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Playoffs begin tonight

Kyle Radke didn't get to pick UND's first round opponent in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs, but he says he wouldn't have it any other way.

Kyle Radke didn't get to pick UND's first round opponent in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs, but he says he wouldn't have it any other way.

Tonight in Ralph Engelstad Arena (7:37 p.m.), the Sioux men's hockey team begins a best-of-three series against Minnesota State-Mankato a matchup that has produced some of the wildest games this season.

The four regular season games between the teams have featured three Mankato comebacks from 3-0 deficits, 42 total goals and 291 penalty minutes most of which came after fights broke out at the end of UND's 8-4 Friday night win a month ago.

"I wouldn't say we have unfinished business against them," Radke said, "but they took some liberties on some of our guys and it would be nice to beat them on the scoreboard in our own rink.

"I'd love to end a few of those guys' NCAA careers this weekend."


Defenseman Joe Finley added: "We haven't forgotten the antics they pulled against us that Friday night. It's not like we're looking to get back at them, but we will be looking to finish every check."

With the high stakes UND hoping for a trip to St. Paul's WCHA Final Five and Mankato fighting to keep its season alive Sioux coach Dave Hakstol said he doesn't think this weekend's series will get chippy.

But Hakstol expects the series, which features two of the hottest teams in the league, to be intense. The Mavericks are 7-3-3 in their last 13 games, while UND is 10-1-4 in the last 15.

"I think it will be a hard-nosed, high tempo series with a lot of intensity," Hakstol said. "I don't think there will be a bunch of extra-curricular stuff. I don't think that in playoff time, you gain a whole lot by spending time in the penalty box."

Border success

Last Friday, St. Cloud State captain Casey Borer was presented with the DQ Cup, which goes to the Minnesota-based team with the best record in intrastate games.

Ironically, the next night, UND completed its regular season with an undefeated record against Minnesota teams.

The Sioux have a combined 10-0-4 record against Minnesota (2-0-0), Bemidji State (2-0-0), Mankato (3-0-1), St. Cloud State (2-0-2) and Minnesota-Duluth (1-0-1).


It is just the third time UND has ever gone unbeaten against Minnesota schools. It also happened in 1998-98 (12-0-2) and 1949-50 (5-0-0).

Duncan runs away

with scoring title

UND sophomore forward Ryan Duncan officially won the WCHA scoring title last weekend.

Duncan finished the regular season with 22 goals and 17 assists for 39 points, finishing seven points ahead of St. Cloud State's Ryan Lasch. No player since at least 1998 has won a WCHA scoring title by that margin.

Duncan joins Brandon Bochenski, Jeff Panzer, Jason Blake, Tony Hrkac and Bill Reichart as past WCHA scoring champs from UND.

Notes and quotes

-- U.S. College Hockey Online's Jayson Moy, who has correctly projected the NCAA tournament field for nine straight years, wrote this week that UND is a lock to get into the NCAA tournament "no matter what." But Hakstol said: "I don't believe there are any guarantees that we are in position for a national tournament berth. I don't want to take a chance. If you're not building momentum, you're not going to stick around very long anyway."


-- Inside College Hockey listed Duncan as the top contender for the Hobey Baker Award for the second straight week. CSTV ranks Duncan fourth.

-- UND has three 20-point defensemen Robbie Bina (25), Taylor Chorney (23) and Brian Lee (22) for the first time since 2000-01.

-- Hakstol on UND peaking at the right time: "We haven't peaked yet. If we've peaked, that's not going to be good enough for us. We need to keep getting better."

-- Duncan on what his team is playing for this weekend: "We want to keep things rolling. We want to play as many games as we possibly can. We all want to defend the Final Five championship that we won last year. And our first-year guys want to experience it."

Reach Schlossman at 780-1129, (800) 477-6572 ext. 129 or bschlossman@gfherald.com .

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