#7 North Dakota
(14-8-6, 9-5-6 WCHA)
#14 Nebraska Omaha
(16-10-2, 12-6-2 WCHA)
February 8-9, 2013 • 6:37-4:07 pm CT
CenturyLink Center (15,959) • Omaha, Neb.
Radio: 96.1 FM The Fox (KQHT-FM) • Webcast: AmericaOneSports.com
TV Friday: NBC Sports Network
TV Saturday: Midco Sports Network, Cox Communications
THIS WEEK: With four crucial WCHA points on the line, seventh-ranked North Dakota (14-8-6, 9-5-6 WCHA) travels to 14th-ranked Nebraska Omaha (16-10-2, 12-6-2 WCHA) this weekend.
North Dakota is in a 3-way tie for third place in the WCHA, just two points behind second-place Nebraska Omaha.
Saturday's game will be played outdoors at TD Ameritrade Park, the home of the College World Series, in an outdoor doubleheader billed as the "Mutual of Omaha Battles on Ice." The puck drops at 4:07 p.m. Central following a United States Hockey League (USHL) tilt between the Omaha Lancers and the Lincoln Stars.
Friday's game begins at 6:37 p.m. Central.
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.
Friday's game will air live on NBC Sports Network, with Dan Parkhurst and Ken Hodge calling the action. Saturday's game can be seen regionally on Midco Sports Network in the Grand Forks viewing area and Cox Communications in the Omaha viewing area. Veteran hockey broadcaster Gary Sharp will handle the play-by-play duties.
A video webcast of Saturday's game is available at AmericaOneSports.com. Friday's game will not be available via webcast.
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 OmahasTeam.com or Ticketmaster.com for ticket information.
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS: UNO is coming off a split of its WCHA home series against Michigan Tech last weekend. The Mavericks earned a 4-3 win in last Friday's opener but fell 2-1 in overtime to the Huskies on Saturday.
Junior forward Ryan Walters scored his team-leading 16th goal of the season on Friday, in the process becoming the first player in the nation to reach the 40-point plateau.
Senior goalie John Faulkner is one win away from tying Dan Ellis for most career victories (53) at UNO.
The Mavericks rank second nationally in scoring offense, averaging 3.57 goals per game.
UNO COACHING STAFF: Dean Blais (Minnesota ‘73) is in his fourth season at UNO and is 71-60-16 (.537).
Blais was head coach at North Dakota from 1994 to 2004 and led the program to NCAA championships in 1997 and 2000.
He is 333-175-49 (.642) in 14 seasons as a collegiate head coach.
Blais' UNO staff includes Troy Jutting (Minnesota State ‘87) and former UND All-America forward Steve Johnson (UND ‘88).
SERIES HISTORY: UND and UNO have split their six previous meetings.
Senior forward Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) leads all active UND players with three goals in those six games.
Junior goalie Clarke Saunders (Brockville, Ontario) made four starts against the Mavericks while with Alabama-Huntsville, going 2-2-0 with a 2.99 goals against average and a .937 save percentage. He made a UAH-record 58 saves in a 2-1 overtime win over UNO on Jan. 29, 2011, and has averaged 45 saves in his four appearances against UNO.
POLL POSITION: UND is ranked No. 7 in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls, released on Monday.
UNO is ranked 14th by USCHO and 15th by USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine.
See page 3 for complete poll information.
LAST ACTION: UND took three of four points from Wisconsin last weekend, tying 1-1 on Friday and winning 4-1 on Saturday.
Saturday's win snapped a 5-game winless skid that was the longest of head coach Dave Hakstol's 9-year tenure.
Sophomore forward Michael Parks (St. Louis, Mo.) enjoyed his first career 2-goal game on Saturday, while Zane Gothberg (Fr., Thief River Falls, Minn.) earned the win after starting both games of a series for the first time.
FIT TO BE TIED: Friday's 1-1 tie against Wisconsin was UND's NCAA-leading sixth tie of the year, its most since going 29-8-9 in 2000-01 en route to the national championship game.
NO ZANE, NO GAIN: Freshman goalie Zane Gothberg (Thief River Falls, Minn.) was named WCHA Rookie of the Week on Tuesday after backstopping UND to a 3-point weekend against Wisconsin.
Starting both games of a weekend series for the first time in his collegiate career, Gothberg stopped 50 of 52 shots as UND skated to a 4-1 win and 1-1 tie against the Badgers.
Gothberg has started four of UND's last five games, going 1-1-2 with a 2.18 goals against average and a .925 save percentage. He had a 2.99 goals against average and .897 save percentage in first five starts this year.
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 currently ranked in the USCHO.com top 20 poll.
UND has faced the nation's fifth-toughest schedule according to the KRACH rankings.
KILL OR BE KILLED: UND's penalty kill went 8-for-8 in the series against Wisconsin and has now killed 16 of the last 17 opponent power plays and 20 of the last 22.
UND ranks third in the WCHA in penalty killing in both league games (84.2 percent) and all games (83.7 percent).
DEFENSE DEPARTMENT: Both UND's and UNO's defensive units have combined for 68 points, tying them for third nationally:
UND's blueline includes Dillon Simpson (2-14-16), Joe Gleason (4-9-13), Derek Forbort (4-8-12), Nick Mattson (2-9-11), Jordan Schmaltz (1-7-8), Andrew MacWilliam (1-5-6) and Andrew Panzarella (0-0-0).
SENIOR STUDS: Senior Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) leads all active NCAA Division I men's hockey players with 144 career points, while combining with linemate Corban Knight (Sr., High River, Alberta) to provide UND with the nation's highest-scoring pair of teammates:
Kristo scored his NCAA-leading 58th career goal in last Friday's 1-1 tie against Wisconsin:
Kristo and Knight also rank sixth and seventh, respectively, among active NCAA players in career assists:
Knight (36 points) and Kristo (35) rank 3-4 in the WCHA scoring race behind only UNO's Ryan Walters (40 points) and St. Cloud State's Drew LeBlanc (38).
SENIOR SCORING: Knight and Kristo have anchored a UND senior class that ranks third nationally in offensive production:
UND's seniors include Knight (12-24-36), Kristo (16-19-35), Carter Rowney (6-10-16), Joe Gleason (4-9-13) and Andrew MacWilliam (1-5-6).
OH, WHAT A KNIGHT!: Knight has reached the scoresheet in 23 of his 27 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:
With a team-leading 36 points, Knight is closing in his third straight 40-point season, a feat last accomplished at UND in 2007-08 when T.J. Oshie and Ryan Duncan both did it.
UND is 31-2-6 all-time when Knight scores a goal.
One of 77 players nominated for the Vote For Hobey fan voting process at HobeyBakerAward.com, Knight was leading all players with more than 22,000 votes as of late Tuesday afternoon, nearly 8,000 more votes than his next-closest competitor, Johnnny Gaudreau of Boston College.
THE COUNT OF DANNY KRISTO: Kristo enters the week having reached the scoresheet in 11 of his last 13 games, racking up 11 goals and 10 assists during that stretch.
Kristo's 16 goals this season tie him for the WCHA lead and for third nationally, behind only St. Lawrence's Greg Carey (18) and Boston College's Steven Whitney (17).
SECOND-HALF SURGE: With a win and a tie to start the month of February, UND is hoping to continue its trend under ninth-year head coach Dave Hakstol of playing its best hockey after the calendar turns to Feburary.
UND is 88-26-12 (.746) from February 1st on under Hakstol, including a 37-7-3 (.819) since 2009-10.
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) 4-3-3 (.550)
Totals 91-62-15 (.586) 136-52-21 (.701)
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 149 career games played, senior captain Andrew MacWilliam (Calgary, Alberta) is the active leader among WCHA defensemen and is tied for fifth nationally among all skaters:
CENTURY CLUB: MacWilliam is one of seven UND skaters who have played in at least 100 career games, tied with Colorado College and Minnesota Duluth for the most in the WCHA.
Junior defensemen Derek Forbort (Duluth, Minn.) and Dillon Simpson (Edmonton, Alberta) each played in their 100th career game last Friday and Saturday, respectively, against Wisconsin.
WORKIN' OVERTIME: Following Friday's 1-1 overtime tie against Wisconsin, UND is now unbeaten (2-0-5) in seven overtime games this year after going winless (0-1-3) in extra time last season.
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 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. Wisconsin ranks second with an average of 9,999 fans per home game.
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 third in the WCHA rookie scoring race with 22 points (9g, 13a) in 26 games.
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 227 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
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).
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.
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."