UND coach Brian Idalski was cautious when talking at a Wednesday press conference.
But if everything goes according to plan, UND sophomore and former East Grand Forks Senior High standout Leah Jensen may finally be able to play in a college hockey game this weekend as UND hosts No. 1 Minnesota (7:07 p.m. Friday, 7:07 p.m. Saturday, Ralph Engelstad Arena).
Jensen hasn’t played since a Feb. 1 game at Minnesota State-Mankato last season, missing 36 consecutive games due to various injuries.
“She’s going to be a go,” Idalski said. “With that being said, if there’s a setback in the next couple of days, we’ll have to adjust. But we at least want to get her dressed and in the lineup and see how many shifts she can take, see if she can give us some energy and see how she feels after she gets a game under her belt. We’ll monitor the situation closely.
“But we want to get her in a game this weekend. It’s important to get her into a game.”
Jensen had two goals and eight points during 16 games last season, but has been battling injuries since going down on Oct. 13, 2012.
“It’s been a long time,” Idalski said. “She’s been through a ton. Her commitment with the rehab and everything she’s gone through to get to this point has been amazing. I have a lot of respect for her with everything she’s gone through. It has been pretty reminiscent of Jordan Slavin (three knee surgeries) and the things she had to do off the ice just to get the opportunity to play in a game.
“It’s pretty special for her to get back in. Once she’s back to 100 percent and contributing that’s going to be huge.”
Idalski was less optimistic that UND would have the services of sophomore forward Meghan Dufault, who has missed the last three games with an undisclosed injury.
“I’d say she’s probably day-to-day,” Idalski said. “She’s had a great week. She looks good. She’s starting to get back into it, but we’re going to be pretty cautious with that. The last thing you want is Meghan 75 to 80 percent for the rest of the stretch run. You’d rather take an extra week or two weeks and have her at 100 percent and make sure she’s good for the rest of the year.”