THURSDAY, OCT. 17
5:42 p.m. (EST) -- The first road trip of the 2013-14 season is in full swing, and in about 24 hours we will begin the NCHC era with No. 6 North Dakota against No. 1 Miami.
The team chartered out of Grand Forks this morning, flying into Cincinnati. From there, it was about a 45-minute bus ride to Oxford. Getting here went extremely smoothly, which can never be taken for granted on any road trip, let alone the first one of the year.
Practice just ended about 30 minutes ago. With CBS Sports Network broadcasting Friday night's season opener, the on-air talent was at the rink before practice to chat with players and coaches. The crew for Friday's game includes play-by-play man Ben Holden, color analyst Dave Starman and rinkside reporter Shireen Saski. It's a trio I thoroughly enjoy working with. They are always prepared, professional and friendly, and are incredibly low maintenance.
The players they chatted with included Rocco Grimaldi, Mark MacMillan, Dillon Simpson, Adam Tambellini, Jordan Schmaltz and Stephane Pattyn. It's been neat to see Stephane evolve into the leader he's become over the past two-plus seasons. He's also completely at ease dealing with the media, which always helps.
That's the update for now. We're off to team dinner. A bit of a switch, though, as there wasn't a restaurant in town able to accomodate a group our size due to all of the Homecoming fesitivities around town. That means we'll be staying in the hotel for dinner rather than venturing off site, as we traditionally do on Thursday nights.
More updates throughout the weekend.
FRIDAY, OCT. 18
12:29 p.m. -- Morning skate is in the books and everyone is back at the hotel.
Much like UND, Miami has an awfully nice campus. Lots of grass and trees, the buildings have that old fashioned, Ivy League look and the surrounding neighborhoods definitely have a campus feel. It also helps that the temperatures have been in the mid-60s today with nothing in the sky but sunshine.
Cady Arena is very nice as well. It's small (capacity under 4,000) but every seat is right on the top of the ice, similar to Notre Dame, Minnesota Duluth and Bemidji State. There are many structural similarities to the rinks at Notre Dame at Denver.
It's clear in talking with some campus officials that they've been gearing up for this particular series for quite some time. Between the hype for the NCHC opener and it being Homecoming weekend here in Oxford, it should be a doozy.
Lineup updates coming later this afternoon.
5:29 p.m. -- Zane Gothberg will start in goal for North Dakota, which has done a little bit of lineup tinkering up front tonight:
Remember that you can watch tonight's game live on CBS Sports Network, which is also available on DirecTV (channel 221) and DISH Network (152).
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19
10:41 a.m. -- Well that was a fun way to open the NCHC era, wasn't it?
While the night was light on pomp -- the dawn of the NCHC era was marked by a ceremonial faceoff -- it was clearly a much-anticipated night. Both teams played at a playoff pace from the opening faceoff, Steve Cady Arena was at capacity, and those in attendance included NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton, NCHC Director of Officials Don Adam, and ESPN's John Buccigross, who was there as a fan of hockey, not as a broadcaster.
Former UND letterwinner Justin Duberman was also on hand for the game.
UND's performance was impressive, and the players maintained their poise even when Miami made its inevitable push in the second period. Also cool to see Michael Parks write his name in the history books as the first goal-scorer in NCHC history.
The team is off to the rink for morning skate, though I suspect it will be a fairly brief one to get the legs loose again.
Again, check back for further updates throughout the day and night.
6:24 p.m. -- Just one lineup change tonight for UND, as junior defenseman Andrew Panzarella draws in for classmate Nick Mattson. Mattson got nicked up last night and is considered to be day to day.