UND Hockey: Five Must-See Series

As we make our way through a very slow off-season, you can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The college hockey season is just around the corner. There’s roughly 65 days until North Dakota kicks off the 2014-15 season with an exhibition game against Manitoba Bison.

Looking at the University of North Dakota’s 2014-15 schedule, here’s my five must-see hockey series. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts.

Jon Gillies of Team USA - 2014 World Juniors (WJHC)
(USA Hockey/Ellen DeLuca)

Series one: Providence College vs. the University of North Dakota
Date: October 24-25, 2014.
Location: Ralph Engelstad Arena, Grand Forks, North Dakota.

The Providence College Friars invade the Ralph Engelstad Arena in October to play the University of North Dakota in an important non-conference match up. The Friars went 22-11-6 last season, and made it to the 2014 NCAA East Regional Final, before losing to the eventual national champion Union College 3-1. The Friars return a veteran lineup and “should” be one of the better teams in Hockey East.

All-time, UND is 8-5-0 against Providence and hasn’t played them since the 1988-89 season, when UND beat the Friars 3-2 in Providence, Rhode Island.

The Friars are led by junior goalie Jon Gillies (19-9-5, 2.16 GAA and a .931 SV%). Gillies was also the starting goaltender for the U.S. National Junior Team that competed at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Series two: University of North Dakota vs. the University of Wisconsin.
Date: November 7-8, 2014.
Location: Kohl Center, Madison, Wisconsin.

The University of North Dakota travels to Madison, Wisconsin, to take on the Badgers in an important two-game non-conference series.  This is the re-match of the 2014 Midwest Regional Championship. North Dakota beat Wisconsin 5-2 in the semifinals of the regional championship, sending UND to the championship game against Ferris State.

All-time, UND has a 66-86-12 (.439) record against the Badgers. In the last 10 games against the Badgers, UND has a 5-3-2  (.600) record.

Series three: Miami University vs. the University of North Dakota
Date: November 14-15, 2014
Location: Ralph Engelstad Arena, Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Last season, Miami and North Dakota played each other five times. UND had the upper hand against the RedHawks winning three-of-five games. The RedHawks won the semifinal game in the Frozen Faceoff 3-0. In five games, UND outscored the RedHawks 18-14. All-time, UND has a record 5-2-1 (.687) against Miami University.

The RedHawks return star forwards, Austin Czarnik (13g-34a—47pts), Riley Barber (19g-25a—44pts), Sean Kuraly (12g-17a—29pts) Blake Coleman (19g-9a—28pts).

Series Four: The University of North Dakota vs. Saint Cloud State University.
Date: November 21-22, 2014.
Location:  Herb Brooks National Hockey Center, St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Last season, Saint Cloud State edged UND out for the inaugural regular season championship. The Huskies won the Penrose Cup by three mere points.

Gone from the Huskies is goalie Ryan Faragher, who signed a professional contract with the Anaheim Ducks. In three seasons with the Huskies, Faragher had UND’s number. In 12 career starts against UND, he had a 7-4-1 (.625) record, a 2.06 goals against average and a .933 save percentage.

In the last 10 games, SCSU has a 4-5-1 record against UND. All-time, UND has a 61-36-12 (.629) record against SCSU.

Series five: The University of North Dakota vs. University of Denver
Date: December 12-13, 2014.
Location: Magness Arena, Denver, Colorado.

The NCHC’s version of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s takes center stage. Historically both teams hate each other and tend to rack up the penalty minutes when they take the ice. When North Dakota and Denver hit the ice, the games are usually instant classics on Youtube.com, and all you have to do is search for Denver and North Dakota, giving you hundreds of videos. You will not see any more dances on the dasher though.

This is also the last series of the year before the Christmas break for both teams. Denver will make the return trip to Grand Forks on February 13-14, 2015.

All-time, UND has a 138-118-9 (.537) record against Denver. In the last 10 games,  UND has a 6-3-1 record against Denver. The two teams split their season series last season. Interesting fact: Denver won the inaugural NCHC Frozen Faceoff champion last season beating Miami 4-3.