Winning faceoffs is not a concern Dave Hakstol has had in a while. Thanks to players such as Corban Knight, Brad Malone, Chris VandeVelde, T.J. Oshie, Jonathan Toews, Travis Zajac and Zach Parise, UND has ranked near the top nationally in that category each year in the last decade. But this season, that dominant center is not there yet.
It will be a busy holiday season for the UND athletic department. UND now has two high-profile coaching positions to fill with the resignation of volleyball coach Ashley Hardee on Wednesday afternoon. UND already is searching for a head football coach to replace Chris Mussman, who was let go last month.
UND’s mission this week is to break a three-game losing streak. If that happens, UND will have to snap the streak against one of the country’s top programs and in one of the more historic venues in all of college basketball.
Pacific coach Ron Verlin prefers to play man-to-man defense.
The style is a proven winner for the Tigers as they advanced to the NCAA tournament last season and are 6-1 this year with the only setback coming against No. 14 Oregon — a game Pacific led by seven at halftime.
UND scored two goals in the final 1 minute, 5 seconds of the second period and withstood a barrage of shots in the third to beat St. Lawrence 3-2 in front of 10,532 on Saturday night and earn a series split.
Playing without future Olympians Michelle Karvinen, Susanna Tapani and Tanja Eisenschmid as a dry run for when they are gone for a month at the 2014 Sochi Games, UND beat the Russian National Team 2-0 in an exhibition game Saturday afternoon.
Oregon, unbeaten and ranked No. 14 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, had the size and speed to outlast UND 91-76 on Saturday evening in front of 5,937 fans at the state-of-the-art Matthew Knight Arena.
In some international flair at Ralph Engelstad Arena on Friday, UND and the national women’s team from Russia skated to a 3-3 tie. UND, however, won the shootout 1-0 on a goal from Halli Krzyzaniak. It was a five-round, international-style shootout.
Through three games, it looked as if UND wouldn’t have trouble scoring this season. UND had big-time trouble Friday as Cal Poly routed North Dakota 70-43 in the opening round of the Global Sports Harwood Challenge at the University of Oregon.
When the national college hockey poll was released Monday afternoon, there was a rarity. The UND men’s hockey team was not ranked. It hasn’t happened often since the poll started in 1997, but UND did face a strikingly similar situation just two years ago.
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