North Dakota vs. St. Cloud, Winner Takes All

Tonight, the University of North Dakota plays St. Cloud State University in the NCAA West Regional final. The winner advances to the Frozen Four in Boston, Massachusetts.

Series history

All-time, UND leads the series against St. Cloud State 64-38-12 (.614). In Grand Forks, UND leads the series against the Huskies 32-16-6 (.648). In St. Cloud, UND leads the series 26-20-6 (.558). At neutral sites, UND leads 6-2-0 (.750). Under head coach Dave Hakstol, UND leads the series 26-16-7 (.602). Last 10, UND trails 4-5-1 (.450). In the conference playoffs, UND leads 10-3-0 (.769). In the NCAA playoffs, N/A. Season series, UND leads 3-2-0 (.600).

UND forward Connor Gaarder (Eric Classen/UND Athletics)
UND forward Connor Gaarder (Eric Classen/UND Athletics)

Tale of the tape

#3 North Dakota (27-9-3) vs. #13 St. Cloud State (20-18-1)
NCAA West Region: March, 28, 2015
Game Time: Friday 8:08 pm CT
Location: Scheels Arena  Fargo, N.D.
Last time out: SCSU won (3-2 W O.T.)
Last time out: UND won (4-1 W)
SCSU Offense: 25th Nationally
SCSU Defense: 22nd Nationally
SCSU last 10 games: 6-4-0 (.600)
UND Offense: 10th Nationally
UND Defense: 8th Nationally
UND PWR: 2nd
UND last 10 games: 7-3-0 (.700)
TV: Friday: ESPNU, DirecTV 208, DISH Network 141
Live Streaming: ESPN3, WatchESPN

Key Players to watch

North Dakota: – Forwards: Drake Caggiula (17g-18a—35pts), Michael Parks (12g-20a—32pts), Nick Schmaltz (5g-21a—26pts), Luke Johnson (8g-13a—21pts), Brendan O’Donnell (13g-7a—20pts), Connor Gaarder (9g-10a—19pts). Defense: Jordan Schmaltz (4g-23a—27pts), Paul LaDue (5g-16a—21pts), Nick Mattson (4g-16a—20pts), Tucker Poolman (8g-8a—16pts), Troy Stecher (2g-10a—12pts), Keaton Thompson (3g-8a—11pts). Goalies: Zane McIntyre (28-9-3, 2.05 GAA, .930 SV%), Cam Johnson (0-0-0, 5.54 GAA, .765SV%).

St. Cloud State – Forwards: Joey Benik (16g-23p—39pts), Jonny Brodzinski (21g-17a—38pts), David Morely (17g-12a—29pts), Kalle Kossila (6g-20a—26pts), Patrick Russell (10g-15a—25pts). Defense: Ethan Prow (4g-19a—23pts), Andrew Prochno (3g-12a—15pts), Nathan Wideman (2g-6a—8pts). Goalies: Charlie Lindgren (19-17-1, 2.24 GAA, .920 SV%), Rasmus Reijola (1-1-0, 2.13 GAA, .901 SV%).

Special teams

St. Cloud State – The Huskies penalty kill is ranked 44th in the nation (93/116, 80.2%). The Huskies power play is ranked 5th in the nation (37/154 24.0%).

North Dakota – UND’s penalty kill is ranked 24th in the nation (138/163, 84.7%). UND’s power play is ranked 18th in the nation (32/162, 20.3%).

Scheels Arena, hardly a neutral site

Scheels Arena sits approximately 75 miles from the campus of the University of North Dakota. While it’s not UND’s home arena, the venue was far from neutral.

“I didn’t think it was intimidating I really thought it was a great atmosphere I got to give it to North Dakota, they have some of the best fans in the country,” Quinnipiac University Head Coach Rand Pecknold said. “Obviously the arena is great, it’s really a good venue.

“Having been on the committee before it is a battle to keep neutral sites and obviously this was not a neutral site, but hey, we were the 14 seed so you have to go on the road and take your lumps so if we would have gotten a little bit higher up and had a better regular season we wouldn’t have to come here and play, but I thought it was great”

Coach Hakstol was moved by the Scheels Arena’s atmosphere.

“It was awesome,” Hakstol said. “Right from walking in the building a couple of hours before the game, right through the end of the final buzzer. What a tremendous atmosphere for our players to have the opportunity to play in. As I said yesterday, you’re not guaranteed anything at this time of year.

“Playing in an environment like this in your home state, because the teams are so good, everybody that we’re playing has been in these environments before but no question tonight we wanted to try and take advantage of this opportunity and I thought our guys acquitted themselves pretty well with that in mind.”