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UND gearing up for Saints

Each week, the UND coaching staff gets its players familiar with key guys on the opponent’s squad.

“Know their numbers,” forward Michael Parks said. “Know when they are on the ice.”

That shouldn’t be hard this weekend.

St. Lawrence is coming to Ralph Engelstad Arena for a two-game series (7:37 p.m. Friday, 7:07 p.m. Saturday) and the Saints are bringing the most prolific offensive player in the country.

Senior Greg Carey leads the nation with 24 points in 14 games this season. He’s currently on a nine-game point streak (third longest in the country) and he has goals in seven of the last eight games.

This does not come as a surprise.

Carey has led St. Lawrence in scoring in all four years of his college career, averaging at least a point per game each season.

His 152 career points are more than anyone in the country — by a wide margin. The next closest is Notre Dame senior T.J. Tynan, who trails Carey by 19 points.

Last season, Carey was the only player in the country to score more goals than UND’s Danny Kristo, and Carey was named a Hobey Baker Award finalist for his accomplishments.

He’s on track to be on that list again this season.

Carey’s 24 points are more than UND’s top two scorers — Parks and Rocco Grimaldi — combined.

“He’s a good player, he’s a pure goal scorer,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “But they’ve got a good team, a real hard-working team, a very competitive team. That’s what I see within all the things they do. They are on their toes and they push the envelope.”

Carey’s linemate last season, Kyle Flanagan, turned pro in the offseason, signing a free-agent deal with the Philadelphia Flyers. But Carey’s production hasn’t dropped off. He’s now playing with his younger brother, Matt, who is St. Lawrence’s second-leading scorer with 17 points in 14 games.

The Carey brothers have 31 points in the last nine games.

“We’re expecting a couple of really skilled players,” Parks said.

The Careys haven’t been easy for anyone to slow down this season, and UND hasn’t had a lot of success slowing down opponents, either.

UND enters the weekend ranked 45th in scoring defense and last among National Collegiate Hockey Conference teams.

So what will it take to slow down Carey this weekend?

“You have to do it collectively,” said Hakstol, who will have the option to match lines if he wants. “You have to try to take away time and space and limit the opportunities he has in the offensive zone.”

“It’s not going to be by one player or one person. It’s going to be a collective effort.

“We’re not going to get caught up, either, in what someone else is doing. The most important thing is still what we’re doing. I really like what we’ve done over the last seven or eight days. We’re going to continue with that.”

Players still out

Not a lot is expected to change with UND’s lineup.

UND forwards Mark MacMillan (lower body), Colten St. Clair (leg) and Derek Rodwell (upper body) are all expected to miss this weekend’s series against the Saints. St. Clair and Rodwell are skating but are limited. MacMillan is not practicing.

Forward Brendan O’Donnell, who returned to the lineup last Saturday, continues to practice and is expected to play Friday night.

Hakstol said that defenseman Andrew Panzarella will continue to play forward this weekend. The coaches are still deciding whether to play Gage Ausmus at forward or defense this weekend.

If Ausmus is up front, Mitch MacMillan will likely be out of the lineup. If he’s on defense, Keaton Thompson will be pushed out.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 12th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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