This season, the University of North Dakota has four exhibition games on their 2013-14 schedule. These exhibition games give the coaching staff a chance to evaluate their players. Also, the coaching staff can use these exhibition games as an opportunity to try different line combinations and defensive pairing that you couldn’t normally try in a regular season game. UND was able to play a few players that hadn’t played so far this season.
In tonight’s exhibition game, the University of North Dakota faced off against the US National U-18 team at the Ralph Englestad Arena.
UND would beat the US National U-18 Team 4-1, but the win would come with a cost. Sophomore forward Drake Caggiula would suffer an apparent injury in the early minutes of the second period. Caggiula tried to jump over an U-18 player, fell and landed on his head. Caggiula was taken off of the ice on a stretcher and taken to Altru Hospital.
After the game, fellow line mate Rocco Grimaldi was asked about the Caggiula injury.
“It was really tough,” Grimaldi said. “Actually, I was kind of tearing up for him. I have never seen anything like that in my life, so it was tough for all of us to see. Obviously, your thoughts and prayers are going out to him. Hoping he’s okay. Hoping he can get back and everything is going to be okay with him.”
After the game, the head coach Dave Hakstol had this to say about the Caggiula’s injury.
“It’s hard to see with any member of the team,” Hakstol said. “We’re happy to hear some good news and waiting, hopefully we will hear some more good news."
While the injury did take the life out of the building, there were a few positives.
After having a rough first two seasons, junior forward Brendan O’Donnell has gotten off to a fast start this season and scored (1g1a—2pts) tonight. When asked about his quick start to the season, this is what he had to say.
“You try to build confidence every game,” O’Donnell said. "Every practice, every week, in college hockey, the thing is week to week is such a big difference, fresh start every week. I just try to build on what we have done and look forward to the future."
One difference for O’Donnell this season is that he’s finally healthy.
“Obviously, you never want to be injured,” O’Donnell said. “Its been nice to be healthy...”
After the game, head coach Dave Hakstol was very complimentary of Brendan O’Donnell’s play.
“He’s just maturing in every way,” Hasktol said. “You see that maturity come through. The confidence that he’s playing with, he’s worked hard to elevate his play. He’s a guy that was out of the lineup an awful lot in the middle of the season last year. Instead of stepping back, he stepped forward. He worked extremely hard to get himself back in the lineup, late in the second half of last year. He had an excellent summer, where he was focused on all of the right things. He’s carried that into winning a job on our left side.”
On evaluating his team play, Head Coach Dave Hakstol seemed pleased with his team’s effort.
“Real good second period,” Hakstol said. “Lot of positives there, up and down first and third period. We got to the third period it was matter of just kind running out the 20-minutes from our stand point. Certainly we will give them a lot of credit. They played a game last night. They played good hockey in the third period, which was their sixth period of hockey of the weekend. Lots of credit to the young guys over there.”
Now for the good news: According to UND SID Jayson Hajdu, forward Drake Caggiula has movement and feeling in his extremities, he underwent further testing. The tests came back negative and Caggiula was released from Altru hospital.