Brad Elliott Schlossman
Are we overlooking Western Michigan as a potential candidate to win the Penrose Cup? The Broncos are coming off of an impressive weekend in St. Cloud. Despite being without four forwards — and having two defensemen play forward — they beat the Huskies on Friday night. Then, in the series finale, they played without five forwards (second-leading scorer Colt Conrad was injured Friday), had a sixth forward get hurt early in the game (it happened to be Hobey Baker Award candidate Wade Allison) and still were tied 3-3 with five minutes to go.
Former UND star Brock Boeser was named to the NHL All-Star Game on Wednesday. He is the lone former UND player to be picked. Here’s my story on it .
Five highlights from around the country:
UND coach Brad Berry told his team this week that they’d be playing an opponent full of veterans. That might have actually been an understatement. Omaha is currently the 5th-ranked offense in the nation — and it hasn’t received a single goal from a freshman yet. The Mavericks are the only team in the country who haven’t had a goal by a rookie. Omaha has 24 goals from seniors, which ranks second only to Holy Cross.
For the first time this season, UND coach Brad Berry is expecting to have his entire roster available to play for this weekend’s two-game series against Omaha. That means Dixon Bowen is likely to make his return to the lineup for the first time since injuring his foot blocking a shot on Nov. 17 against Denver. Bowen should be of big help on the penalty kill.
UND landed another commitment from an area player Wednesday when Moorhead’s Carter Randklev called UND coach Brad Berry and said he was headed to Grand Forks in a year or two. Our hockey writer in Fargo wrote the commitment story here .
A year ago, UND swept a two-game series in the National Hockey Center for the first time since 1998. On Saturday, St. Cloud State won its first series at home against UND since 2001. After years of splits between these teams in St. Cloud — and a few UND win/ties mixed in — both strings have finally been broken. Saturday’s game got away from UND in a short, 6:24 span at the start of the second period when Robby Jackson scored after a turnover and Mikey Eyssimont scored on a delayed penalty and the ensuing power play to make it 3-0.
Is your favorite college hockey team’s record not as good as you hoped it would be at this point in the season? Unless you cheer for one of a handful of teams — like Alaska Anchorage, St. Lawrence, Merrimack, Vermont or RPI — it’s probably not time to hit the panic button yet. It has been an abnormal year of surprisingly little separation to start this season.
Sophomore forward Cole Smith has been a particularly effective player for UND in the last three weeks — when he’s been out of the penalty box. During the last six games (home vs. Miami, at Denver, home vs. Union), Smith leads UND in plus-minus with a plus-6 rating. Nobody else is better than plus-3. He is the only player (of those who have played in that span) who wasn’t on the ice for an even-strength goal against during those six games.
Posted on November 28, 2017 Brad Elliott Schl