UND Hockey: 5 Must-See Series

As we make our way through a semi-eventful off-season, you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. As the calendar turns to August, there are roughly 70 days until the University of North Dakota kicks off the 2015-16 season.

If you haven’t been paying attention during the off-season, there have been a few changes. Former UND head coach Dave Hakstol is now the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Former UND head coach Dave Hakstol (Peter Bottini, UND Athletics)
Former UND head coach Dave Hakstol (Peter Bottini, UND Athletics)

With the change at the top, UND enters the 2015-16 campaign with a new head coach. Assistant coach Brad Berry was promoted after Hakstol’s departure. Newly hired assistant coach, Matt Shaw joins the UND coaching staff for the 2015-16 season.

As always, expectations are high for UND. The Green and White enter the 2015-16 season as the defending regular season National Collegiate Hockey Conference champions. UND also looks to make a return trip to the Frozen Four.

Let’s take a look at UND’s 2015-16 schedule. Here’re five must-see matchups that should catch your attention.

Five Must-See Series

Series one: Vermont vs. North Dakota.
Date: October 23-24, 2015.
Location: Gutterson Fieldhouse, Burlington, VT.

Over the past three seasons, UND has a 3-4-3 record against Hockey East teams. UND looks to improve on that record when they head to Burlington, VT, to play the Catamounts. All-time, UND is (3-0-1, .875) against the Catamounts and has never played in Gutterson Fieldhouse.

For those keeping track, former UND defenseman Dan Senkbeil (2010-12) is a member of the Catamounts.

Series two: North Dakota vs. Wisconsin.
Date: November 6-7, 2015.
Location: Ralph Engelstad Arena, Grand Forks, ND.

The Wisconsin Badgers return to the Ralph Engelstad Arena for the first time since the 2012-13 season. Since college hockey’s re-alignment, UW and UND have played three times with UND winning all three games by a combined score of 14-6.

Looking back at the UND vs. UW rivalry, the water bottle incident comes to mind. Even after 33 years, many UND fans still talk about this historic game.

All-Time, UW is (68-86-12, .445) against UND. Lately, UND has had UW’s number. In the last 10 games against the Badgers, UND is (7-2-1, .750).   UND is also unbeaten in the last seven games against the Badgers (6-0-1, .928). I think it’s safe to say, the Badgers are going to be looking for some revenge.

Series three: St Cloud State vs. North Dakota
Date: November 20-21, 2015.
Location: Herb Brooks National Hockey Center, St. Cloud, MN.

Coming into the 2014-15 season, the SCSU Huskies had the upper hand on UND. During the previous two seasons (2012-14), SCSU had a 5-2-1 record against UND.

Last season, UND changed their fortunes against the Huskies. In six games, UND had a 4-2 record against the Huskies and ended their season in the West Regional finals. Over the last 10 games, the series is tied 5-5-0.

Series four: Michigan State vs. North Dakota
Date: November 27-29, 2015.
Location: Munn Ice Arena, East Lansing, MI.

All-time, UND has a (62-35-2, .700) record against Michigan State. In the last 10 games against the Spartans, UND has a 8-2-0 record. The two teams haven’t played since the 2007-08 season.

Last season, UND went 2-0-0 against the Big Ten and plays two B1G teams this season (Wisconsin and Michigan State).

Clarke Saunders, (Todd Christensen / DU Athletics)
Clarke Saunders, (Todd Christensen / DU Athletics)

Series Five: North Dakota vs. Alabama-Huntsville
Date: Jan 1-2, 2016.
Location: Ralph Engelstad Arena, Grand Forks, ND.

This season, UND’s non-conference schedule includes an unfamiliar foe. UND and UAH haven’t played each other in 26 seasons. The last time the two teams met, George H. W. Bush was the president of the United States. None of the players on either roster was alive the last time UND and UAH played.  All-time, UND is 2-0-0 against the Chargers.

There’s a minor connection between the two teams; former UND goalie Clarke Saunders played for the Chargers from 2010-2012.  During the early part of the 2011-12 season, interim UAH President Malcolm Portera announced that the Chargers were disbanding their program. Saunders transferred to UND after the 2011-12 season. After Saunders transferred to UND, the Chargers resurrected their program.

Looking at the UND hockey schedule, which matchup are you looking forward to?