GOLDEYES OPEN THE 26th SEASON WITH EXTRA-INNING WIN 05/17/19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 16th, 2019

GRAND PRAIRIE, TX – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (1-0) beat the Texas AirHogs 3-1 in 10 innings at AirHogs Stadium on Thursday night.
 
Tied at 1-1 in the top of the 10th, Wes Darvill doubled off the left field wall leading off.  Willy Garcia followed with a line drive single to right on an 0-2 count that scored Darvill with the go-ahead run.  Garcia took second on a wild pitch and advanced to third when Dominic Ficociello singled through the left side.  Reggie Abercrombie drove in Garcia on a groundball to make it 3-1.  By appearing in Thursday’s game, Abercrombie became the first player in American Association history to play in a 10th different season.
 
Christian Torres took over for Marcus Crescentini in the bottom of the 10th and recorded two outs before giving way to Victor Capellan.  Capellan struck out pinch-hitter Luan Chenchen as the tying run at the plate to earn his first save of the year.
 
The Goldeyes took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth when Adrian Marin lifted a sacrifice fly that scored Alex Perez.
 
The AirHogs (0-1) tied the game in the bottom of the seventh.  With two outs and no one on base, Stewart Ijames walked and scored the tying run on a Josh Prince triple to centre field.  Prince attempted to stretch the hit into an inside-the-park home run, but was cut down at the plate on a relay from Marin that ended the inning and kept the game tied.
 
Jack Charleston worked a perfect bottom of the eighth, while Crescentini pitched around a leadoff walk in the ninth to strand the winning run in scoring position and send the game to extra innings.
 
Crescentini (1-0) earned the win, while AirHogs’ reliever Ryan Smith (0-1) took the loss.
 
Kevin McGovern started for the Goldeyes and took a no-decision, allowing one earned run on just two hits over seven innings.  McGovern walked two, struck out two, and recorded 17 of hits 21 outs on groundballs.
 
Zhang Tao started for the AirHogs and also took a no-decision, allowing one earned run on four hits in four innings.  Tao walked five and struck out three.
 
Josh Romanski and Kevin Garcia each had two hits for Winnipeg.
 
The Goldeyes and AirHogs play game two of their season-opening, four-game series Friday night at 7:05 p.m.  Mitchell Lambson takes on right-hander Zech Lemond.  All the action can be heard locally on 93.7 FM CJNU and worldwide at www.cjnu.ca
 
The Goldeyes’ 2019 home opener is scheduled for Friday, May 24th versus the Kansas City T-Bones.  2019 season tickets, 10-game mini packs, and group tickets are on sale now.  For more information, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-BASE, or visit the Goldeyes’ official website at www.goldeyes.com
  -Goldeyes-

GOLDEYES SET OPENING NIGHT ROSTER 05/14/19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

WINNIPEG, MB –
The Winnipeg Goldeyes announced several transactions Tuesday in accordance with the American Association’s roster deadline.

Printable Winnipeg Goldeyes Roster
 
American Association clubs had until 12:00 p.m. this afternoon to trim their spring training rosters down to the regular season maximum of 23 players.
 
First baseman Correlle Prime, right-handed pitcher Kevin McAvoy, and right-handed pitcher Landon Hughes have all cleared waivers and are now free agents.
 
Left-handed pitcher Josh Norwood, who was added Monday as a non-roster invitee, has been removed from the roster as well.
 
The Goldeyes’ active roster currently stands at 23 players.  Right-handed pitcher Eric Carter will being the season on the Inactive List, and is eligible to return on June 3rd.
 
2019 Winnipeg Goldeyes Opening Night Roster
CF Reggie Abercrombie
RHP Mitchell Aker
LHP Joel Bender
RHP Brandon Bingel
RHP Victor Capellan
RHP Eric Carter (Inactive List)
RHP Jack Charleston
RHP Harrison Cooney
RHP Marcus Crescentini
3B Wes Darvill
IF/OF Dominic Ficociello
RHP Parker French
C Kevin Garcia
OF Willy Garcia
RHP Tyler Garkow
OF James Harris
UTIL Kevin Lachance
LHP Mitchell Lambson
SS Adrian Marin
LHP Kevin McGovern
2B Alex Perez
OF Josh Romanski
LHP Christian Torres
C Luis Touron
 
The Goldeyes close out their exhibition schedule tonight against the Kansas City T-Bones.  First pitch from T-Bones Stadium is at 7:05 p.m.  All the action can be heard locally on 93.7 FM CJNU and worldwide at www.cjnu.ca
 
The Winnipeg Goldeyes open the 2019 season on May 16th against the Texas AirHogs on the road.  The Goldeyes’ 2019 home opener is scheduled for Friday, May 24th versus the Kansas City T-Bones.  2019 season tickets, 10-game mini packs, and group tickets are on sale now.  For more information, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-BASE, or visit the Goldeyes’ official website at www.goldeyes.com
  -Goldeyes-

Goldeyes wrap up spring schedule with win over T-Bones 05/14/19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 14-05-2019

BIll Burfoot

KANSAS CITY, KS – The Winnipeg Goldeyes finished the exhibition portion of their schedule on Tuesday night with a 6-4 win over the Kansas City T-Bones. 

The win snapped a three-game skid for the Goldeyes after winning their first three games of spring training, and gave the club a glimpse of what their opening day roster could possibly look like come Thursday night.  
 
After a scoreless first, Dominic Ficociello led off with a double and it looked like it would go for naught, with T-Bones starting pitcher Eric Stout sitting down the next two Winnipeg hitters, but some patience at the plate would prove to be key, as Adrian Marin, Alex Perez, and Kevin Garcia would all be walked, forcing home Ficociello and giving the Goldeyes a 1-0 lead in the top of the second.
 
Willy Garcia doubled the Goldeyes lead, crushing a shot over the wall in right-center field with his first long ball of the spring, putting Winnipeg up 2-0 in the bottom of the third. 
 
The T-Bones clawed their way back in the bottom of the third when Christian Correa doubled to lead off the inning and was moved to third on a Darnell Sweeney pop up.  Next up, former big-leaguer Shawn O’Malley smashed a line drive down the right side to score Correa, cutting the lead to 2-1 after three innings. 
 
Goldeyes starting pitcher Parker French found himself in a bit of trouble in the bottom of the fourth inning when the T-Bones loaded the bases with nobody out, but was able to force Roy Morales to hit into a double-play.  A run would score, but French was able to minimize what could have been a multi-run inning.  Correa would hit into an inning-ending pop fly to end the threat and the score remained even at two.
 
The tie game was short-lived as Wes Darvill opened up the top of the fifth with a ground-rule double and eventually stole third.  Willy Garcia advanced to first after being hit by a pitch and Kevin Lachance had to pinch-run for Garcia who went to the dugout for some treatment.  Lachance stole second and with runners on second and third, Ficociello connected on a grounder down the third base line that was gloved down by Darnell Sweeney who tossed out Ficociello at first, but Darvill crossed home to once again put the Goldeyes ahead at 3-2. 
 
Before the inning was out Josh Romanski would drive home Lachance with an RBI single, putting Winnipeg up by two. 
 
The T-Bones would get one back in the bottom of the fifth when Ramsey Romano – who was granted an exemption as a non-roster player for the Kansas City just before game time because of the amount of injuries the T-Bones have been battling, ripped a shot to left field off of French that cleared the fence, and the T-Bones were once again within one run. 
 
After retiring the next two hitters, Rick Forney replaced French with newcomer Christian Torres, who was acquired on Monday from the Lincoln Saltdogs, and he looked solid, retiring all four hitters he faced on the night. 
 
In the top of the seventh Adrian Marin drove home Lachance with the eventual game-winning run, putting the Goldeyes up 5-3.  The run was the seventh time this spring that Lachance has crossed the plate, leading all Goldeyes in that category. 
 
In the top of the eighth, Louis Touron singled before Wes Darvill picked up his second multi-base hit with an RBI triple to score Touron, and the Goldeyes went up 6-4.  The T-Bones would add another run late, but it wasn’t enough as the Goldeyes finished their preseason with a 6-4 win.
 
The Goldeyes get the day off on Wednesday as they get set to open the 2019 season Thursday night in Grande Prairie against the Texas Airhogs. The four-game set can be heard locally on 93.7 FM CJNU and worldwide at www.cjnu.ca
 
The Goldeyes’ 2019 home opener is scheduled for Friday, May 24th versus the Kansas City T-Bones.  2019 season tickets, 10-game mini packs, and group tickets are on sale now.  For more information, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-BASE, or visit the Goldeyes’ official website at www.goldeyes.com

  -Goldeyes-

In April of 2016, AIC decided to change their program’s trajectory. The college hired AIC Alumnus Eric Lang, to be their program’s ninth head coach. 03/31/19

By Eric Burton

In April of 2016, AIC decided to change their program’s trajectory. The college hired AIC Alumnus Eric Lang, to be their program’s ninth head coach. Lang returned to the Yellow Jackets after spending four seasons as an assistant coach with Army Black Knights. With a new head coach and the move to the MassMutual Center, the Yellow Jackets’ hockey program was ready to fly to new heights in Atlantic Hockey and Division I college hockey.

That was only just the beginning.

During the summer of 2016 American International College announced that their hockey team would be moving into a new 6,866 seat arena, the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. Pre-MassMutual Center, the Yellow Jackets played in the 2,220 seat Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Prior to moving into their new building, the Yellow Jackets would win just 21 times in 111 games.

Also, during the fall of 2016, at the Atlantic Hockey’s annual directors meeting, the league announced that it was increasing their scholarship to 18 scholarships, the maximum allowed per the NCAA.

“This is another step forward for our league” Atlantic Hockey Commissioner Robert DeGregorio announced in a release. “Increasing the scholarship limit to 18 incrementally will allow us to maintain our vision of not leaving any of our members behind while increasing our competitiveness nationally. Our teams have made great strides in recent years and this will continue that trend.”

Do you see where this is heading? A new building, a new coach, more scholarships. Equals a bigger commitment to college hockey.

AIC Starts Ascension

On Friday, October 14, 2016, when the Yellow Jackets played their first game in their new home against the Union Dutchmen. The Yellow Jackets would lose that game 5-4. During the 2016-17 season, there would be more downs than ups, the Yellow Jackets would finish the season 8-20-8 (.333). The following season, the Yellow Jackets would improve winning seven more games and finish 15-20-4 (.435).

It would appear that AIC’s investment in college hockey has finally paid off. This season, the Yellow Jackets went 23-17-1, they went 18-9-1 in AHA play. They won league playoff championship and qualified for their first-ever NCAA tournament bid. Last Friday, the Yellow Jackets shocked the college hockey world when they upset number one overall seed St. Cloud State 2-1 in the first round of the NCAA West Regional Championship. The Yellow Jackets magical season would end in the West Reginal Finals on Saturday night with a 3-0 loss to the Denver Pioneers.

After their first-ever NCAA game, an excited head coach walked the media through their game plan. The Yellow Jackets had a set script and they executed it flawlessly.

“We had a script, this game had to go a certain way,” Lang said. “Sometimes that a tough pill to swallow, but credit to our guys who didn’t back down. I thought we had some good chances to win the first period and we did what we had to do to advance. It’s an exciting day for our program, but I am extremely delighted for these guys. I get to spend another day with them.”

Moving forward, this past weekend’s NCAA appearance will pay dividends for Lang’s Yellow Jackets. Especially, when it comes to recruiting.

‘I can tell you three years ago when I was making phone calls from a four, five and six-win team, it’s hard to get guys to call you back,” Lang said. “But it’s a little easier if you’re regular season conference champs and when you’re making recruiting phone calls from first place, or we’re squeezing as many phone calls that we could in a 24-hour period from yesterday to today.

“You know, you have to ride momentum in recruiting, and I think our program has a lot of it right now and I think we’ve got a lot to offer. And I think I mentioned to you yesterday a little bit like in terms of what we look for in a player. And it’s really important that we stay with these A mindset players. And we’re not tempted by recruiting anything but an A mindset that supersedes everything that actually supersedes our talent, you know, in terms of our evaluations if they’ve got an A mindset, we know they’re going to develop we know they’re going to be great human beings and we know they’re going to get better.”

It would appear that the future is very bright for the AIC Yellow Jackets. They showed the college hockey world that they’re going to be a team to be reckoned with in the future. Just ask the SCSU Huskies, they got an introduction last Friday Night.

Beyond UND: Q-A With Minnesota Whitecap and UND Women’s Hockey Alum Amy Menke 02/19/19

(Photo Credit: Minnesota Whitecaps) by Oliver Francies

Since the UND Women’s Hockey program was cut in 2017, its players have gone around the world. Some have moved on to other colleges, others graduated and moved on to post-hockey academic pursuits. A few, like 2016-2017 Captain, Amy Menke, have moved on to professional hockey. She is one of the Minnesota Whitecaps competing in their first season as a member of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL).

I had a chance to catch up with her recently and discussed her current pursuits, some things she learned from her time at UND, and more, read on below to see my questions and her answers.So far this season,  she has nine points in thirteen games with the Whitecaps.  She finished her career at UND with 108 points (50 G, 58 A) in 146 games.

What has been your favorite off-ice moment of your pro hockey career?

“1. My favorite off ice moment from my pro career has been palling around with my teammates on road trips. We’ve got an awesome group of women, on and off the ice, so it’s been a lot of fun getting to know everyone better and making memories along the way.”

What was your favorite off-ice moment from your time at UND?

“2. My favorite off ice moments at UND included partaking in shenanigans with teammates. We’d hide in lockers or boxes to scare each other, try the shampoo in a towel trick, tape a paper cup on someone’s helmet during pregame skate so they didn’t know it was there but everyone else did, gift a hamster as a secret Santa (that was Gracen Hirschy actually and it was hilarious).[In addition] Gracen Hirschy and I once taped all of Halli Kryznaniak’s room decorations to her ceiling. A bean bag and all.”

What is one thing the NCAA could do tomorrow to better promote women’s hockey and women’s sports in general?

“3. The NCAA could promote women’s hockey and women’s sports better by aiding in TV time. I’m not sure if they have a role in what games/sports get real, quality air time, but all women’s sports could use more exposure on that platform.”

What is the biggest misconception people have about women’s hockey and your response?

“4. The biggest misconception about women’s hockey is that it is less entertaining because we can’t check each other. It’s true we play a different style than men, but that doesn’t mean the games are not physical.”

What was your favorite class at UND?

“5. My favorite class at UND is a toss up between anything Professor Munski taught, and my independent study taught by Professor Chuck Haga. The independent study was on how media impacts/portrays women’s sports.”

What is one thing the NHL could do tomorrow to grow the game at a grassroots level?

“6. Growing the game starts by having more exposure and opportunities for kids to try the sport of hockey. I know USA hockey sponsors a “try hockey for free” night in areas across the US. More events like that, or possibly helping in some way by getting kids the equipment to play. Many parents stray away from hockey due to the cost of the gear.”

At the pro level, do you think the NWHL/CWHL would support involvement of their top players in All-Star Weekend similar to the integration the NBA and WNBA have?

“7. Yes, I think that idea is awesome. Last year, some women’s players from the USA national team got to demonstrate the skills competitions on TV for the all star weekend. Hilary Knight even technically beat Connor McDavid’s time on the accuracy shooting challenge… Even that little bit of exposure was cool to see. But more involvement would always be very beneficial to the NWHL/CWHL.”

How long do you think it will be before the two leagues (NWHL/CWHL) integrate and how beneficial to the game would that be?

“8. Combining the two leagues will be huge for women’s hockey. As for a timeline, I’m not sure. Maybe in a couple years. Both leagues still need to grow and secure funding for travel and salary expenses.”

How proud are you to see the success of UND Women’s Hockey alums around the world and how often are you able to follow them on and off the ice?

“9. I love seeing my fellow UND alums succeeding in their new roles. I was able to play in Sweden last year with 4 of my former teammates for a couple months. That was a lot of fun. I also get to play with Tanja Eisenschmid on the whitecaps this season. Many of the UND girls that had to transfer schools are having tons of success on their new teams, which is fun to watch.”

10. What are some of the biggest things you learned from each coach you worked with at UND and how have they helped you?

“Coach Idalski taught me I shoot off the wrong foot. Sorry Brian, I still do that.

Coach Fabian taught me an awesome move on how to get through a D when I’m entering the zone on my backhand. [I] wish he would have taught me that freshman year instead of junior year.

Coach Elander taught me, and a few other former UND players [including] Jocelyn Lamoureux  a move called ‘oops, I did it again’ “.

UND looks to Right Ship Against WMU 2/12/19

By Eric Burton

UND looks to Right Ship Against WMU

Good Afternoon. After a week off, the University of North Dakota is back on the road. This week, UND takes on the third place Western Michigan Bronco in an important two-game NCHC series at Lawson Arena. Friday’s game will be at 5:30 PM CT on CBSSN. 

The Fighting Hawks will be looking for get some revenge after being swept by the Broncos (0-2 L, 2-6 L) on November 16-17, 2018. After winning eight games in a row against the WMU, UND is 2-5-0 in the last seven games against the Broncos. UND is 2-2-0 in the last four games at Lawson Arena in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Make no mistake about it, the Hawks need to string together some wins if they want to qualify for the NCAA tourney. Currently, UND is 21st in the Pairwise Rankings.

In the KRACH ranking, UND is ranked 20th. Moreover, UND has played the 10th toughest schedule in college hockey. Here’s the strength of schedule of other teams in the NCHC: UMD 1, DU 2, UNO 3, WMU 8, SCSU 13, MU 16, and Colorado College 18.

                    UND — WMU

Goals 68 / 2.52 (46)— 92 / 3.54 (6)
GAA 66 / 2.44 (28) — 74 / 2.85 (31)
Power Play 15.2% (48) — 17.9% (30)
Penalty Kill 81.6% (29)— 80.3% (33)

Since the first of the year, UND has improved its play on the penalty kill. Currently, UND’s penalty kill is ranked third in the NCHC at 81.6%. Even more impressive, UND has also killed 15 of the last 16 opponent power plays. That’s a percentage of 93.8 percent. During the past two series, the only power play goal came against the SCSU Huskies (Blake Lizotte on 1/25/2019).

UND Ties DU, 1-1 – “It’s the same thing every day.” — Phil Connors, Ground Hog Day

UND Ties DU, 1-1

BY Eric Burton

“It’s the same thing every day.” — Phil Connors, Ground Hog Day

For the University of North Dakota hockey, Saturday’s game against Denver was Ground Hog Day. Different game, same result. The Fighting Hawks dominated everywhere but in the final box score.

Once again, UND outplayed, outshot another opponent only to tie, 1-1.

For the weekend, UND outshot DU 78-54 but was only able to put two pucks behind freshman goalie Filip Larsson. Statistically, that’s a shooting percentage of two percent. Unfortunately, that’s not going to win many hockey game or series.

On the flip side of the equation, DU only managed three goals on 54 shots. That’s a shooting percentage of five percent. Make no mistake about it; this past weekend was an exhibition in goaltending.

Both Goalies Shine in Series

The goaltending stats from this past weekend were nothing short of amazing. UND goalie Adam Scheel (0-1-1, GAA 1.47, and a 944 save percentage). His counterpart, DU goalie Filip Larsson (1-0-1, GAA .096 and a .974 save percentage).

When it’s all said and done, the University of North Dakota outplayed the Denver Pioneers but left Denver with a single point. The series had the making of a playoff series. Hold that thought. More than likely, the two teams are destined to play each other in the first round of the NCHC playoffs. We’ll know more in about four-five weeks.

Moving forward, some will decide to focus on the negatives, however, there are a lot of positives that you can take from this weekend. UND went head-to-head with one of the top teams in the nation and was in both games till the end. Second, over the past four games, UND’s penalty killed 15 of the last 16 opposition power plays. That’s tops in the NCHC.

You have to think that one of these 50-50 games is going to eventually end up in their favor.

The Blown Call

At the 08:35 mark of the second period, freshman forward Jasper Weatherby scores what appears to be the game-tying goal. After a lengthy review, the on-ice officials ruled that Filip Larsson was interfered with on the play. No goal.

EMBBED VIDEO Link

Reviewing the video, the on-ice officials made an incorrect call. If you go back and watch the video, UND forward Johnson was pushed into Filip Larsson by Pioneer defenseman Ian Mitchell. There’s no reason that goal should’ve have counted. You can watch the non-goal in question at the 2:20 mark of the embedded video.

This blown call bears a heavy cost for UND in the standings. It could be the final nail that costs UND home ice for the NCHC playoffs.

“I thought the guys had an outstanding effort,” head coach Brad Berry told the Grand Forks Herald after the game. “I thought the first two periods, I thought we controlled play. The third period was kind of back-and-forth. We took a few icing calls that got us back on our heels. But we had a good enough effort to win a game. It’s disappointing that a disallowed goal comes into play.”

UND Outshoots DU, Loses 2-1

By Eric Burton

With each loss, the University of North Dakota watches their season slip further away.

Though 26 games, UND sits at 13-12-1. Currently, that’s not good enough to make the NCAA tourney.

Moving forward, nine games remain before the NCHC playoffs. As of this morning, UND sitting at 21 in the Pairwise Rankings. That’s also not good enough.

In retrospect, the Hawks have played pretty well, however, they’re not scoring. You can’t win hockey games if you can’t score goals. This season, UND has taken 842 shots on net. They’ve scored 67 times. That’s a shooting percentage of 7.9 percent.

Not good enough.

Here’s illustration of how the season has gone. From Saturday’s UND game notes. On Friday, UND registered its fourth game with at least 40 shots on goal. UND’s 46 shots were third-highest of the season, but UND is a 2-2 (.500) in those four games.

“It’s it is a little frustrating, but you can’t lose your faith and you got to keep moving forward here and we’ll have chance to win the game and stay ahead of them in the standings,” UND head coach Brad Berry said during the post-game radio show.

An upbeat Berry continued, “What’s important is moving forward here and cleaning up a couple different areas.  What’s important to me, we kept their best players off the score sheet tonight.  That’s been a kind of a trademark of our team; the resiliency and the push-back. There’s no quit. The guys believe every time they go on the ice, and that’s a big deal.”

With that said, not all is lost. However, there’s little room for error, the Hawks need to bear down and find a way to score goals. They’ve got to get to the dirty areas. They’ve got to crash the net. They have to take the eyes away from Denver goalie Filip Larsson.

Through all of this, UND is in fifth place and home ice is still in reach. I know that people don’t like silver linings, but it is what it is.

The biggest thing is getting a win here tomorrow and staying ahead of them in the standings,” Berry said.

UND will get back at it and try to bring home a series split. Grind it out. Win close games.

“It hasn’t been coming easy offensively all year, but believe me we’re trying to make tweaks and changes and try to open things up without giving up high risk opportunities for the other team,” Berry said. “Like I said, it’s one of those things we got to keep grinding.”

With the absence of junior defenseman Colton Poolman, sophomore defenseman Matt Kiersted stepped up and played a solid game.

“He (Kiersted) played a lot of minutes and really made some good decisions,” Berry said.

UND Hockey: A Weekend in Review

UND Hockey: A Weekend in Review

By – Eric Burton 

Good Morning! We’re approaching the home stretch. After 23 games, the University of North Dakota hockey team is 12-10-1, 6-6-0 (NCHC). Currently, UND is sitting at 22 in the Pairwise Rankings. If the NCAA playoffs started today, UND would be sitting at home, for the second season in a row. Lucky for UND, the NCAA playoffs don’t start today.

After UND split their weekend series with Omaha (4-3 W, 3-4 L), fans are unhappy and they’re getting restless. If you don’t believe me, all you have to do is check social media and the fan messages boards. A fair number of UND fan want head coach Brad Berry fired. Personally, I find that a bit extreme.

Yes, fans have the right to be angry. It’s not just coach Berry, a number of fans are also unhappy with assistant coach Matt Shaw. They want him gone, too. Why? See UND’s power play numbers below.

Is there a Reason for Positivity?

From here on out, it only gets tougher. UND’s next four opponents are above UND in the NCHC standings and the Pairwise Rankings. So, not all is lost. There’s still a glimmer of hope, but that is fading fast. UND is sitting two points out of third place. They’ve got a chance to right the ship in the next five weeks.

If we learned anything the last five in a half years, nothing in this league comes easy. With that in mind, UND is in a precarious situation. From here on out, UND is already in playoff mode. They have a daunting task.

Here are the four teams UND will play the next five weeks. Included is their current Pairwise Rankings and record against UND: St. Cloud 1, (0-0-0) Denver 3, (1-1-0), Western Michigan 14, (0-2-0) and Minnesota-Duluth 4, (1-1-0). UND has a 2-4 record against those four teams. UND plays SCSU and UMD at home. They’re on the road against WMU and Denver.

Blue Bloods Out of the NCAA Playoffs

Yes, there are about two months left in the season. However, if the NCAA playoffs started today, Boston College 39, Boston University 25, Michigan 26, Michigan State 27, Minnesota 21, North Dakota 22, Penn State 18, Wisconsin 30, would all miss the NCAA tourney. That would be one heck of an NCAA tourney. Maybe the NCAA should consider having an NIT tourney like college basketball does.

But I digress.

How did we get here? On January 4-5, 2019, UND was unceremoniously swept (1-3, 1-2) by Canisius College. Currently, Canisius sits at 52 in the Pairwise Rankings. That sweep could end up being the dagger that kills the 2018-19 Fighting Hawks.

What’s Ailing the Hawks?

There is a myriad of things ailing the UND hockey team. They’ve given up two-goal leads in four consecutive games. Luckily, they went 3-1-0 in those four games.

UND is 7-4-0 against nationally ranked opponents. However, UND is 5-6-1 against unranked opponents. Including losses against BSU and Canisius.

UND is 42nd in the nation in goal scoring with 2.61 goals per game.

Defensively, UND 21st in the nation, giving up 2.57 goals against per game.

On the power play, UND scares no one. They’re ranked 38th 16/95 – 16.7 %,

UND’s penalty kill is struggling mightily. They’re ranked 36th 69/87 – 79.3 %.

UND is taking a lot of untimely, undisciplined penalties. They’re ranked 10th in the nation with 13.3 penalty minutes per game. Former head coach Dean Blais used to say, don’t take a penalty if you can’t kill it.

If your team is taking a high number of penalties and only killing 79 percent of them, that could be problematic. This past weekend, UND went 6-8 (75%) on the PK. Incidentally, UND was 2-8 on the power play this past weekend.

UND is 7th in the NCHC for goals for per game.

UND is ranked 5th in the NCHC for goals against per game.

UND has given up the fewest amount of shots in the NCHC.

Since December 1, 2018, UND is 4/33 on the PP, that dead last in the NCHC.

In the last five games, UND has gone 4/17 (23.5%) on the power play. That’s second in the NCHC. 

Finding a Silver Lining

I understand that the only thing that matters is the final score. That said, I don’t think that this team is that far away from taking the next step. Yeah, I know. UND better make a move fast before the season is lost. There’s no time like the present.

Over the last three games, some players that haven’t normally contributed on the score sheet have started chipping in points. This could be an enigma or a developing situation. We’ll soon find out.

Improvement Noted

After being held pointless in nine games, freshman forward Jackson Keane has points in two straight games (1g-3a—4pts). He scored the game-winning goal in Friday’s series opener against Omaha.

After being held pointless in seven games, junior forward Ludvig Hoff has points in three of the last four games (1g-2a—3pts). He also scored and assisted on the game-winning goals in last weekend series against the CC Tigers.

Sophomore forward Jordan Kawaguchi is heating up. He’s scored (3g-3a—6pts) in the last five games.

After being held pointless in 14 games this season, Dixon Bowen has points in two of the last three games, including a multiple point game on Friday night (1g-2a—3pts). Last weekend, Bowen a shorthanded goal, UND’s first of the season.

After being held pointless in nine games, freshman forward Jasper Weatherby has points in two straight games (1g-1a—2pts). Entering the season, Weatherby was expected to be a top-six forward. So far this season, he’s been a mainstay on the fourth line. It would be huge if he could start contributing regularly on the score sheet.

This past weekend, the fourth line of Jackson Keane (1g-3a—4pts), Jasper Weatherby (1g-1a—2pts), Dixon Bowen (0g-2a—2pts) combined for eight points. For the weekend, the fourth line outscored the top line of Ludvig Hoff (0g-1a—1pt), Nick Jones (1g-0a—1pts), Jordan Kawaguchi (1g-0a—1pt) eight points to their three.