-10
CLARKE MAKING HIS MARKE: Junior goalie Clarke Saunders (Brockville, Ontario), who transfered to UND from Alabama-Huntsville prior to the season, has proven to be a workhorse in his first year in Grand Forks, having started 17 of UND's first 22 games.

Last Friday's 4-3 loss to CC ended Saunders' 7-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1) and 5-game winning streak, both of which were the longest of his career.

In 17 games this season, Saunders is 10-4-3 with a 2.28 goals against average and a .919 save percentage, the latter tying him for the sixth-best mark in UND single-season history:

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS: UND's 4-3 loss last Friday night was just its second home loss this season.

UND is 7-2-3 in 12 home games this season, and has lost just four of its last 29 home games, including WCHA playoffs, going 20-4-5 (.776) during that stretch.

Last season UND went 15-4-3 (.750) at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

WORKIN' OVERTIME: UND is unbeaten (2-0-3) in five overtime games this season after going winless (0-1-3) in four overtime tilts last season.

Four of those five overtime games have come on home ice (1-0-3), where UND has lost just seven times in 40 overtime games (6-7-27) since the new Engelstad Arena opened in 2001-02.

GOLDEN GRIMALDI: Freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, Calif.) returned to UND's lineup last weekend after helping lead the United States to a gold medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Hockey Championship in Ufa, Russia.

In his first game back with UND, a 4-3 loss to Colorado College on Friday, Grimaldi had one assist and a game-high six shots on goal. The following night, a 5-3 UND win, Grimaldi was scoreless and was held without a shot on goal for the first time in 24 career games.

While with Team USA, Grimaldi scored the game-tying and game-winning goals in the gold medal game, his first goals of the tournament, and was named the player of the game for the U.S. He became UND's 19th medalist at the tournament and the 12th to win gold:

Year Player Country Medal
1982 Troy Murray Canada Gold
James Patrick Canada Gold
1983 James Patrick Canada Bronze
Gord Sherven Canada Bronze
1985 Brad Berry Canada Gold
1990 Jason Herter Canada Gold
1991 Greg Johnson Canada Gold
1992 Marty Schriner United States Bronze
2004 Brady Murray United States Gold
Zach Parise* United States Gold
Drew Stafford United States Gold
2006 Jonathan Toews Canada Gold
2007 Jonathan Toews Canada Gold
Taylor Chorney United States Bronze
Brian Lee United States Bronze
2010 Danny Kristo United States Gold
2011 Derek Forbort United States Bronze
Brock Nelson United States Bronze
2012 Rocco Grimaldi United States Gold

* - Indicates tournament MVP
Bold indicates still active at UND
Grimaldi finished the tournament with two goals and two assists and a +4 rating in seven games.

He was the 47th UND player to compete at the World Junior Championship and the 34th to play for the U.S.

In 20 games with UND, Grimaldi is tied for third on the team in scoring with 17 points (7g, 10a). He is tied for third in the WCHA rookie scoring race.

FREAKY FRIDAYS: UND has lost just twice on Fridays this season (7-2-2) and both setbacks have come against Colorado College: last Friday's 4-3 loss in Grand Forks and a 5-3 loss in Colorado Springs on Nov. 30.

FAMOUS DAVE: With 226 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 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.

BLUE CHIP BLUELINERS: North Dakota has routinely dressed six NHL draft picks on the blueline this season, the most in program history.

Those drafted defensemen include first-rounders Jordan Schmaltz (St. Louis, 2012) and Derek Forbort (Los Angeles, 2010), sixth-rounder Nick Mattson (Chicago, 2010), fourth-rounder Dillon Simpson (Edmonton, 2010), and seventh-rounders Andrew MacWilliam (Toronto, 2008) and Joe Gleason (Chicago, 2008).

UND's lone undrafted defenseman is sophomore Andrew Panzarella.

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.

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), became 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.

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 first eight seasons behind the UND bench, including Frozen Four appearances in five of those eight years.

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,"
or "UND."

UND adopted the "Fighting Sioux" nickname in 1930 after previously being known as the "Flickertails."

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