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UND eyes a regional semifinal date with Western Michigan.
MHKY Notes: UND meets WMU in regional semifinal
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Updated: Saturday 03/22/2012 09:05:13 (ET)
by Jayson Hajdu, UND Athletic Media Relations
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#12 Western Michigan

(21-13-6)
vs.
#4 North Dakota
(25-12-3)

 

March 24, 2012 • 12:34 pm CT • Xcel Energy Center (18,064) • St. Paul, Minn.
RADIO: 96.1 The Fox (KQHT-FM) • TV: FOX Sports North
WEBCAST: www.ESPN3.com

THIS WEEK: North Dakota is the No. 1 seed in the NCAA West Regional in St. Paul and will face CCHA Tournament champion and No. 4 seed Western Michigan in the semifinal on Saturday.

The puck drops at 12:34 p.m. Central at the Xcel Energy Center.

The other NCAA West Region semifinal features No. 2 seed and host Minnesota against No. 3 seed Boston University.

The winner of the NCAA West Region will advance to the NCAA Frozen Four, held April 5-7 in Tampa.

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 Radio Network. Veteran broadcaster Tim Hennessy is in his 33rd season as the voice of the men's hockey program. Free audio is available at www.fightingsioux.com.

Both NCAA West Region semifinals will air live on FOX Sports North (channels 28 and 623 HD in Grand Forks). The NCAA West Region championship will air live on ESPNU. All NCAA regional games can also be seen online at www.ESPN3.com.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Receive real-time updates during all UND men's hockey games by following
@UNDMHockey. Additional coverage can be found at @UNDathletics and @UNDSID.

Fans can also follow the action via live chat at FightingSioux.com, hosted by Grand Forks Herald hockey writer Brad Schlossman and UND media relations director Jayson Hajdu during every home and road game.

TICKET INFORMATION: Visit www.ncaa.com for ticket information.

ABOUT THE BRONCOS: After placing second in the CCHA during the regular season with a 14-10-4 overall record, Western Michigan captured the conference tournament last weekend in Detroit with a 6-2 semifinal win over Miami and a 3-2 championship game victory over Michigan.

Freshman goalie Frank Slubowski, who was named CCHA Tournament MVP, ranks eighth nationally and first among freshmen with a 2.03 goals against average.

The Broncos have won five straight games and are unbeaten in their last six, giving them the third-longest active unbeaten streak in the nation behind only Boston College (15 games) and North Dakota (seven).

WMU ranks ninth nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 2.23 goals per game.
WMU COACHING STAFF: Former Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues head coach Andy Murray (Brandon University ‘72) is in his first season behind the Broncos' bench.

Murray's son, Brady, played for UND in 2003-04 and 2004-05 and was named the 2003-04 WCHA Rookie of the Year.

Murray's assistant coaches Pat Ferschweiler (WMU ‘93) and Rob Facca (Nebraska Omaha ‘00), as well as volunteer assistant coach Spiros Anastas.

SERIES HISTORY: Saturday will mark the first-ever postseason meeting between UND and Western Michigan.

The two teams have met four times in regular season, twice in Kalamazoo during the 1996-97 and twice in Grand Forks the following year. UND swept all four games by a combined score of 28-12.

UND'S LAST ACTION: UND earned an automatic bid to its 10th straight NCAA tournament after winning a record third straight Broadmoor Trophy as WCHA Final Five champions last weekend in St. Paul.

UND defeated St. Cloud State 4-1 in Friday's quarterfinal, rallied from a 3-0 deficit to defeat No. 4 Minnesota in Friday's semifinal, then blanked No. 9 Denver 4-0 in Saturday's championship game.

Goalie Aaron Dell (Jr., Airdrie, Alberta) was named tournament MVP and was joined on the all-tournament team by defensemen Derek Forbort (So., Duluth, Minn.) and Andrew MacWilliam (Jr., Calgary, Alberta), and forwards Mario Lamoureux (Sr., Grand Forks, N.D.) and Brock Nelson (So., Warroad, Minn.).

POLL POSITION: UND is ranked No. 4 in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls, and No. 3 in the Inside College Hockey Power Rankings (see page 3 for more).

POSTSEASON PRIMER: UND will compete in the NCAA tournament for the 26th time in program history. Also of note:

• UND's .667 NCAA postseason winning percentage leads all programs with a minimum of 15 games. UND is 42-21 all-time in the national tournament, ranking third on the all-time wins list.

• UND is making its 10th straight NCAA postseason appearance, tied for the third-longest streak in history behind Michigan (22 from 1991-present) and Minnesota (13 from 1985-97).

• UND has won seven NCAA titles (1959, 1963, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1997, 2000), a number topped only by Michigan's nine.

• UND has also been national runner-up on five occasions.

• UND has advanced to the NCAA postseason in each of Dave Hakstol's eight seasons as head coach, qualifying for the NCAA Frozen Four in five of his first seven years.

• No program in the nation has reached the Frozen Four as many times as UND during Hakstol's eight years.

• UND is 10-2 in NCAA regional games and 11-7 in the NCAA postseason under Hakstol.

• UND's 11 NCAA postseason wins under Hakstol are second only to Boston College's 15 during that time.

• UND is 41-14 (.745) in the postseason (WCHA & NCAA) under Hakstol, which is 15 more playoff wins than any other WCHA school during that time.

WE'RE GOING STREAKING!: UND enters the tournament having won seven straight games, the second-longest unbeaten streak in the nation behind only Boston College (15-0-0).

UND has lost just twice in the last 16 games (13-2-1), and has gone 21-5-2 (.786) since Thanksgiving weekend.

FINAL FIVE FACTS: Last weekend UND became the first team in league history to win three straight Broadmoor Trophies as WCHA Final Five tournament champions.

It was the team's fourth league playoff championship in Hakstol's eight years.
UND has now won 13 straight WCHA playoff games, including eight wins in a row at the WCHA Final Five.

IT'S HOW YOU FINISH: With just four losses in 22 games since the Christmas break, UND has continued its trend of playing its best hockey after Christmas under eighth-year head coach Dave Hakstol:

Year Before After
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) 16-4-2 (.773)
Totals 80-57-12 (.577) 131-48-18 (.711)

IN LIKE A LION: UND has been particularly effective once the calendar turns to March. Over the previous two seasons, the Sioux have gone 22-2-0 (.917) in March, including 15 straight wins:

Year March Of Note
2004-05 7-1-1 (.833) NCAA runner-up
2005-06 8-1-0 (.889) NCAA semifinals
2006-07 6-1-1 (.813) NCAA semifinals
2007-08 7-3-2 (.667) NCAA semifinals
2008-09 4-4-0 (.500) WCHA champions
2009-10 7-2-0 (.778) WCHA playoff champs 2010-11 8-0-0 (1.000) NCAA semifinals
2011-12 7-0-0 (1.000) NCAA regionals
Totals 54-12-4 (.800)

BROCK ‘N' ROLL: Sophomore forward Brock Nelson (Warroad, Minn.) scored a tournament-leading four goals in three games at the WCHA Final Five.

He now leads the WCHA and ranks third nationally with 27 goals. Nelson is one off the national lead in power-play goals (10) and two off the lead in game-winning goals (6).

Nelson is UND's youngest 20-goal scorer since Jonathan Toews scored 22 as a freshman in 2005-06.

SUPER MARIO: Senior captain Mario Lamoureux (Grand Forks, N.D.) entered the WCHA Final Five with one goal in 34 games this season.

In Friday's 6-3 WCHA Final Five semifinal win over Minnesota, in which UND rallied from a 3-0 deficit, Lamoureux scored twice in the third period alone, including the game-winner, to snap a 24-game goal drought.

UND is now 14-0-0 all-time when Lamoureux scores a goal.


DUDE, WE'VE GOT A DELL: Junior goalie Aaron Dell (Airdrie, Alberta) started all three games at the WCHA Final Five and posted a 1.33 goals against average and .948 save percentage.

In 11 career postseason starts (WCHA and NCAA combined), Dell is 10-1 with a 1.14 goals against average, a .952 save percentage and three shutouts. The lone loss came in last year's NCAA Frozen Four semifinal in which he stopped 18 of 19 shots.

He has never lost a game in the month of March, having gone 12-0-0 with a 1.21 goals against average, a .950 save percentage and three shutouts.

Dell is UND's career leader in goals against average and is already the eighth-winningest goalie in school history:
Dell stopped all 22 shots he faced in a 4-0 win over No. 9 Denver in the WCHA Final Five championship, the ninth shutout of his career:
LINEUP LIMITATIONS: With injured forwards Rocco Grimaldi (Fr., Rossmoor, Calif.), Brendan O'Donnell (Fr., Winnipeg, Manitoba) and Derek Rodwell (So., Taber, Alberta) all out for the season, UND will not have the luxury of playing with a healthy scratch (among skaters) for the remainder of the season.

In fact, UND has been forced to dress fewer than 18 skaters 12 times this season, yet has gone 10-2 in those games.


Eight players have combined to miss 102 games due to injury so far this season:

Rocco Grimaldi, 36
Brendan O'Donnell, 23
Derek Rodwell, 21
Taylor Dickin, 9
Derek Forbort, 5
Corban Knight, 3
Mario Lamoureux, 3
Aaron Dell, 2

KNIGHTLINE'S WINNING RATINGS: UND's top line of Corban Knight (Jr., High River, Alberta), Danny Kristo (Jr., Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Brock Nelson (So., Warroad, Minn.) combined for 11 points (7g, 4a) at the WCHA Final Five.

The unit has now combined for 90 points (43 goals, 47 assists) in the 21 wins in which it has played together, an average of 4.3 points per game.

The line has just 14 points (8g, 6a) in eight losses, which equates to only 1.75 points per game.

Nelson (27-17-44), Kristo (18-25-43) and Knight (15-24-39) are UND's top three scorers and have scored 46 percent of the team's goals (60-130) this season.

RPM INCREASE: Not to be outdone, UND's "RPM" line of Carter Rowney (Jr., Sexsmith, Alberta), Michael Parks (Fr., St. Louis, Mo.) and Mark MacMillan (Fr., Penticton, British Columbia) combined for 10 points (4g, 6a) at the WCHA Final Five.

UND's "second" line leads the team in scoring in the seven games since the calendar flipped to March. MacMillan has a team-leading nine points (3g, 6a) during that time, while Parks (4g, 4a) and Rowney (2g, 6a) have each contributed eight points.

ON THE MARK: MacMillan enters the NCAA tournament riding a 6-game point streak that is the longest active streak on the team and matches the longest by a UND player all season.

MacMillan has three goals and six assists during that stretch and is a team-leading +10.

DYNAMIC DUO: In seven games since the calendar turned to March, UND's defense pairing of senior Ben Blood (Plymouth, Minn.) and sophomore Derek Forbort (Duluth, Minn.) has combined for 10 points, a +16 and 25 blocked shots.

Forbort was named to the WCHA Final Five All-Tournament team after leading UND in scoring (5 points) and plus/minus (+6). Prior to the tournament, Forbort had eight points and was a -3.

 

Blood leads all UND defensemen with a career-high 20 points, and is a +16 in his last 14 games.

Blood (20 points) and Forbort (13) anchor the nation's fifth-highest scoring defensive corps.

JUNIOR MINT: North Dakota boasts one of the highest-scoring junior classes in college hockey:

RK Team G-A-Pts.
1. Maine 62-94-156
2. Boston College 50-105-155
3. North Dakota 53-84-137
4. Bemidji State 57-71-128
Northeastern 45-83-128

UND's junior class includes: Danny Kristo (18-25-43), Corban Knight (15-24-39), Carter Rowney (18-15-33), Joe Gleason (0-14-14) and Andrew MacWilliam (2-5-7).

WE WERE MERELY FRESHMEN: UND's freshmen have combined for 93 points this season.

The group is the nation's 8th-highest scoring freshman class, and the team's highest-scoring first-year class since 2005-06.

That season, the freshman class amassed 196 points and included future NHLers Jonathan Toews, T.J. Oshie, Brian Lee, Taylor Chorney, Joe Finley and Matt Watkins, as well as 2007 Hobey Baker Award winner Ryan Duncan.

UND's 2011-12 freshman class includes Michael Parks (11-10-21), Nick Mattson (6-13-19), Mark MacMillan (7-15-22), Connor Gaarder (4-6-10), Brendan O'Donnell (5-1-6), Stephane Pattyn (4-3-7), Andrew Panzarella (0-3-3), Rocco Grimaldi (1-1-2) and Dan Senkbeil (0-3-3).

Both O'Donnell and Grimaldi are out for the season.

CARTER WOW-NEY: Junior forward Carter Rowney (Sexsmith, Alberta) ranks tied for second on the team with a career-high 18 goals.

Rowney had eight goals in the month of February alone, matching the eight he scored from October through January. He entered the season with four goals in 67 career games in his first two seasons.

Rowney also ranks second on the team with nine power-play goals after entering his junior season without ever having scored a power-play tally at UND.

Rowney had a goal and two assists last weekend at the WCHA Final Five.

NODAK NATION: North Dakota is the No. 1 draw in men's college hockey this season, averaging 9,991 fans per game, home and away combined.

Wisconsin ranks second at 9,174.

EIDS WIDE SHUT: Senior Brad Eidsness (Chestermere, Alberta) has appeared in 104 career games, tying him for fourth all-time at UND:
Eidsness finished the conference season ranked second in the WCHA in both goals against average (2.19) and save percentage (.919), and finished third in winning percentage (.650).

In 15 overall appearances this season, Eidsness is 8-3-1 and boasts a 2.17 goals against average and a career-high .920 save percentage.

ROARING TWENTIES: With 25 victories this season, UND has reached the 20-win plateau for the eighth time in as many seasons under head coach Dave Hakstol.

Only Gino Gasaprini, who won 20 games for 13 straight years from 1978 to 1991, had a longer streak of 20-plus wins at UND.

 

THERE WILL BE BLOOD: Senior defenseman Ben Blood (Plymouth, Minn.) has appeared in 140 consecutive games, the longest active streak on the team.

The school record for consecutive games played is 175 -- also an NCAA record -- and is shared by Ryan Duncan (2005-09) and Chris Porter (2003-07). Porter currently plays with the NHL's St. Louis Blues and Duncan with the AHL's Portland Pirates (Phoenix Coyotes).

Blood has a career-high 20 points this season and is a +16 in his last 14 games.

He is UND's active plus/minus leader with a +51 in 158 career games.

FOLLOWING THE ‘GENERAL': Freshman forward Stephane Pattyn (Ste. Anne, Manitoba) scored the game-winning goal in the penultimate game of the regular season, the third GWG among his four goals this season.

Only seven freshmen in the history of UND hockey have scored more GWG in a season (six of whom went on to play in the NHL):

Pattyn's first career goal was the game-winner with 1:54 remaining in the third period of a 5-3 win over Wisconsin on Jan. 27, and came on his 21st birthday.

NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOE: Despite splitting time between forward and his natural defense position due to injuries, junior Joe Gleason (Edina, Minn.) boasts a career-high 14 points (all assists).

Gleason has played 27 games at forward and 12 on the blueline.

NICK OF TIME: With 19 points this season, freshman Nick Mattson (Chanhassen, Minn.) is on the verge of becoming UND's first rookie rearguard to reach the 20-point plateau since current NHLer Brian Lee notched 27 points in 2005-06.

Mattson's six goals have been topped by only eight other first-year defensemen in school history:

Rk. Player G
1. John Noah (1947-48) 13
2. Nick Naumenko (1992-93) 10
Mike Stone (1977-78) 10
Rob Mihulka (1975-76) 10
5. Bob Dorsher (1946-47) 9
6. Jason Herter (1988-89) 8
7. Howard Walker (1978-79) 7
Dave Geving (1974-75) 7
9. Nick Mattson (2011-12) 6
3 others tied w/ 6

SHOOTING STAR: Junior forward Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) won UND's Virg Foss 3-Star Award, given annually to the Sioux player who receives the most points in 3-star voting at home games (as voted on by the print media.

Kristo finished with 20 points on the strength of four 1st-star selections, two 2nd-star selections and four 3rd-star selections.

Kristo has scored career highs in points (43), goals (18) and assists (25) this season.

WITH HONORS: Seniors Brad Eidsness (Chestermere, Alberta) and Ben Blood (Plymouth, Minn.), as well as sophomore Brock Nelson (Warroad, Minn.) were recognized when the WCHA announced its annual awards.

Eidsness was named the league's Most Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year, making him the second straight Sioux to win the award (Chay Genoway).

Eidsness completed his bachelor's degree in business administration following his junior season and will receive his master's degree in business administration in May. Last year, Eidsness received the 2011 NCAA Elite 88 Award for men's hockey at the NCAA Frozen Four for owning the highest grade point average among all participants at the championship. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a 3.779 cumulative grade point average as an undergraduate and boasts a 3.625 cumulative GPA in graduate school. He is a three-time WCHA Scholar-Athlete.

Meanwhile, Blood and Nelson both earned their first all-conference selections when they were named to the All-WCHA Third Team.

Blood has recorded a career-high 20 points this season while playing nearly 30 minutes per night. Two of his three goals have been game-winners, leaving him one shy of the school single-season record for defensemen.

Nelson was the WCHA's only player to score 20 goals during league play this season, and was just the third in the last four years.

He leads the WCHA and ranks third nationally with 27 goals.

It was also announced that UND had 11 players earn All-WCHA Academic Team honors, including three-time selections Eidsness, Blood, Mario Lamoureux (Sr., Grand Forks, N.D.) and Tate Maris (Jr., Denver, Colo.).

UND's other All-WCHA honorees included two-time selections Andrew MacWilliam (Jr., Calgary, Alberta) and Carter Rowney (Jr., Sexsmith, Alberta), as well as first-time recipients Nelson, Taylor Dickin (So., Winnipeg, Manitoba), Derek Forbort (So., Duluth, Minn.), Brock Nelson (So., Warroad, Minn.), Derek Rodwell (So., Taber, Alberta) and Dillon Simpson (So., Edmonton, Alberta).

HEAD OF THE CLASS: Senior Brad Eidsness (Chestermere, Alberta) and sophomores Taylor Dickin (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and Dillon Simpson (Edmonton, Alberta) were named WCHA Scholar-Athletes in February.

It was the third straight year in which Eidsness was honored, while both Dickin and Simpson were first-time honorees.

INCH AWARDS: Inside College Hockey named Dave Hakstol as its WCHA Coach of the Year last week, while tabbing sophomore forward Brock Nelson (Warroad, Minn.) as its WCHA Breakthrough Player of the Year.

SUPER DAVE: UND's 3-2 win at SCSU on Jan. 21 was the 200th victory for Dave Hakstol, enabling him to join John "Gino" Gasparini (392 wins, 1978-94) and Dean Blais (262 wins, 1994-2004) as the only UND coaches to reach that milestone.

Hakstol, Gasparini and Blais each won their 200th game in their eighth season. Hakstol played under Gasparini at UND, and was brought to the UND coaching staff as an assistant coach by Blais.

With 32 wins last season, UND has reached the 20-win plateau in each of Hakstol's first seven seasons behind the bench. It was also the 3rd-highest win total in program history.

Hakstol's streak of eight straight 20-win seasons is the second-longest in UND history, behind only Gasparini's 13 in a row (1978-79 to 1990-91).

 

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: UND's win over Clarkson at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg on Jan. 7 drew 7,075 fans, out-drawing all but three NCAA Division I men's hockey games that night.

Only New Hampshire vs. Maine (38,456 at Fenway Park), RIT at Wisconsin (12,453) and Notre Dame at Minnesota (10,242) drew more.

Dubbed the ‘U.S. College Hockey Classic,' the game was UND's first on Canadian soil in 59 years. The last time UND played a men's hockey game in Canada was Dec. 29-30, 1953, when UND lost a pair of games to host Fort Frances (Ontario).

The last time UND played outside of the United States was Dec. 26-29, 1982, when the team competed in the Spengler Cup in Switzerland.

HELLO, MY NAME IS: UND head coach Dave Hakstol announced on Jan. 10 that forward Mitch MacMillan (So., Penticton, British Columbia) transferred to UND and will join the team immediately. MacMillan is eligible to practice with the team, but will not be eligible to compete until January 2013.

MacMillan will have two years of NCAA eligibility remaining when he resumes competition next January.

MacMillan transferred to UND from St. Cloud State, where he had five assists in 14 games this season. In 28 games last season as a freshman, MacMillan had four goals and two assists.

MacMillan's younger brother, Mark, is currently a freshman forward at UND. The last time the two were teammates was in 2009-10 with Alberni Valley of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), when they were the team's top two scorers and combined for 173 points (87 goals, 86 assists) in 59 games.

ASSISTANCE PLAN: Junior goalie Aaron Dell (Airdrie, Alberta) has four career assists, a total topped by only one goalie in the history of the program: current volunteer assistant coach Karl Goehring.

Goehring amassed a school-record seven assists from 1997 to 2001.

MARIO'S MILESTONE: When senior captain Mario Lamoureux (Grand Forks, N.D.) scored the game-winning goal on Nov. 19 at Bemidji State, he entered the UND history books by scoring the 10,000th goal in program history.
Perhaps it was fitting that Lamoureux would be the one to score the milestone goal, considering he is from Grand Forks, and his extensive family ties to UND hockey.

Lamoureux's sisters, Jocelyne and Monique, are junior forwards on UND's women's hockey team.

His father, Pierre, played goalie for UND from 1979-82 and was a member of two NCAA championship teams.

His brother, Jean-Philippe, was a goaltender at UND from 2004-08 and was an All-American as a senior.

Another brother, Pierre-Paul, is currently in his third season on UND's coaching staff as assistant video coordinator.

THE EAGLE SOARS INTO THE HALL: UND legend Ed Belfour made history on Nov. 14 when he became the first UND product to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Belfour parlayed a historic 1986-87 freshman season into a distinguished professional career that saw him become the third-winningest goalie in NHL history. Only Martin Brodeur (636 wins) and Patrick Roy (551) have won more games than Belfour, who won 484 from 1988 to 2007.

A native of Carman, Manitoba, Belfour won a UND-record 29 games (since broken) in 1986-87 and was named an NCAA All-American after leading UND to the 1987 national championship. He was the backbone of the famed "Hrkac Circus" team that won a then-NCAA-record 40 games.

Belfour twice won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's best goalie and helped lead the Dallas Stars to a Stanley Cup championship in 1999.

A six-time all-star game participant, Belfour ranks third in NHL history in wins (484), fourth in games played (963) and saves (24,750), and ninth in shutouts (76). He finished his career with a 2.50 goals against average and a .906 save percentage.

Belfour also excelled on the international stage, winning a Canada Cup in 1991 and an Olympic gold medal in 2002 for Canada.

CALLING ALL CAPTAINS: Senior forward Mario Lamoureux (Grand Forks, N.D.) was named team captain at UND's annual preseason media day luncheon.

In 43 games last season, Lamoureux established career highs in points (17) and assists (14) while earning his second straight WCHA All-Academic selection. In 109 career games, Lamoureux has amassed 13 goals and 22 assists.

Lamoureux's younger sister, Jocelyne, was named captain of UND's women's this season.

Mario Lamoureux joins Steve Johnson (1987-88), Jeff Panzer (2000-01) and Andy Schneider (2003-04) as the only Grand Forks natives to captain their hometown team.

Senior defenseman Ben Blood (Plymouth, Minn.), junior defenseman Andrew MacWilliam (Calgary, Alberta) and junior forward Corban Knight (High River, Alberta) were named assistant captains.

HELLO, MY NAME IS: UND welcomed 10 freshmen to the team this season, including forwards Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, Calif.), Connor Gaarder (Edina, Minn.), Mark MacMillan (Penticton, British Columbia), Brendan O'Donnell (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Michael Parks (St. Louis, Mo.), Stephane Pattyn (Ste. Anne, Manitoba) and Colten St. Clair (Gilbert, Ariz.), and defensemen Nick Mattson (Chanhassen, Minn.), Dan Senkbeil (Fremont, Calif.) and Andrew Panzarella (Washington, D.C.).

It is UND's largest freshman class since 2005-06, when UND brought in 13 freshmen.

That class included future NHLers Jonathan Toews, T.J. Oshie, Taylor Chorney, Brian Lee and Matt Watkins, as well as 2006-07 Hobey Baker Award winner Ryan Duncan.

FEELING A DRAFT: The 2011-12 UND roster boasts 15 National Hockey League draft picks, including 2011 selections Rocco Grimaldi (Fr., Rossmoor, Calif.) and Dillon Simpson (So., Edmonton, Alberta).

Grimaldi was taken in the second round (33rd overall) by Florida, while Simpson went in the fourth round (92nd overall) to Edmonton.

Simpson's father, Craig, won two Stanley Cups with Edmonton during his 10-year NHL career. He is now the lead color analyst on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC) Hockey Night in Canada.

UND's current collection of draft picks features two 1st-rounders (Derek Forbort, Brock Nelson), two 2nd-rounders (Rocco Grimaldi, Danny Kristo), three 4th-rounders (Ben Blood, Mark MacMillan, Dillon Simpson), four 5th-rounders (Brad Eidsness, Corban Knight, Michael Parks, Derek Rodwell), two 6th-rounders (Nick Mattson, Brendan O'Donnell) and two 7th-rounders (Joe Gleason, Andrew MacWilliam).

TRADITION NEVER GRADUATES: Fifteen former UND players have played in the NHL this season: Jason Blake (Anaheim), Taylor Chorney (Edmonton, St. Louis), Mike Commodore (Tampa Bay/Detroit), Joe Finley (Buffalo), Matt Frattin (Toronto), Matt Greene (Los Angeles), Brian Lee (Tampa Bay/Ottawa), Brad Malone (Colorado), T.J. Oshie (St. Louis), Zach Parise (New Jersey), Chris Porter (St. Louis), Drew Stafford (Buffalo), Jonathan Toews (Chicago), Matt Watkins (Phoenix) and Travis Zajac (New Jersey).

With the exception of Blake, who played at UND from 1996-99, each of the above players was coached by Hakstol during his tenure as a head coach or assistant coach at UND.

Other UND products in the NHL include Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett, Columbus assistant Brad Berry, Buffalo assistant James Patrick, Minnesota assistant Rick Wilson, Phoenix video coach Steve Peters, Minnesota Wild Director of Player Development Brad Bombardir, and Chicago Blackhawks radio analyst Troy Murray. Additionally, former UND football letterwinner Mark Chipman is the chairman of the Winnipeg Jets.

Sixteen UND products played in the NHL last season, including: Jason Blake (Anaheim), Taylor Chorney (Edmonton), Mike Commodore (Columbus), Matt Frattin (Toronto), Matt Greene (Los Angeles), David Hale (Ottawa), Ryan Johnson (Chicago), Brian Lee (Ottawa), T.J. Oshie (St. Louis), Zach Parise (New Jersey), Chris Porter (St. Louis), Matt Smaby (Tampa Bay), Drew Stafford (Buffalo), Jonathan Toews (Chicago), Chris Vande Velde (Edmonton), and Travis Zajac (New Jersey).

CALLING ALL CAPTAINS: A pair of UND products currently serve as captains of their NHL clubs: Zach Parise (2002-04) of the New Jersey Devils and Jonathan Toews (2005-07) of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Additionally, defenseman Matt Greene (2002-05) serves as an assistant captain for the L.A. Kings and forward Drew Stafford (2003-06) holds the same title for the Buffalo Sabres.

FOREVER UND: Every member of UND's coaching staff is a graduate of the University of North Dakota.

Head coach Dave Hakstol (1989-92), associate head coach Cary Eades (1978-82), assistant coach Dane Jackson (1988-92) and volunteer assistant Karl Goehring (1998-2001) each played for UND.

Additionally, nearly every member of the support staff is also a graduate of UND, including director of hockey operations Pat Swanson (2002), athletic trainer and strength coach Mark Poolman (1992), team physician Dr. Greg Greek (1977), media relations director Jayson Hajdu (2000) and administrative assistant Carmen Pester (2010).

RANK AND FILE: UND was voted No. 2 (four first-place votes) in the 41st annual Grand Forks Herald WCHA Coaches Preseason Poll and No. 3 (two first-place votes) in the 93X (Duluth) WCHA Media Preseason Poll.

In both polls, UND freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, Calif.) was named the preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year.

2011-12 Grand Forks Herald
WCHA Coaches Preseason Poll

Rk Team (1st place votes) Points
1. Denver (7) 115
2. North Dakota (4) 110
3. Colorado College (1) 105
4. Nebraska Omaha 89
5. Minnesota Duluth 75
6. Minnesota 74
7. St. Cloud State 61
8. Wisconsin 54
9. Alaska Anchorage 36
10. Bemidji State 30
11. Minnesota State, Mankato 29
12. Michigan Tech 14

POY: Jaden Schwartz, So., F, Colorado College
ROY: Rocco Grimaldi, F, North Dakota

2011-12 93X Radio
WCHA Media Preseason Poll

Rk Team (1st place votes) Poll Avg.
1. Denver (16) 11.35
2. Colorado College (7) 10.54
3. North Dakota (2) 10.31
4. Nebraska Omaha (1) 8.31
5. Minnesota Duluth 8.12
6. Minnesota 7.73
7. Wisconsin 5.54
St. Cloud State 5.54
9. Alaska Anchorage 3.85
10. Bemidji State 2.92
11. Minnesota State 2.12
12. Michigan Tech 1.69

POY: Jason Zucker, So., F, Denver
ROY: Rocco Grimaldi, F, North Dakota
COY: Mel Pearson, Michigan Tech

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