Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of North Dakota men's hockey team landed in New Mexico on Wednesday night, March 13. Yes, you read that correctly. UND left Grand Forks on Wednesday afternoon before the blizzard arrived but the team was unable to land at Denver International Airport because of a massive snowstorm in Colorado. The wide-ranging storm made it unsafe to land at other Colorado airports, so the team's flight was diverted to Albuquerque. It landed at 7 p.m. Central.
GRAND FORKS -- The week off comes at a good time for the University of North Dakota. With captain Colton Poolman sidelined with an undisclosed injury -- one that he battled in the week prior to UND’s home series against St. Cloud State and became too problematic to play last weekend in Denver -- it just might be enough time to get him back for the next game. The Fighting Hawks don’t play again until Feb. 15 at Western Michigan in Kalamazoo, Mich. UND coach Brad Berry said that Poolman has a chance to be ready by then.
GRAND FORKS -- Dixon Bowen had a strong fall camp for the University of North Dakota. He scored a few highlight-reel goals and appeared like he could have a breakout junior season. But the East Grand Forks Senior High graduate’s first half of the season didn’t work out that way. He had no goals, one assist and missed the final three games due to an injury he sustained at Minnesota Duluth. The second half has been a completely different story, though. Bowen has emerged in an important way for UND’s offense. He has tallied five points in the last five games.
GRAND FORKS -- Grant Mismash’s season might be over. It might have ended when his left knee collided with St. Cloud State captain Jimmy Schuldt’s knee in the third period of Friday night’s game in Ralph Engelstad Arena. But that doesn’t mean the University of North Dakota's season has ended, too. With Mismash out of the lineup, UND responded with arguably its most resounding performance of the year, blowing by No. 1 St. Cloud State 5-1 in front of 11,956 in Ralph Engelstad Arena on Saturday, Jan. 26, to grab a series split.
GRAND FORKS -- The most important faceoffs of the University of North Dakota’s 2016 NCAA national championship season were taken by a freshman. Holding a one-goal lead over rival Denver in the NCAA Frozen Four semifinals, coach Brad Berry called on rookie Rhett Gardner to take back-to-back defensive-zone draws in the final 40 seconds. Gardner won the second one and followed it up by scoring the empty-netter to secure the trip to the national title game. Gardner was good at faceoffs at that point, but he was just getting started.
GRAND FORKS -- The University of North Dakota hockey team is about to hit the most daunting stretch of schedule it will face this season. It will take on teams ranked No. 1, No. 3, No. 4 and No. 14 in the Pairwise Rankings in its next eight games. That stretch starts this weekend against top-ranked St. Cloud State, which is 17-3-2 this season. Then, it will feature a two-game series at No. 3 Denver, where UND hasn’t swept a two-game series in 15 seasons.
OMAHA, Neb. -- For the fourth-straight game, the University of North Dakota men’s hockey team gave up a two-goal lead. This time, it was costly. Omaha scored two goals in the span of 85 seconds late in the third period to rally for a 4-3 win over UND on Saturday, Jan. 19, in Baxter Arena. It ended a three-game winning streak for the Fighting Hawks, where in all three games they blew two-goal leads, but found a way to win on a late goal anyway. That didn’t happen this time.
OMAHA, Neb. -- There was an omen Thursday. At the end of North Dakota’s practice in Baxter Arena, the team held its weekly shootout drill. It took longer than normal, but freshman Jackson Keane finally ended it with a pretty goal and his teammates covered him in snow to celebrate. On Friday night, Jan. 18, Keane came through in the end again with a pretty goal -- only this one was a bit more important and he received a much warmer celebration from his teammates.
GRAND FORKS -- Adam Scheel was vomiting all night and this morning. When he arrived at Ralph Engelstad Arena at 9 a.m. for morning skate, the coaching staff sent him home to get rest and fluids. “It was concerning,” said University of North Dakota coach Brad Berry, who is already without injured goalie Peter Thome. “We sent him home right away. He got some fluids. I don’t think he ate a whole lot, but he got some fluids in him. He came back to the rink with a smile on his face, ready to go. I’m proud of him for digging in and finding a way to get it done.”
GRAND FORKS -- The University of North Dakota looked to be on the verge of another perplexing defeat. Despite outshooting and outchancing Colorado College for much of the game, the Tigers scored back-to-back goals at the start of the third to take a one-goal lead. But, finally, UND wrote a new ending to the story.