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Game Notes: WCHA stretch run begins at Denver
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Updated: Thursday 02/20/2013 17:21:17 (ET)
by Jayson Hajdu, UND Athletic Media Relations
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#6 North Dakota
(16-8-6, 11-5-6 WCHA)
at
#10 Denver
(15-9-5, 10-7-5 WCHA)

February 22-23, 2013 • 9:10-8:07 pm CT
Magness Arena (6,026) • Denver, Colo.
Radio: 96.1 FM The Fox (KQHT-FM) • Webcast: None
TV: NBC Sports Network (Friday), ROOT Sports (Saturday)

THIS WEEK: After a week off, sixth-ranked North Dakota (16-8-6, 11-5-6 WCHA) returns to action this week with a road trip to Denver (15-9-5, 10-7-5 WCHA).

UND had entered its bye week alone in second place in the WCHA but emerged from it tied for fourth place with Minnesota. UND is one point behind third-place Minnesota State, two points behind second-place Nebraska Omaha and three points behind league-leader St. Cloud State. UND is also just two points up on seventh-place DU in the jam-packed WCHA standings.

The puck drops at 9:10 p.m. Central on Friday and 8:07 p.m. Central on Saturday.

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 UND hockey. Free audio is available at UNDSports.com.

Friday's game will air live on NBC Sports Network, with Steve Schlanger handling the play-by-play duties and former Wisconsin Badger defenseman and 10-year NHL veteran Brian Engblom providing analysis.

Saturday's game will air live on ROOT Sports, with Jay Stickney (play-by-play), Charlie Host (analyst), and Jenny Cavnar (reporter) calling the action.

Video webcasts are not available for this weekend's series.

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 UND Athletics Media Relations.

TICKET INFORMATION: Visit DenverPioneers.com or Ticketmaster.com for ticket information.

ABOUT THE PIONEERS: This weekend's home series against North Dakota will mark the Pioneers' first two-game home series since Jan. 11-12 vs. Nebraska Omaha. Denver has played five of its last six games on the road, but will play four of its final six games at home.

The Pioneers enter Friday's game with a 10-4-3 home record and are unbeaten in their last six (5-0-1) at Magness Arena. DU's last home loss was a 3-1 setback to Wisconsin on Dec. 1.

DU averages a league-leading 17.1 penalty minutes per game, but ranks second in the WCHA in penalty killing at 84.7 percent. The Pioneers' power play is tied for third in the league at 22 percent.
Sophomore goalie Juho Olkinuora is 9-3-5 with a 2.11 goals against average and a WCHA-best .935 save percentage.

DU COACHING STAFF: George Gwozdecky (Wisconsin ‘78) is in his 19th season at DU and is 438-262-64 (.615). In 27 seasons as a collegiate head coach, he is 588-386-85 (.595).

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), as well as volunteer assistant Matty Thomas (Navy ‘05).

SERIES HISTORY: UND leads the all-time series with the Pioneers 136-116-9 (.538) after a win and a tie at home earlier this year, and has lost just once in the past 10 meetings, a stretch that began with a 4-3 win in the 2010 WCHA Final Five semifinal.

Senior forwards Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Corban Knight (High River, Alberta) lead all active UND skaters with 11 and 10 career points, respectively, in 14 career games against DU. A third senior, Carter Rowney (Sexsmith, Alberta), has nine points in 13 career matchups.

Junior goalie Clarke Saunders (Brockville, Ontario) has started four career games against the Pioneers and is 2-1-1 with a 3.21 goals against average and .893 save percentage. He started both games in December when UND took three of four WCHA points.

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

Denver is ranked 10th in both polls and 11th in the PairWise Rankings.

See page 3 for complete poll information.

LAST ACTION: In its last action two weeks ago, UND earned a road split at Nebraska Omaha, winning 2-1 on Friday at CenturyLink Center and 5-2 outside on Saturday at TD Ameritrade Park, in what was dubbed the Mutual of Omaha Battles on Ice. The game was the first outdoor game in UND history.

Senior forwards Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Corban Knight (High River, Alberta) led the way with four points each in the series, with Kristo collecting two goals and two assists and Knight picking up a goal and three assists.

Freshman goalie Zane Gothberg (Thief River Falls, Minn.) started both games and earned WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors after stopping 62 of 65 shots in the series (.954 SV%).

NO REST FOR THE WEARY: This weekend's series continues a stretch in which UND will play 12 of its final 14 regular season games (and 10 in a row) against teams ranked in the USCHO.com top 20 poll.

UND has faced the nation's fourth-toughest schedule according to the KRACH rankings.

WE'RE GOING STREAKING: Prior to last week's bye week, UND had been unbeaten in its previous five games (3-0-2) and had just three losses in its last 17 games (10-3-4).

SECOND-HALF SURGE: UND is 3-0-1 to start the month of February and has now gone 39-7-3 (.827) after January since 2009-10.

During Dave Hakstol's 9-year tenure as head coach, UND is 90-26-12 (.750) in games played after January:
In his first eight years, Hakstol has typically guided his teams to a higher winning percentage after Christmas:

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) 6-3-3 (.625)
Totals 91-62-15 (.586) 138-52-21 (.704)

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.

DYNAMIC DUO: Senior forward Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) leads all active NCAA Division I men's players in career points, while linemate and classmate Corban Knight (High River, Alberta) has combined with Kristo to give UND the nation's highest-scoring duo in terms of career points:

Kristo is also one off the active career goal-scoring lead, while both players are among the active leaders in career assists:

Knight (40 points) is tied for second in the WCHA scoring race while Kristo (39) ranks fourth. They rank third (tie) and sixth, respectively, in the national scoring race.

THE COUNT OF DANNY KRISTO: With 18 goals this season -- one shy of the career-high 19 he scored last year -- Danny Kristo (Sr., Eden Prairie, Minn.) ranks second in the WCHA goal-scoring race and fourth nationally.

With 20 assists, Kristo has also reached the 20-assist plateau for the fourth straight year, making him the first UND player with 20-plus assists in each of his four years since All-American Jeff Panzer from 1997 to 2001.

Kristo enters the DU series riding a 5-game point streak and has 25 points (13g, 12a) in his last 15 games.

A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER: With a team-leading 40 points this season, Corban Knight (Sr., High River, Alberta) is the first UND player to enjoy three straight 40-point campaigns since T.J. Oshie and Ryan Duncan both did it in from 2005-06 to 2007-08.

Knight has reached the scoresheet in 25 of his 29 games this season and, earlier this year, amassed a 19-game point streak that was the fourth-longest in school history and its longest in 25 years.

UND is 32-2-6 (.875) all-time when Knight scores a goal.

KILL OR BE KILLED: UND has killed 22 of 24 opponent power plays over the last seven games, a success rate of 91.7 percent.
When Nebraska Omaha scored a power-play goal (with the goalie also pulled for an extra attacker) in the third period of a 5-2 UND win on Feb. 9, it ended a streak of 18 consecutive successful kills by UND.

UND ranks third in the WCHA in penalty killing at 83.8 percent.

POWER SURGE: Since returning from the Christmas break, UND's power play is clicking at 31.7 percent (13-41) in 12 games.

The team was converting at just 16 percent (12-75) in its 18 games prior to the Christmas break.

NO ZANE, NO GAIN: Freshman goalie Zane Gothberg (Thief River Falls, Minn.) went into UND's off week having been named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week (Feb. 12) and WCHA Rookie of the Week (Feb. 5) the previous two weeks.

Gothberg earned the league's defensive honors after stopping 62 of 65 shots in UND's sweep at Nebraska Omaha (Feb. 9).

Gothberg has started six of UND's last seven games, losing only once (3-1-2) with a 1.96 goals against average and a .935 save percentage. He had a 2.99 goals against average and .897 save percentage in first five starts this year.

During his current 4-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1), Gothberg owns a .957 save percentage that is fourth-best in the nation.

His .778 winning percentage during league play leads the WCHA, and his .926 save percentage ranks third.

Gothberg's overall save percentage of .918 is the third-lowest by a freshman in UND history behind only Bob Peters (.936 in 1957-58) and Darren Jensen (.923 in 1979-80).

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT: This weekend's series at Denver features two of the highest-scoring defensive units in the nation, with DU ranked first and UND fifth:
UND's blueline includes Dillon Simpson (2-15-17), Joe Gleason (4-9-13), Nick Mattson (3-10-13), Derek Forbort (4-8-12), Jordan Schmaltz (2-7-9), Andrew MacWilliam (1-7-8) and Andrew Panzarella (0-0-0).

 

SENIOR STANDOUTS: UND boasts the nation's third-most productive senior class, one of only three to have scored more than 100 points this season:
UND's seniors include Corban Knight (13-27-40), Danny Kristo (18-21-39), Carter Rowney (6-12-18), Joe Gleason (4-9-13) and Andrew MacWilliam (1-7-8).

CAPTAIN'S LOG: With 151 career games played, senior captain Andrew MacWilliam (Calgary, Alberta) is the active leader among WCHA defensemen and ranks fifth nationally among all skaters:

With eight points (1g, 7a) on the season, MacWilliam has matched the career high he established as a sophomore in 2010-11. His 2-assist game in UND's 5-2 win at Nebraska Omaha on Feb. 9 was the first multi-point game of his collegiate career.

VOTE FOR HOBEY: As of Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 6:30 p.m. Central, senior Corban Knight (High River, Alberta) led all 77 nominees with 28,688 votes in the Vote For Hobey fan voting process at HobeyBakerAward.com.

Knight had received more than 24 percent of the 117,916 total votes cast and held a lead of 13,137 votes over the next-highest vote getter, Johnny Gaudreau of Boston College.

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

UND is averaging 11,712 fans in the 11,634-seat Ralph Engelstad Arena, more than any other team in NCAA hockey.

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).


GOLDEN GRIMALDI: Freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, Calif.) helped lead the United States to a gold medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Hockey Championship in January in Ufa, Russia.

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.

Grimaldi is fourth in the WCHA rookie scoring race with 24 points (10g, 14a) in 28 games. His points-per-game average of 0.86 ranks third among WCHA freshmen.

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 (Washington, D.C.).

FAMOUS DAVE: With 229 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.

NON-CONFERENCE NUMBERS: UND finished 5-3-0 against non-conference opponents this year 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

WELCOME TO THE SHOW: Ten former UND players have played in the National Hockey League so far this season: Joe Finley (New York Islanders), Matt Frattin (Toronto), Matt Greene (Los Angeles), Brian Lee (Tampa Bay), Brad Malone (Colorado), T.J. Oshie (St. Louis), Zach Parise (Minnesota), Drew Stafford (Buff alo), Jonathan Toews (Chicago) and Travis Zajac (New Jersey).

All but Parise played at UND during Dave Hakstol's head coaching tenure.

Four of those players wear letters for their respective teams. Toews is the captain in Chicago, while Parise, Stafford and Greene all serve as assistant captains for their respective clubs.

Four other former UND players currently serve on NHL coaching staffs, including Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett, Buffalo assistant coach James Patrick, Minnesota assistant coach Rick Wilson, and Phoenix video coach Steve Peters.
Additionally, Anaheim strength coach Sean Skahan (pronounced ‘skane') is a former UND assistant strength coach, and former UND football letterwinner Mark Chipman is the chairman of True North Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Winnipeg Jets.

Last season, 17 UND products appeared in the NHL, tying for 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.
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 has just one goal in 19 games since.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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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