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Sioux, Badgers look for spark

Wisconsin's 0-5-1 record may be misleading -- not just because the Badgers have opened the season against four teams ranked in the top seven nationally.

Wisconsin's 0-5-1 record may be misleading -- not just because the Badgers have opened the season against four teams ranked in the top seven nationally.

It's because the Badgers have had third-period leads in half of those games, a second-period lead in another.

In fact, last Saturday's 5-2 loss to Minnesota is the only game Wisconsin has trailed after one period.

"They haven't won a game," UND coach Dave Hakstol says, "but arguably they could have won all six."

This weekend's old fashioned rivalry between two of college hockey's perennial powers is entering unfamiliar ground. Both squads are trying to find their ways after slow starts.


UND is 1-3, making the combined record of the two teams entering tonight's Halloween game a frightening 1-8-1.

"We haven't had a great start," UND assistant captain Matt Watkins said. "We need to win some games to get where we want to be. We feel like we've gotten better with every game we've played so far and that's important."

The Achilles' heel has been different for Wisconsin and UND.

The Sioux struggled on special teams, scoring on just one of their first 31 power plays of the season. But that tide started to turn two weekends ago against Minnesota State-Mankato when the Sioux scored three consecutive power-play goals during the third period of a comeback win.

Wisconsin has struggled keeping its opponents off the scoreboard. The usually stingy Badgers have allowed at least five goals in five of the six games this season. Their goaltenders' combined save percentage is .864 and goals-against average is 4.93.

"I don't care what their record is or what their motivation is," Hakstol said. "They are going to come here and play well. That puts the onus on us, in our building, to build off what we did last Saturday night down in Mankato."

Coaches, not fans,

pleased with rules


Angry e-mails have been filtering into the Western Collegiate Hockey Association offices saying that too many penalties are being called because of the new rules directives.

They aren't coming from the coaches, though, commissioner Bruce McLeod says.

"We've had one complaint from a coach so far," McLeod said. "And it was because the refs weren't calling it tight enough, not that they were calling too much.

"In general, from a fan standpoint, our e-mails have been negative. They say that there are too many power plays, too many penalties, you can't hit people anymore. But I will tell you that the coaches aren't complaining."

Penalties are, in fact, up this season.

UND was the most penalized team in the WCHA last season, averaging 18.3 penalty minutes per game. The average WCHA team is being penalized 20.4 minutes this season.

UND's average of a year ago would rank seventh this season.

"The kids have to adjust," McLeod said.


"I think they're calling the game the way it should be called," Hakstol said. "None of the battle level is taken away."

Legends to be

recognized this weekend

On Saturday night, UND will honor both the 1958-59 national championship team as well as five players who will be inducted into the Sioux Hockey Legends.

The inductees include forward Bob Harris (1956-57), forward John Wade (1953-56), defenseman Ralph "Tucker" Lyndon (1957-60), forward Ken Johannson (1950-53) and defenseman Bill Steenson (1956-59).

The 1958-59 team is being recognized as it is the 50th anniversary of the program's first national championship.

"We definitely want to play well with the alumni here," Watkins said.

Fargo opens UP Center


The new United States Hockey League team in Fargo played its first home game Thursday night in the Urban Plains Center.

It was the first event to be held at the $25 million arena.

The Force played the first month of the season on the road as construction was completed. The finishing touches are still being put on the 5,000-seat arena, which will host the World Under-18 tournament in April.

Fargo is coached by Dean Blais, who led UND to national championships in 1997 and 2000. Blais was the coach of the Sioux when Ralph Engelstad Arena opened in 2001.


Today's Sioux Booster luncheon has been moved to Ralph Engelstad Arena's main lobby. It will begin at noon. . . . Wisconsin will be without forward Ben Street, who tied for the team lead in goal scoring last season. Street will miss three to six months with a knee injury. . . . The Badgers started the season by naming Blake Geoffrion captain and Street assistant captain. With Street's injury, the Badgers promoted defensemen Jamie McBain and Ryan McDonagh. . . . The Halloween home opener is UND's latest home opener since 1999-00. . . . The last time UND played on Halloween was 2003, when it beat Yale 8-4. . . . The first 200 children to register at KidSafe tonight will receive a bag filled with candy, a women's hockey ticket voucher, vitamin water and other items. KidSafe, located at guest services, gives children a wristband in order to find parents in case they get separated . . . There will be a costume parade tonight during the second intermission. To participate, meet near the Olympic Rink entrance on the main concourse of Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to bschlossman@gfherald.com .

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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