Hockey Writers - Combine...
This week, the University of North Dakota travels to Saint Cloud to play a two game series with their conference rival the SCSU Huskies.
It’s not an understatement to say that the Huskies are one of UND’s “fiercest rivals” and there have been some epic and heated battles along the way.
This weekend’s series, is also one of those series that fans mark on their calendar because of the huge number of UND fans that liven in and around the metro area. The National Hockey Center very accessible because it’s is a close 60 mile drive from the Twin Cities.
Over the last 10 years, UND has not won a game at the National Hockey Center in Saint Cloud Minnesota on Friday nights and sports a record of 0-6-4. UND is flawless on Saturday nights, during the same 10 year program game and has a 10-0-0 record.
UND’s record on Friday night the last 10 years has been a subject of discussion this past week on the social media outlets.
After playing three weekends of hockey and getting two splits and a three point weekend; this week UND looks to change their fortunes by getting a sweep.
North Dakota Senior Forward Corbin Knight was asked about the series and what they had to do to get the sweep.
“I think… we hope to see is a full 60 minutes both nights I think,” Knight said. “The last few games against Boston we played a pretty good game on Friday night and got the win and pretty good two periods on the Saturday night and a not so good third period and we didn’t end up winning that game, so… I think that going to be something that’s really going to dictate how positive our weekend is; whether or not we can play a full 60 minutes both night and hopefully to get two wins.
Corbin Knight had this to say about the streak on Friday night.
“Yeah… it’s a pretty crazy stat that has kind of been floating around social media and our locker room and stuff,” Knight said. “Like I said, it’s a tough place to play – they always play hard in their own rink. But I think it’s just one thing hopefully where if we can just improve on all of the stuff we have been working on practice this week and play a full 60 minutes hopefully our game will take care of itself and if we play well hopefully it will be a favorable outcome.
This is what Corbin Knight had to say about playing in the National Hockey Center.
“It’s pretty crazy I mean… with the big ice usually it’s kind of tough to have a good atmosphere,” Knight said. ”But when got a good student section, with a lot of loyal fans there, it’s a lot of fun playing there it can be a usual electric atmosphere in that building.
Junior defenseman Dillon Simpson as asked if the team is feeling the pressure by not being able to get the two wins and a possible sweep.
“I don’t know if pressure is the right word.” Simpson said. But we know what we have to do. We haven’t been able to close out weekends – that’s something we have been focusing on. But we got to in and worry about Friday first – hopefully we have a good game and go from there.”
Simpson was asked if he was aware of the stat and had this to say about the record on Friday night.
“We going to ignore that stat as long as we can,” Simpson said. “Like said, we got to go and worry about Friday for now. We had a good week of practice so far… you know – do our best – have a good game plan and go out and execute and see what happens.”
Senior Defenseman Andrew MacWillam on playing against Saint Cloud this weekend and the atmosphere in the National Hockey Center.
“It’s a fun place to play and we have had some heated battles there over the last few years,” MacWilliam said. “Especially since I have been here, there is a little bit of history there – they’re a good team this year and were going to have to be ready to face a competitive squad and we’re going there to get two wins. But they’re going to be feisty.”
MacWilliam was asked about not being able to get the sweeps for the weekend series.
“Yeah I mean… we have to learn how to close out a weekend,” MacWilliam said. “That’s two weekends in a row that we had the lead going into the third period on Saturday night and came out on the losing side. We have to learn as a group to put the finishing touches on a win.”
MacWilliam had this to say about dealing with the Huskies speedy forwards.
“It’s going to be tough draw for us as a defensive unit especially on the big ice there,” MacWilliam said. “We’re going to have to key in a few guys and make it miserable for them and be physical hopefully though out the two games wear them down.”
“Well we’re back in conference play and we talked about it before,” Hakstol said. “Even though it’s early in the season every point is at such a premium and we do have a good rivalry with Saint Cloud State – they’re off to a good start – they’re a team that certainly in my mind I picked to finish in the top two in our league. They’re a veteran team – going into the National Hockey Center is always a tough place to play – its’s a momentum type of building – it’s a loud building and they play real well there… so we’ll be well prepared and look forward to it.
Huskies banged up
Saint Cloud will be without two of their top forwards this weekend. According to Mick Hatten, beat writer for the Saint Cloud State Huskies, “[Ben] Hanowski has not been able to practice since he was injured in a game Oct. 26 against Minnesota State-Mankato at the NHEC. He was hit into the boards by Eriah Hayes, who received a major penalty for charging.”
Also, Huskies freshman forward Joey Benik is sidelined with a broken leg and apparently is a few weeks away because he is just getting his cast off.