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John Stennes / Forum News Service North Dakota's Mark MacMillan (16) lunges in front of Wisconson's Jefferson Dahl (14) as they battle for a loose puck in last February in Grand Forks. MacMillan is ready to go after spending most of the first half of this season injured.

Break good for UND’s health

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GRAND FORKS — The UND men’s hockey team will head to Vancouver today with a much healthier team.

UND will still hold forward Brendan O’Donnell out of the lineup for this weekend’s exhibition games against the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser, but as a whole, the team is in much better shape than it was in mid-December.

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“The break was really good for a lot of guys,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “It was good for our team.”

Hakstol said that the coaching staff will also likely hold defenseman Gage Ausmus out for precautionary reasons. Ausmus sustained an apparent knee injury late in UND’s last game against Northern Michigan on Dec. 14.

On the bright side, Hakstol said that forwards Mark MacMillan and Colten St. Clair — both of whom spent most of the first half injured — are a full go for the second half of the season.

UND is scheduled to fly from Winnipeg to Vancouver today and attend the Tampa Bay Lightning-Vancouver Canucks game in the evening. UND assistant coach Dane Jackson played for the Canucks in the 1990s.

UND will hold a practice that’s open to the public on Thursday afternoon and will play the 9 p.m. game both Friday and Saturday night.

U.S. Olympic men’s team chosen

ANN ARBOR, Michigan (Reuters) — Ryan Miller, the most valuable player at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, and Stanley Cup MVP Patrick Kane will head to Sochi looking for gold after being named to the U.S. Olympic men's ice hockey team on Wednesday.

Certainly the U.S. will enjoy a huge bump in experience in Sochi with Buffalo Sabres netminder Miller, Chicago Blackhawks sniper Kane and Minnesota Wild defenceman Ryan Suter, a Norris trophy finalist last season, anchoring the squad.

Goaltending will be a strength for the U.S. with the Los Angeles Kings' Jonathan Quick, the 2012 Conn Smythe trophy winner, battling Miller for the starting assignment.

The Americans will be grouped with Russia, Slovakia and Slovenia in the preliminary round of the Games in Sochi. Their first game will be Feb. 13 against Slovakia.

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