NORTH DAKOTA RUNS OVER CANISIUS, 8-1

By Eric Burton

We have a quote on the board before the game, it was sharks only have one thought they smell blood and attack,” junior forward Jordan Kawaguchi said. “So, we smell blood we attack that was just kind of our mentality from the get-go and they got the first one and then once we got that first one we kind of just jumped on so it’s good.

The Fighting Hawks took that message to heart.

After giving up a goal at the 04:05 mark of the first period, the Hawks went into the first intermission and regrouped.  They came out and took the game away from Canisius.

What did the Hawks do? 

“I think guys upping the ante on their play,” head coach Brad Berry said. “We went into the locker room after the first period and that wasn’t good enough. We talked about it and guys needed to take a step. I think some of our older guys did take a step in that second period there.

“So, it was a learning experience for us as far as knowing that you have to make sure you bring it every shift and every period. (I am) just proud of the way our guys did respond, you know after the first.”

And respond they did. The Hawks got two goals from Mark Senden and Colin Adams in the second period to take a 2-1 lead. 

The Hawks blew the game wide open in the third period scoring five goals. On the weekend, the Hawks outscored the Golden Griffins 13-1. What was even more impressive was the Hawks held the Golden Griffins to 23 shots all weekend long. 

“I think that goes back to not only D but our forwards, too,” Berry said. “When you talk about tracking back through the neutral zone, it’s very easy to go into the offensive zone and if your play gets snuffed and goes the other way — not tracking back. It comes back to a workmanlike mentality with our forwards helping our d-men out to protect the ice in front of Adam Sheel. So, it’s a five man mentality.”

One of the other things that stuck out this weekend was that the Hawks got balanced scoring from all four lines. Everyone chipped in. There weren’t any passengers. After two games, 19 Fighting Hawks players have registered a point. 

“I think when you look at all the different lines, there’s skill on all the lines,” Berry said. It’s nice to have four lines that can contribute offensively”

Next weekend, the Hawks will face a tough opponent in the Minnesota State Mavericks.

Westin Michaud, “Not a Hard Decision”

By Eric Burton

Last March, after the Frozen Faceoff Third-Place Game, Colorado College Tigers forward Westin Michaud was asked if he was going to return for his senior season. Michaud missed his freshman season due to injury and had a one more year of eligibility.

“I have no clue, honestly,” Michaud said. “After the season here we’ll have to talk and see what the options are. We’ve talked about coming back, maybe for a grad year.”

Then in April, Michaud announced that he was transferring to the University of North Dakota as a graduate transfer.  

“Westin is a competitor and we’re happy to add that to our offensive group,” UND head coach Brad Berry said. “We were an attractive option for him to continue his career and our fans will like how he plays the game.”

Meet Westin Michaud

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to talk to Michaud during the annual UND Hockey Media Day. I was impressed with Michaud’s attitude. He’s ready to start the season and get after it.  

“The process was, it was my senior class, and there are 10 guys that left, and I thought, they’re (C.C) kind of rebuilding a little bit,” Michaud said. “Unfortunately, the four years I was there with my senior class, and the players that I played with, we didn’t win (a lot of) games, we went from six to eight to 15, then 17, which were all losing seasons. I think they’re going in the right direction there, they’ve got a great program there at Colorado College, and,  I’m a proud alumnus. But for me, individually, I needed to change.”

I don’t think it’s going to take very long for Michaud to become a fan favorite. The Cloquet, Minnesota native oozes positivity. That should rub off on the other younger players in the room. 

Last season, I had the opportunity to watch Michaud play five times. He’s is a high energy player that will give 100 percent every shift that he’s on the ice. 

Michaud should make a sizable contribution to the Fighting Hawks offense. In 114 games with the Tigers, Michaud has scored (29g-33a–62pts), he’s also was a plus-seven.

“I’m a hard-driven working guy, blue-collar attitude, who loves to win,“ Michaud said. “If it’s a board game, I want to win. I don’t care who I’m playing against. I’m gonna do my best to win. Another thing that I really loved here was the culture.”

In the end, transferring to North Dakota really wasn’t a hard decision at all for Michaud. 

“I think they (UND) bring it every single day, the coaching staff brings it every single day, Michaud said. “They’re a great group of guys, and at the end of the day, I thought this was the right spot. I walked in here, and I was like, wow, this is unbelievable. 

“I used to watch UND when I was a kid. I still have a Sioux jersey in my closet. Coming here (to North Dakota), when I was younger, I think it was a key piece of me. I used to come here with my father for Bantam, Double AA games. We would come here and that was kind of our thing. At the end of the day, how can I pass it up with my father, and the memories here? We’re close where they can drive. We’re four hours away. I am pretty excited to be here.”

Michaud’s new teammates have been impressed with the effort he’s put out so far in practice. Apparently, he practices the way he plays. One gear, full speed ahead.   

“He’s a fun guy,” senior captain Colton Poolman said. “On the ice, he’s your worst enemy. But as soon as he gets off, it’s all fun and games. I think it’s awesome to have a guy like that, who competes so hard in practice it that makes you become a better player, I think and he gets better from that as well. That’s something I think it’s really going to just shakes things up a little bit and keeps you on your toes. So,  I’m really excited to see how he’s gonna perform this year.”

The Best NCHC Teams? DU, UMD, UND, and SCSU

By Eric Burton

On Monday, @Biddco and @NickTrem_17 were having an interesting exchange on Twitter about how great Minnesota Duluth and Denver have been over the last 20 years. After reading the Twitter exchange from the Mutual Admiration Society; I had some spare time, so, I decided to take a look at the numbers.  In the process of crunching the numbers, I also looked into how UND and SCSU fit into the whole equation.

Here’s what I found. You can see that all four teams have been pretty good. Denver, Minnesota Duluth and North Dakota have won eight of the last 20 NCAA titles.

Denver

In the last 20 years, DU has a record of 484-256-84 (638). During those 20 seasons, Denver has won three NCAA titles (2004, 2005, and 2017). Moreover, they’ve been the WCHA playoff champion in (2002, 2005, and 2008). Denver has won the WCHA regular-season champion in (2002, 2005, and 2010).

In six seasons, DU has an NCHC conference record of 81-45-18 (.625). During those six seasons, DU has won two Frozen Faceoffs (2014, 2018) and a Penrose Cup (2017). Denver is the only NCHC team to make the Frozen Faceoff every year it’s been in the league.

Minnesota Duluth

In the last 20 years, UMD has a record of 384-333-87 (.531). During those 20 seasons, UMD has won three NCAA titles (2011, 2018, and 2019). UMD won a WCHA playoff champion (2009). In six seasons, UMD has an NCHC conference record of 76-55-13 (.570).

During those six seasons, UMD has won a pair of Frozen Faceoffs (2017, 2019). Note, during their fantastic run 2010-2019. UMD has never won a regular-season conference title (WCHA or NCHC). For those that were wondering, UMD last won a regular-season championship in 1993.

North Dakota

In the last 20 years, UND has a 512-249-86 (.655). During that time, they’ve won two NCAA titles (2000, 2016). WCHA has also won five playoff championships (2000, 2006, 2010, 2011, and 2012). In addition, UND has won four WCHA regular-season champion (2001, 2004, 2009, and 2011).

In their six seasons in the NCHC, UND has a conference record of 81-52-11 (.600). The Fighting Hawks have won two regular-season championships (2015, 2016). During their six seasons in the NCHC, UND has made the Frozen Faceoff five of the six seasons, they have yet to win a Frozen Faceoff. The semi-final game of the Frozen Faceoff has been UND’s Kryptonite. On Friday’s, UND owns a 1-4 record.  In 10 Frozen Faceoff games, UND has a 3-6-1 (.350) record.

St. Cloud State

For comparison sake, I decided to include St. Cloud. Over the past 20 years, SCSU has had a lot of success during the regular season. From 1999-2019, the Huskies have a 438-287-70 (.594) record. SCSU has won a WCHA regular-season championship in 2013, and they also won a WCHA playoff championship in 2001.

During their six years in the NCHC, the Huskies have an 88-43-13 (.652) record. They’ve won three regular-season championships (2014, 2018, and 2019). They’ve also won a Frozen Faceoff in 2016. SCSU’s Kryptonite is their record during the NCAA tourney. Since becoming a member of the NCHC, SCSU has a 2-5 record in the NCAA tourney and are 0-3 in their last three appearances.

What Does This Mean?

Looking at the numbers above, you can see that all four teams have been very successful. While St. Cloud has the best regular-season record in six NCHC seasons, Denver, 2017, Minnesota Duluth, 2018, and 2019, and North Dakota, 2016, have won the last four NCAA titles.  With that said, UND has the best overall record for the last 20 years. Denver, Minnesota Duluth, and St. Cloud have been better in the last three seasons.

UND Hockey: Berry Announces Leadership Group

By Eric Burton

On Thursday, the University of North Dakota announced their team captain and assistant captains for the 2019-20 hockey season.

According to a release from the UND.

University of North Dakota Head Hockey Coach Brad Berry announced on Thursday morning the assistant captains for the 2019-20 season. Senior defenseman Colton Poolman will captain the club for the second straight season and will be joined in the leadership group by assistant captains senior forward Cole Smith, junior defenseman Matt Kiersted and junior forward Jordan Kawaguchi. The captains are voted upon by the team.

Meet the Leaders

For the second year in a row, Poolman has been named the captain of the UND hockey team. He joins fellow East Grand Forks native Gage Ausmus who captained the Fighting Hawks from 2015-2017. Last season, Poolman finished fourth in points scoring (5g-12a–17pts), he was also a plus-seven. Poolman played in all situations and also had a game-winning goal and a power play goal.

UND Caption Colton Poolman (Photo Credit: Eric J. Burton, Sin Bin Photography)

Senior forward Cole Smith dons the “A” for the first time this season. Last season, Smith finished sixth in points scoring (5g-11a–16pts). During the 2018-19 season, Smith played on a line with two freshmen forwards Gavin Hain and Mark Senden. That line was a team-leading plus-45. Smith is a high energy player that has an impressive work ethic. Smith has won the annual ironman competition two of the last three seasons (2016, 2018).

UND forward Cole Smith (Photo Credit: Eric J. Burton, Sin Bin Photography)

Junior forward Jordan Kawaguchi is a first-time assistant captain. Last season, Kawaguchi led the team in points with (10g-16a–26pts). Kawaguchi’s had two game-winning goals and two power-play goals. In 75 career games with the Fighting Hawks, Kawaguchi has scored (15g-30a–45pts).

Junior forward Jordan Kawaguchi (Photo Credit: Eric J Burton, Sin Bin Photography)

Finally, last season, junior defenseman Matt Kiersted also a first-time assistant captain elevated his game and took a step forward finishing with a career-best third in points with (7g-11a–18pts)  he was also a plus-two. The Elk River, MN native had a game winning-goal and three power-play goals. Kiersted finished the 2018-19 season as the top point-getter for UND defensemen.

Junior defenseman Matt Kirested (photo credit: Eric J. Burton, Sin Bin Photography)

UND Hockey: Where Did They End up

By Eric Burton

After the last round of the 2019 NHL Draft, I had a conversation with my buddy Redwing77. We discussed the various hockey analyst’s predraft rankings and how the draft played out.

First, the analyst’s rankings were all over the place. That’s understandable, because there really isn’t an exact science for predicting the draft. Surprise picks throws off everyone else’s draft boards. Looking at the different analyst’s rankings, there really was no rhythm or reason to them.

Where Did They End UP?

Here’s how UND’s recruits fared during the 2019 NHL Draft. Some of them were drafted and others weren’t. I used the links from the Schlossman’s article at the Herald. I added a few of my favorite sites/blogs. I also added DU incoming freshman Bobby Brink for obvious reasons.

Here’s a list of incoming UND hockey players, their NHL Draft rankings and what team selected them. Obviously, a few of them were ranked but weren’t drafted.

Shane Pinto, 2000, UND – 28, 49, 45, 38, 106, 105, 56, 40, 73 : average ranking 54.375 – 32 Senators

Aaron Huglen, 2001, Roseau/Minnesota – 90, 92, 91, 75, 87: average ranking 87 – 102 Buffalo

Cooper Moore, 2001, UND – 88 – 128 Detroit

Harrison Blaisdell, 2001, UND – 80, 60, 105, 141, 165, 56, 87: average ranking 99.14  – 134 Winnipeg

Judd Caulfield, 2001, UND – 67, 82, 85, 87, 74, 183: average ranking 96.33  – 145 Pittsburgh

Massimo Rizzo, 2001, UND – 84, 139, 214, 94: average ranking 133.5  – 216 Carolina

Luke Bast, 2000, UND – 137, 217, 157: average ranking  170.33– Undrafted

Brendan Budy, 2000, UND – 155 – Undrafted

Bobby Brink, 2001, DU – 19, 32, 26, 37, 19, 20, 23: average ranking  25.142 – 34 Flyers

Who Ranked Them

NHL Central Scouting North American Skaters (view here)

NHL Central Scouting North American goaltenders (view here)

ESPN’s Chris Peters – Top 100 (view here)

Elite Prospects (view here)

TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s Top 93 (view here)

Future Considerations (view here)

McKeen’s (view here)

The Hockey Writers Final Rankins – Top 31

The Hockey Writers Top – 250

Craig Button’s Final Draft Rankings – Top 93

Pronman’s 2019 NHL Draft Board: Top 107 prospects

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’ “.