North Dakota vs. St. Cloud State, Series Preview

This weekend, second-ranked North Dakota travels to Saint Cloud, MN, to take on the 16-ranked St. Cloud State Huskies in a two-game conference series at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center. This series will feature the defending regular season champion against the preseason favorite.

Series history

All-time, UND is 61-36-12 (.615) against St. Cloud State. In Grand Forks, ND, UND is 30-16-6 (.635) against SCSU. In St. Cloud MN, UND is 25-19-6 (.560) against the Huskies. At neutral sites, UND 6-1-0 (.857) against the Huskies. Under head coach Dave Hakstol, UND has a 23-14-7 (.602) record against the Huskies.

Lately, UND hasn’t had a lot of success against the Huskies. In the last 10 games against SCSU, UND trails 4-5-1 (.450). UND is 1-5-1 (.214) in the last seven games against the Huskies. This includes a 1-3-0 (.250) record last season.

SCSU goalie Ryan Faragher  (Eric Classen/UND Athletics)
SCSU goalie Ryan Faragher (Eric Classen/UND Athletics)

Tale of the tape

#2 North Dakota (8-2-1, 2-0-0 NCHC) vs. #16 St. Cloud State Huskies (4-5-1, 1-2-1 NCHC)
Date: November 21-22, 2014.
Game Time: Friday 7:37, Saturday 7:07 p.m. CT.
Location: Herb Brooks National Hockey Center, St. Cloud, MN.
Last time out: SCSU took three points against WMU (4-3 W, 1-1 T).
Last time out: UND split with Miami (2-3 L, 4-1 W).
SCSU Offense: 39th Nationally.
SCSU Defense: 30th Nationally.
UND Offense: 7th Nationally.
UND Defense: 13th Nationally.
TV: Friday – FOX Sports North PLUS, DirecTV (668-2), DISH Network.
TV: Saturday – Charter (ch. 426/823), Comcast (ch. 999) in local St. Cloud area only.
Live Streaming: NCHC.TV.

SCSU Series Notes

Key Players to Watch

North Dakota – Forwards: Drake Caggiula (6g-10a—16pts), Michael Parks (5g-9a—14pts), Mark MacMillan (6g-4a—10pts), Luke Johnson (3g-3a—6pts), Bryn Chyzyk (2g-2a—4pts). Defense: Paul LaDue (3g-5a—8pts), Troy Stecher (1g-7a—8pts) Jordan Schmaltz (1g-6a—7pts), Tucker Poolman (3g-0a—3pts), Gage Ausmus (1g-1a—2pts). Goalies: Zane McIntyre (8-2-1, 1.95 GAA, .928 SV%), Cam Johnson (0-0-0, 2.68 GAA, .800 SV%).

UND Injuries: Nick Schmaltz (1g-7a—8pts) is out indefinitely.

St. Cloud State – Forwards: Kale Kossila (2g-6a—8pts), Jonny Brodzinski (5g-3a—8pts), Joey Benik (5g-3a—8pts). Defense: Andrew Prochno (2g-5a—7pts), Ethan Prow (1g-3a—4pts). Goalies: Charlie Lindgren (4-5-1, 2.49 GAA, .909 SV%), Rasmus Reijola (0-0-0, 2.35 GAA, .889 SV%)

Special teams

St. Cloud State – The Huskies penalty kill is ranked 27th in the nation (34/40, 85.0%). The Huskies power play is ranked 6th in the nation (11/44, 26.2%).

North Dakota – UND’s penalty kill is ranked 21st in the nation (45/52, 86.5%). UND’s power play is ranked 16th  in the nation (12/57, 21.1%).

YouTube player

Tough series ahead for UND

St. Cloud State is UND’s heated rival and the players enjoy playing against the Huskies, especially in St. Cloud. Coming into the series, the UND players are expecting a tough series in a rowdy building.

“Old WCHA rival,” UND senior captain Stephane Pattyn said. “We’ve been rivals with them for a really long time. Games against Saint Cloud are always good. That arena is very tough to play in. They have a very good crowd, big ice surface also. We’re expecting their best. We expect everyone’s best, every weekend. Especially being a rival, definitely going to be a good series.

“I think it’s going to be awesome,” UND junior goalie Zane McIntyre said. “Over the past couple years I got to experience that. It’s crazy. Obviously their student section is pretty nuts. “Their chants between whistles and stuff, they’ve got the sieve, sieve (chant) going on. It will be fun, it will be exciting. Because of a big rivalry like that, that’s been built up over the past how many years. It’s always a blast to play there.”

Series prediction

Over the last 12 games, UND hasn’t had a lot of success against the Huskies. As a matter of fact, UND’s senior class has never won a regular season series against the Huskies in St. Cloud. During those three seasons, UND has gone 4-7-1 against the Huskies. This includes a 1-4-1 record at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Not all is lost, during the last three seasons, UND has a 3-3-0 (.500) record against the Huskies in St. Cloud. Let’s just say that UND is due.

UND hasn’t swept the Huskies at home since the 1998-99 season. UND’s record against the Huskies over that 17 year period, 12-12-4 (.500).

With those stats in mind, I am going to predict a split this weekend.