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UND practices at UMD's AMSOIL Arena on the eve of their NCHC series.
MHKY Travel Blog: Stretch run continues in Duluth
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Updated: Monday 02/21/2014 18:22:27 (ET)
by Jayson Hajdu, UND Athletic Media Relations
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2:55 p.m. -- It's been a while since I've written one of these, since the last two road trips had me either incredibly ill and incapacitated (Denver) or on the road for just one full day (Bemidji).

The team left Grand Forks at 8 a.m. this morning, moving up our departure time slightly in order to stay ahead of the weather that's coming toward Duluth. They're expecting upwards of a foot of snow here, but thankfully the weather (and roads) remained cooperative for our drive.

Dave the Bus Driver was also kind enough to have the women's Olympic gold medal game between the U.S. and Canada on the radio on the bus during the drive. We pulled into AMSOIL Arena just as Canada made it 2-1, unloaded the gear, then we were getting back on the bus just as Canada tied the game. By the time Canada won it in overtime, we were back at the hotel.

As you can imagine with a UND roster full of both Americans and Canadians, those last three goals brought about a ton of mixed reactions. It's more of the same tomorrow with the Canadian and American men squaring off.

As steady flurries continue to fall from the sky in Duluth, we'll be heading back to the arena shortly for a 5:45 practice. From there, it's team dinner and back to the hotel. Hard to believe only three weeks remain in the regular season, and the first-ever chase for the Penrose Cup is shaping up to be a memorable.

Continue to check back here for more updates throughout the weekend.

10:44 p.m. -- The snow continues to fall, the winds continue to howl and we are back at the hotel for the night after practice and dinner.

Sophomore Rocco Grimaldi won the Thursday shootout competition following practice, receiving the customary mugging from his teammates as a reward. Assistant coach Dane Jackson is usually among the ringleaders getting his jabs and pokes in at the winner, and tonight was no different.

Duluth is in the midst of a winter storm warning until noon Friday, so for all of the UND fans making the trip down tomorrow, please be safe and smart.

More updates tomorrow!


9:30 a.m. -- Checking in briefly before we make our way to AMSOIL Arena for morning skate.

The snow has stopped falling and when it was all said and done, Duluth ended up with about 14-16 inches of snowfall.

The plows have wreaked some havoc, too. A member of the catering staff at the hotel was telling us that he lives a mere nine blocks away and still needed to hitchhike a ride from a hospital employee because his car was so buried.

When I woke up, I looked out the window of my room and saw a woman trying desperately to crawl over the mound of snow created by the plows just to get from the street to the sidewalk, presumably on her way to work. She never did make it over and ended up heading up the street in search of an easier path.

6:20 p.m. -- Believe it or not, our hotel does not have NBC Sports Network, so the entire team watched the Canada-U.S. semifinal via webcast on a projection screen at the hotel. Loyalties were split down the middle, as you can imagine.

I always enjoy watching hockey with other hockey players, and hearing and seeing how in awe they are of other players. Some of the biggest reactions during the game came on T.J. Oshie blocked shots while killing penalties. It's fun watching them watch to the subtleties of the game.

Now we're at AMSOIL Arena, 45 minutes from puck drop on the game we actually came here for. Senior forward Mitch MacMillan draws into the lineup for the first time since Dec. 7 at Western Michigan. He'll play left wing on the fourth line with Bryn Chyzyk and Colten St. Clair.

That's the only lineup change tonight, as Zane Gothberg gets is second straight start coming back from injury.

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