WHAT'S ON TAP: North Dakota opens WCHA action at the Ralph Englestad Arena this weekend hosting rival Minnesota State in a Saturday/Sunday series. Both games are scheduled for a 2:07 p.m. opening faceoff.
MEDIA INFORMATION: Most Fighting Sioux regular season home hockey games can be heard on 1440 AM ("The Fan") and on stations across the Fighting Sioux Radio Network (excluding Oct. 18 against Minnesota State, Nov. 21 against Manitoba Maple Leafs and Dec. 13 against Minnesota) with broadcaster Darrin Looker calling the action. A webcast and live stats will be available at FightingSioux.com
SCOUTING REPORT FOR THE MAVERICKS: This weekend will mark the conference opener for the Mavericks, who were picked seventh in the WCHA Coaches Preseason Poll ... MSU made its 2009-10 debut in Maine where it swept the Black Bears by scores of 5-2 and 2-1 ... The Mavericks had five scorers with multi-point weekends in Holly Snyder (1-3-4), Emmi Leinonen (2-1-3), Lauren Smith (2-1-3), Ashley Young (1-2-3) and Lisa Edman (2-0-2) ... Ali Altman picked up both wins in net with a .940 save percentage ... Minnesota State finished tied for fifth in the conference last season with a 7-16-5-2 conference record (12-19-5 overall) ... The Mavericks allowed the second most goals in the league last year (122).
MINNESOTA STATE COACHING STAFF: MSU is under a new coaching regime as former Mavericks men's hockey assistant coach Eric Means is in his first season at the helm of the women's squad. He is assisted by Jon Austin and Shari Vogt.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES: UND is 5-17-4 all-time against the Mavericks and winless in its last seven, but four of the last five have gone to overtime (three ties).
Last year the Sioux suffered two shutout losses, one overtime loss and a regulation loss to MSU which proved costly as the two teams tied for fifth place in the conference standings. The Sioux had a better winning percentage, but the head-to-head tie breaker was given to the Mavericks.
Junior captain Kelly Lewis is the returning-leading scorer against Minnesota State with four goals and one assist in eight games played. Sophomore Alyssa Wiebe is second with three goals and one assist in four games.
LAST ACTION: The Sioux faced off against the U.S. Women's National Team and teammates Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux last Saturday in the second game of the Qwest Tour in Warroad, Minn. The U.S. National Team skated to an 11-1 win with Alyssa Wiebe scoring the lone goal for the Sioux and the Lamoureux twins combining for three goals.
UND spoiled defending national champion Wisconsin's party by defeating the Badgers 2-0 in the WCHA opener. The Sioux came away with what is probably their biggest win in program history Oct. 2, as they went into the Kohl Center and stunned top-ranked Wisconsin 2-0 on the night the Badgers hung their 2009 national championship banner.
Freshman Ashley Furia (Sedalia, Colo.) scored her first collegiate goal in the first period and senior Alex Williams (Eagan, Minn.) added a second period score while redshirt freshman Jorid Dagfinrud (Sarpsborg, Norway) made 29 saves in earning the shutout in her first collegiate start.
The following night, Wisconsin used two goals by preseason pick for WCHA Rookie of the Year, Brianna Decker, and the shutout goaltending of Freshman Becca Ruegsegger to gain a split of the series with a 3-0 victory. Dagfinrud made 33 saves in the game.
POLL POSITION: After one week the Sioux are now a bubble team receiving two points in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll and eight points in the USCHO.com/CSTV National Poll.
CONFERENCE VS. COUNTRY: Junior Kelly Lewis and sophomore Alyssa Wiebe were absent from Friday's game as they were chosen to WCHA All-Star Team that faced the U.S. Women's National Team including UND's Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. The U.S. National Team defeated the WCHA All-Stars 6-1 with M. Lamoureux scoring a goal and an assist in the game. The Sioux will get their own attempt when it faces off against the U.S. Olympic team Oct. 10 in Warroad, Minn.
EAT, DRINK AND BE SCARY: UND got off to a "scary" good start last season heading into Halloween when they went 5-2-1 in the month of October. The Sioux split on a roadtrip to open the year against Maine, before sweeping St. Cloud State and Union at home (tied and lost to Minnesota State). The Sioux had their best month in October.
EXPERIENCE IS THE BEST TEACHER: Goaltender Brittany Kirkham is one game shy of tying the record of games played by a Sioux goaltender.
MY GOAL IS TO DENY YOURS: Kirkham tied Margaret-Ann Hinkley's (2003-04) school record of six career shutouts against Union Oct. 24, 2009. Her next shutout will give her sole possession of the record. Kirkham had four shutouts in her sophomore season which tied the season record of Hinkley's.
YOUNG BLOOD: There are a lot of new faces on the 2009-10 Sioux bench, a year after rewriting the record books and finishing tied for fifth place in the WCHA standings, its highest finish ever. UND will have 10 freshman and one redshirt freshmen looking to add depth to the Sioux lineup. This group replaces the loss of four graduating Sioux (Melissa Jaques, Randi Motsko, Casie Hanson and Kelsey Fletcher).
BRANCHING OUT: Head coach Brian Idalski has been adamant about stating that he and his staff will recruit kids locally but also from where ever the top players are at. This year's team is starting to show evidence to that with a roster made up of players from four different countries (United States, 15; Canada, 8; Germany, 1; and Norway, 1), five different states (Alaska, 2; Colorado, 2; Michigan, 1; Minnesota, 7; and North Dakota, 4) and six different provinces (Alberta, 2; British Columbia, 1; Manitoba, 1; New Brunswick, 1; Ontario, 1; Quebec, 1; and Saskatchewan, 2).
AND IT'S TIME FOR THE WEATHER: Probably as accurate as your local weatherman, the pre-season poll is usually a good indicator but there is always a surprise or two. In the 2009-10 WCHA Head Coaches' Pre-Season Poll the Sioux ranked sixth.
3. Minnesota Duluth
4. St. Cloud State
5. Ohio State
6. North Dakota
7. Minnesota State
8. Bemidji State
The 2009-10 Pre-Season WCHA Player of the Year was Brooke Ammerman (Wisconsin) while the Rookie of the Year was Brianna Decker (Wisconsin) as voted by conference coaches.
A NEW LOOK, BUT THE SAME TEAM: The Sioux will be sporting new jerseys this season for the first time in program history.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN: Senior D Kelly Lewis (Forest Lake, Minn.) will serve as captain of the 2009-10 Fighting Sioux. Seniors D Cassandra Flanagan (Great Falls, Manitoba) and G Brittany Kirkham (Ottawa, Ontario) along with junior F Stephanie Roy (Grande-Digue, New Brunswick) were named assistant captains.
NEW LEADERSHIP: Head coach Brian Idalski announced during the offseason the addition of Courtney Drennen as an interim assistant coach for the 2009-10 season after the departure of Grant Kimball. Drennen comes to UND after spending the last four seasons as a goaltender in the Mercyhurst College program where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in May 2009.
A native of Fort Collins, Colo., Drennen helped lead the Lakers to an NCAA runner-up finish last season and finished her career at MC with a .927 save percentage and a 1.42 goals-allowed average. She also had eight career shutouts.
RAISING THE BAR: The expectations for the Sioux continue to rise under head coach Brian Idalski and his staff as every year his teams have improved in the standings. Taking over a team that went winless in the WCHA (8th place) prior to his first year when the Sioux won four games (7th place) and last year nine games (t-5th place).
SEARCHING FOR GOLD: UND's newest additions to the team and Grand Forks natives Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux will be redshirting this season as the sophomores are part of the initial 23-player roster for the 2009-10 U.S. Women's National Team.
The twins will be centralized in the Twin cities and will take part in the Qwest Tour, a 10-game, nine-city domestic tour that begins on Sept. 25 in St. Paul, Minn., and concludes just prior to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. The twins and the team will face the Sioux in exhibition action in Warroad, Minn., on Saturday, Oct. 10.
Jocelyne and Monique are aiming to be the first-ever women's Olympians while active student-athletes at UND. Senior Susanne Fellner played in the 2006 Olympics for the German National Team before becoming a Sioux.
Make sure to follow the twins on FighingSioux.com during the season as they will be blogging during their Olympic adventures!