Colton Poolman is back.

After missing last Saturday night's U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game with a lower-body injury, he will play in tonight's series opener between UND and Miami (7:37 p.m., Ralph Engelstad Arena), according to UND head coach Brad Berry.

Berry said he liked what he saw from Poolman, the team's captain and top defenseman, this week in practice.

Poolman, like everyone else, hates missing games. He's only missed three of 124 in his entire college career.

Having him back for this series might be extra important.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

Miami has an explosive top line that can be hard to defend. Because this game is at home for UND, it will have last line change and be able to dictate matchups.

That means you'll likely see Poolman on the ice against Gordie Green, Casey Gilling and Karch Bachman quite a bit.

It also means UND can throw the Gavin Hain, Mark Senden and Cole Smith unit against that group if Berry chooses to also match forward lines.

Although Miami has done a better job of spreading out its scoring as of late (11 different players have scored Miami's last 14 goals), slowing down that top line will be a top priority for the Fighting Hawks.

Some interesting facts about that top line are in this week's 10 things to know about Miami University column.

We're now a month into the season, which isn't a huge sample size, but it's large enough to start taking a deeper look at statistics. I pulled eight interesting ones and they generally show why the Fighting Hawks are off to a strong 5-1-1 start (the story also says who is due for a goal this weekend against Miami).

The most in-depth piece to read this week is on former UND forward Joel Janatuinen. You may recall that Janatuinen missed almost all of last season with an illness that we never heard more about. From his native Finland, Janatuinen opened up about that this week. As it turns out, he was dealing with health issues far longer than we had publicly known. Read that piece here.

This week's video Q&A is with graduate student Westin Michaud. Watch that here.

Game details

Who: Miami University at No. 10 North Dakota

When: 7:37 p.m. Friday, 7:07 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Ralph Engelstad Arena (limited tickets available).

TV: Midco Sports Network (GF Ch. 27/622).

Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM).

Webcast: NCHC.tv.

Live blog: GrandForksHerald.com.

Tale of the tape

MiamiKey statisticNorth Dakota
2-3-2Record5-1-1
NRRank10
2.86Offense3.86
3.71Defense1.43
10.3PP8.0
75.8PK95.2
.876Save %.917

The focus

Defending Miami’s top line will be a major key for UND. The unit of explosive-skating wingers Gordie Green and Karch Bachman — centered by junior Casey Gilling — has the ability to take over games, and they’ve done it this season. Green already has three- and four-point games this season. Bachman has a point in six of seven games. That line will challenge UND’s shorthanded defensive core -- Gabe Bast will remain out with an upper-body injury -- greatly.

Miami's Gordie Green. Photo by Ricardo Trevino / Miami athletics.
Miami's Gordie Green. Photo by Ricardo Trevino / Miami athletics.

Pick to click

Grant Mismash is off to an excellent start. His statistics -- four points in seven games -- don't quite reflect how well he has played overall. But if he keeps playing the way he has recently, those numbers are going to catch up and he's going to have a breakthrough. That could start to happen this weekend.

UND's Jordan Kawaguchi, background, and Grant Mismash celebrate Kawaguchi's game-tying goal against Bemidji State's Zach Driscoll in the third period Friday at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service
UND's Jordan Kawaguchi, background, and Grant Mismash celebrate Kawaguchi's game-tying goal against Bemidji State's Zach Driscoll in the third period Friday at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service

Weekend prediction

This is one series where playing at home — and having last line change — could be advantageous for the Fighting Hawks. Miami has heavily relied on its top line for offense and UND will largely get to pick its matchups against Gordie Green, Casey Gilling and Karch Bachman. These games won't be easy but the Fighting Hawks, but they should control possession enough to win.

UND 3-2, 2-1

UND's Rhett Gardner celebrates after scoring a goal in the second period as Miami goalie Ryan Larkin looks on. Photo by Eric Hylden/Forum News Service
UND's Rhett Gardner celebrates after scoring a goal in the second period as Miami goalie Ryan Larkin looks on. Photo by Eric Hylden/Forum News Service

Player statistics

UND

Scoring

29 Jordan Kawaguchi, jr, f, 2-5--7

24 J. Bernard-Docker, so, d, 0-6--6

22 Shane Pinto, fr, f, 2-3--5

18 Collin Adams, jr, f, 1-4--5

9 Dixon Bowen, sr, f, 3-1--4

11 Westin Michaud, sr, f, 3-1--4

8 Harrison Blaisdell, fr, f, 2-2--4

26 Cole Smith, sr, f, 2-2--4

16 Grant Mismash, jr, f, 2-2--4

19 Mark Senden, so, f, 2-2--4

6 Colton Poolman, sr, d, 1-3--4

2 Gabe Bast, jr, d, 2-1--3

10 Gavin Hain, so, f, 1-2--3

21 Jackson Keane, jr, f, 1-2--3

4 Andrew Peski, sr, d, 1-2--3

3 Matt Kiersted, jr, d, 1-2--3

17 Jonny Tychonick, so, d, 1-1--2

14 Jasper Weatherby, so, f, 0-2--2

28 Judd Caulfield, fr, f, 0-1--1

15 Ethan Frisch, fr, d, 0-0--0

7 Zach Yon, sr, f, 0-0--0

20 Josh Rieger, jr, d, 0-0--0

13 Carson Albrecht, fr, f, NA

Goaltending

31 Adam Scheel, so, 5-1-1, 1.42 GAA, .917 SP

1 Peter Thome, jr, NA

35 Harrison Feeney, fr, NA

UND's Jordan Kawaguchi works for a loose puck that goalie Ryan Larkin covers up as Alec Mahalak defends in the second period. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
UND's Jordan Kawaguchi works for a loose puck that goalie Ryan Larkin covers up as Alec Mahalak defends in the second period. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

MIAMI

Scoring

9 Gordie Green, sr, f, 4-5--9

85 Karch Bachman, sr, f, 4-3--7

39 Casey Gilling, jr, f, 1-6--7

13 Derek Daschke, so, d, 1-5--6

5 Jack Clement, fr, d, 2-3--5

12 John Sladic, fr, f, 2-1--3

14 Noah Jordan, so, f, 1-2--3

67 Phil Knies, jr, f, 1-2--3

18 Monte Graham, so, f, 1-1--2

3 Bray Crowder, so, d, 0-2--2

11 Rourke Russell, jr, d, 0-2--2

28 Chase Pletzke, fr, f, 1-0--1

10 Ben Lown, jr, f, 1-0--1

21 Ryan Savage, fr, f, 1-0--1

20 Christian Mohs, jr, f, 0-1--1

25 Scott Corbett, so, f, 0-1--1

34 Alec Capstick, fr, d, 0-1--1

19 Brian Hawkinson, so, f, 0-1--1

4 Andrew Sinard, so, d, 0-0--0

7 Grant Frederic, sr, d, 0-0--0

22 Carter Johnson, sr, f, 0-0--0

8 Chaz Switzer, sr, d, 0-0--0

6 Alec Mahalak, jr, d, NA

26 Matt Barry, so, f, NA

Goaltending

31 Ryan Larkin, sr, 2-3-0, 3.72 GAA, .890 SP

33 Ben Kraws, fr, 0-0-2, 3.22 GAA, .852 SP

36 Grant Valentine, jr, NA

North Dakota's Shane Gersich and Miami University's Karch Bachman skate for the puck in the second period Friday, Nov. 10, in Grand Forks. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service
North Dakota's Shane Gersich and Miami University's Karch Bachman skate for the puck in the second period Friday, Nov. 10, in Grand Forks. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service

The games

NCHC

Tonight

Miami at UND, 7:37 p.m. (MidcoSN)

Ferris State at Western Michigan, 6 p.m.

St. Cloud State at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.

Denver at Minnesota Duluth, 7:07 p.m.

Wisconsin at Omaha, 7:07 p.m.

Saturday

Miami at UND, 7:07 p.m. (MidcoSN)

St. Cloud State at Northern Michigan, 5:07 p.m.

Western Michigan at Ferris State, 6:07 p.m.

Denver at Minnesota Duluth, 7:07 p.m.

Wisconsin at Omaha, 7:07 p.m.

Big Ten

Tonight

Minnesota at Michigan, 5:30 p.m. (BTN)

Michigan State at Penn State, 6 p.m.

Ohio State at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)

Wisconsin at Omaha, 7:07 p.m.

WCHA

Tonight

Ferris State at Western Michigan, 6 p.m.

MSU-Mankato at Michigan Tech, 6:07 p.m.

St. Cloud State at Northern Michigan, 6:07 p.m.

Lake Superior State at Bemidji State, 7:07 p.m.

Alaska Anchorage at Alabama Huntsville, 7:07 p.m.

Arizona State at Alaska (Fairbanks), 10:07 p.m.

USCHO rankings

1. Denver (49 first-place votes) 8-0

2. UMass (1) 6-1

3. MSU-Mankato 6-1-1

4. Cornell 2-0

5. Notre Dame 5-0-1

6. Penn State 6-1

7. Minnesota Duluth 3-3

8. Clarkson 5-2-1

9. Ohio State 6-1-1

10. North Dakota 5-1-1

11. Providence 4-3-1

12. Wisconsin 4-4

13. Northeastern 4-3-1

14. UMass Lowell 6-2-2

15. Quinnipiac 4-3

16. Northern Michigan 6-1-1

17. Bowling Green 5-4

18. Harvard 1-0

19. Boston College 3-4

20. Omaha 4-1-1