HOCKEY: Sioux rested, ready for the Last Frontier
Although it's early in the season, the UND men's hockey team has had its share of bumps and bruises. So, the off week was put to good use, even though the team is chomping at the bit to play, Sioux coach Dave Hakstol said. Several key players - i...
Although it's early in the season, the UND men's hockey team has had its share of bumps and bruises.
So, the off week was put to good use, even though the team is chomping at the bit to play, Sioux coach Dave Hakstol said.
Several key players - including assistant captains Jonathan Toews and Rylan Kaip and starting goaltender Philippe Lamoureux - have missed games in the past two weeks due to injuries. Others, like standout forward T.J. Oshie, have been slowed down with lesser injuries.
Lamoureux won't play this weekend against Alaska Anchorage, but the others should be rested, healed up and ready to go.
"It's always nice to get a little extra time to get some of the guys who are banged up a little bit healthier," Hakstol said. "Hopefully we were able to use the time to get a little bit energized, and hopefully we'll be able to carry that energy into this weekend."
Under Hakstol, the Sioux have been strong after off weeks. UND typically has two per season, not including a Christmas break.
Last season, the Sioux were 4-0 after the breaks, outscoring opponents 23-4 in those games.
Two seasons ago, UND went 2-1-1 after breaks, with the loss coming at Anchorage.
Anchorage has been a trouble spot for the Sioux, who have had far greater success playing against the Seawolves in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
At home, UND is 21-2-2 against the Seawolves. In Alaska, the Sioux are just 12-11.
The long plane flight and time adjustment could be factors, UND captain Chris Porter said, but he added that there are no excuses for not winning.
"We usually come out flat Friday night against them," Porter said. "That's something that's been an emphasis all week. Hopefully when we come out, we're ready to play. We want to jump out to a lead. Nobody likes playing from behind."
The Seawolves are off to a strong start this season, going 4-4-2 in their first 10 games. They're only two wins shy of matching last season's total and their 2.7 goals per game average is almost an entire point higher than last season.
Alaska Anchorage's leading scorer last season had 15 points. Senior forward Justin Bourne already is two-thirds of the way to that total.
"I don't know if people give Anchorage enough credit as a good hockey team," Hakstol said. "The big thing I see this year is that they are in Year 2 with the new coaching staff and they are buying into the philosophy."
-- Alaska Anchorage is 3-2 against UND in the last five meetings. In the 23 before that, the Seawolves were 1-20-2.
-- UND (6-3-1) is off to its best start under Hakstol. The previous two seasons, the Sioux were 5-4-1 and 5-3-2 after 10 games. The nine conference points also are the most the Sioux have earned after six WCHA games under Hakstol.
Reach Schlossman at 780-1129, (800) 477-6572 ext. 129 or firstname.lastname@example.org .