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Mustache afficianado Stephane Pattyn scored his first goal of the year last Saturday.
MHKY Travel Blog: On (St.) Cloud 9
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Updated: Sunday 11/19/2012 14:02:41 (ET)
by Jayson Hajdu, UND Athletic Media Relations
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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2012

9:20 a.m. -- Happy game day from St. Cloud!

The St. Cloud trip is always a favorite mine, as I'm sure it is for most of the players and staff. It's a short bus ride (movie: 21 Jump Street), the atmosphere at the rink is usually electric, and the games between the two teams are rarely dull.

Perhaps the most notable bit of information to emerge from last night's practice at the National Hockey and Events Center was that the stick of sophomore forward Connor Gaarder remains hot. Just six days after recording his first collegiate hat trick, Gaarder won last night's shootout competition following practice.

Much has been lately of UND's odd Friday/Saturday splits over the last 10 years in St. Cloud. I can't attribute it to anything other than bizarre randomness. If you follow the team closely, you'll see no difference in their daily preparation and approach, whether it's Tuesday or Friday.

The team's annual "Movember" initiative is in full swing. Rocco Grimaldi, Zane Gothberg, Clarke Saunders and Stephane Pattyn appear to be the early front-runners for best (worst?) mustache, but it's still early. Feel free to make a donation to a worthy cause in the name of your favorite player(s).

With breakfast just finishing up, we'll be boarding the bus shortly to head over for morning skate. Until then, if you don't mind, Hennessy and I would like to finish watching "50 Cutest Child Stars All Grown Up." Up next, No. 39 Jaleel White.

Check back for updates throughout the day, including tonight's lineup.

5:45 p.m. -- Hennessy and I had a brief conversation this morning with St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko. He said that Saturday's game (available for viewing on NESN) is already sold out, and that he figured tonight's game was just a few hundred shy of sold out. When I mentioned I had heard the student section was sold out, he replied that their student fans have been tremendous all year. So it should be a terrific atmosphere here at the National Hockey and Events Center.

Junior Clarke Saunders will start in goal tonight. Up front, just one minor change, with Bryn Chyzyk jumping to the third line, and Colten St. Clair moving down to center the fourth line.

Forwards
Kristo-Knight-Rowney
O'Donnell-MacMillan-Gaarder
Caggiula-Grimaldi-Chyzyk
Pattyn-St. Clair-Rodwell

Defense
MacWilliam-Mattson
Forbort-Schmaltz
Simpson-Gleason

Goalies
Saunders
Gothberg

Out: Senkbeil, Parks, Panzarella, Mitch MacMillan, Sanderson, Maris

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2012

10:34 a.m. -- So much for the whole "Fridays in St. Cloud" thingy, eh? Brickwall goaltending by Clarke Saunders, opening-minute goals by Brendan O'Donnell in the first and Carter Rowney in the second, and a back-breaking shorthanded goal by Mark MacMillan was the recipe for last night's 3-0 win.

Saunders, O'Donnell and Rowney were named the game's three stars, and deservedly so. My own ballot include Derek Forbort and Danny Kristo. Forbort was dominant defensively, particularly in his own zone. He was part of an effective defensive corps that did an outstanding job of getting their sticks in passing and shooting lanes all night long. The forwards did a solid job of this as well.

Kristo and Rocco Grimaldi both had significant performances without reaching the scoresheet. Kristo was part of a top line that was dominant more often than not, particularly down low. Both Kristo and Grimaldi were tenacious on puck battles and generated multiple scoring chances with their creativity.

The great night didn't end at the final buzzer, either. It was wonderful to be able to catch up with so many friends, old and new, at last night's postgame tweet-up. Thank you to everyone who made it out.

Check back here for additional updates, including lineup information.

5:53 p.m. -- So I'm taking line charts into our coaches locker room shortly after we get to the arena, as is part of my normal routine, and who is sitting in there visiting with our coaches but Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke.

UND senior defenseman Andrew MacWilliam is a Leafs prospect, and there may also be some undrafted free agents on Burke's radar.

Back to those line charts. UND is going with an identical lineup to last night, including Clarke Saunders in goal:

Forwards
Kristo-Knight-Rowney
O'Donnell-MacMillan-Gaarder
Caggiula-Grimaldi-Chyzyk
Pattyn-St. Clair-Rodwell

Defense
MacWilliam-Mattson
Forbort-Schmaltz
Simpson-Gleason

Goalies
Saunders
Gothberg

Out: Senkbeil, Parks, Panzarella, Mitch MacMillan, Sanderson, Maris

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