Sunday, February 23, 2014

UND Hockey: Another Circle of Sticks and More Inner Geek

With the sweep against Minnesota Duluth, UND now has five series sweeps for the 2013-14 season. Last year, UND had three series sweeps (Holy Cross, Michigan Tech and Nebraska-Omaha).

That’s definitely an improvement. UND (18-9-3, 13-7-0 NCHC) is tied for first place in the NCHC with Saint Cloud State University. Breaking down UND’s record, they’re 11-5-1 at home and 7-4-2 on the road. With the win last night, UND clinches home ice for the NCHC playoffs. That’s the 12th season in a row that UND has qualified for home ice for the playoffs.

UND is smoking hot right now, they’re currently on a 14-2-1 (.853) run. It all started on November 29, 2013. UND had just lost 5-2 to St. Lawrence University, and owned a subpar 4-7-2 record. It was gloom and doom in the UND Nation.  After a closed door players meeting, UND would win 3-2 on Saturday night and start the current hot streak. After the Saturday night's 3-2 win against SLU, alternate captain Stephane Pattyn explained.

“Yesterday was kind of just an open floor,” Pattyn said. “Everyone talked, and gave their thoughts about what we needed to do. We had some great conversations. We definitely grew up as a team last night, and I think today’s (win) helped, too.”

Since November 30, 2013, UND has been a very good hockey team. Pattyn was right; they’ve grown up as a hockey team. During the current run, UND has scored 61 goals (3.67 GPG), and only given up 35 goals against (2.07 GA). UND has a goal differential of +26 during the hot streak. UND’s last four games have been better. The past two weekends UND has scored an eye popping 21 goals (5.25 GPG) and given up a stingy 6 goals against (1.50 GA). That’s a goal differential of +15. Talk about playing your best hockey at the end of the season.

Who’s Hot for UND

Sophomore forward Rocco Grimaldi has scored (2g-5a—7pts) his last three games.

Junior forward Michael Parks is smoking hot, and has scored (7g-10a—17pts) in the last 14 games.

Since his return from injury, junior forward Mark MacMillan has scored (5g-8a—13pts).

Senior defenseman Dillon Simpson (7g-13a—20pts) has scored 14 of his 20 points since November 30, 2013.

Sophomore defenseman Jordan Schmaltz has scored at least a point in seven of the last nine games (2g-6a—8pts).

Sophomore goalie Zane Gothberg is having a great second half. How hot is Gothberg? He’s unbeaten (10-0-1) in his last 11 games. He also owns a 1.66 GAA and a .934 save percentage. Yeah, that’s pretty good.
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