For the time being, the new way of officiating college basketball doesn’t make for the prettiest of sport. The whistle frenzy creates a choppy atmosphere that can zap life from the rowdiest of crowds — like the one assembled in a sold-out Betty Engelstad Sioux Center for UND’s matchup with rival North Dakota State on Sunday.
In a formal press conference in Agganis Arena on Friday night, a typically stern Dave Hakstol refused to look past this weekend and worry about the implications of a rough start to his UND men’s hockey season.
When nothing seems to be coming easy for a hockey team, it has to be smart to give itself a chance to win. There’s too much else not going according to plan to let unintelligent play dictate an outcome.
Instead of it coming on the road from the No. 1 team in the country, UND was given its measuring stick at home by No. 9 St. Cloud State this weekend. The results were humbling and a little discouraging.
All week, the concern among UND men's hockey followers was the health of sophomore forward Drake Caggiula. Last weekend, Caggiula took a scary fall against the U.S. Under-18 team as he left his feet to avoid some contact, was undercut by an opponent and landed awkwardly on his upper body.
The only intrigue in North Dakota’s matchup with Sacramento State on Saturday was UND’s opportunity to compete against a middle-of-the-pack Big Sky Conference opponent after a slew of tough games to start the year.
As last season came to a close, the UND men’s hockey team found itself as a one-line team. North Dakota needed to generate offense from Danny Kristo, Corban Knight and Rocco Grimaldi in order to win games.
The real race in town Saturday wasn’t the Wild Hog Half Marathon that weaved through the streets of Grand Forks in the morning. No, the most competitive dash of the day came later in the afternoon when fans were high-tailing to the Alerus Center parking lot at halftime of North Dakota’s Big Sky Conference opener against Montana State.
The Big Sky Conference’s all-sports standings present the UND athletic department a humbling recap of the 2012-13 season. UND finished 11th of 11 members, highlighting the fact that the school’s non-revenue sports have some serious ground to make up.
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