Grand Forks, ND – The University of North Dakota hockey team came into the weekend concerned about their special teams. When the weekend was over, special teams appeared to be less of a concern for the UND coaching staff. The refs called the games very tight and this gave the UND’s special teams a work out. The Green and White held their ground and killed 15 of 16 Vermont power plays. They also scored three power play goals on 12 power play opportunities. UND head coach Dave Hakstol seemed pleased with the play of his special teams.
“Specialty teams are going to be a big part of it,” Hakstol said. “Especially the early part of the season, as all of this transitions to the new level of calls, smooths out. I thought out PK became more and more sound, as we went through the weekend. We were a little bit hit and miss yesterday, even though we did a good job and killed 10 out of 11 (penalties). I thought we were better and more in synch today.”
The UND coach seemed fine with the way the games were called this weekend.
“I am on board with the emphasis on the hooks; basically protecting the offensive player’s hands,” Hakstol said. “Allowing an offensive player on the wall to protect the puck without being held, those are the three that I think are significant and good steps for our game.”
Another emerging theme from the weekend was the play of sophomore forward Rocco Grimaldi. The dynamic forward had a great first weekend, scoring (2g–3a—5pts) in two games. Fellow linemate, sophomore forward Drake Caggiula, also had a good start to the season, scoring (2g-2a—4pts) on the weekend.
It was obvious from watching Adam Tambellini, Grimaldi and Caggiula play, that their line had chemistry and they had a good weekend playing together. UND pressed hard at the end of the game, but couldn’t get the game winner.
“I think we’re playing really well together,” Grimaldi said. “I think we’re reading off each other real well. Obviously with Tambo (Adam Tambellini) he’s doing a good job with both of us as well. The three of us are playing good hockey together and making things happen. Tonight, we didn’t make as many things happen as we wanted to. Obviously, we needed one more to win this hockey game and I put a lot of blame on myself. I had a couple of chances that I could have hit the net and it didn’t go in.”
Fans get first look at the Shootout
The game would officially end in a 2-2 tie and the game would go to a shootout. Since it was a non-conference game the shootout was meaningless and didn’t count for anything. Actually, the biggest cheers in the game came during the shootout which the fans seemed to enjoy. Grimaldi talked about the shootout at the end of the game.
“Today kind of stunk, because you know you were playing for nothing,” Grimaldi said. “I think it’s going to be good. Obviously, it’s another area of your game that you can work on. That can give you another point, that could either win you a championship, or possibly put you in an NCAA berth, or whatever. So, that’s something that we’ll definitely be working on once or twice a week.”
UND kicks off league play October 18-19, 2013 when they travel to Oxford, Ohio to play Miami University in their first ever NCHC series.