DENVER -- UND will be without its captain this weekend.
Junior defenseman Colton Poolman is battling an undisclosed injury and did not make the trip to Denver for UND’s two-game series against the No. 7 Pioneers (8:07 p.m. Friday, 8:07 p.m. Saturday, Magness Arena).
It will mark the first time that Poolman has missed a game in his college career. He had played in all 105.
The length of Poolman’s absence is yet to be determined.
Poolman has been battling his injury and it became worse during last weekend's home series against St. Cloud State, a source told the Herald.
One positive is that the Fighting Hawks have next week off, which will give Poolman an extra seven days to recover before the team’s next series at Western Michigan.
Poolman has been UND’s top defender this season, frequently drawing the assignment of shutting down opponents’ top players. The East Grand Forks Senior High graduate has four goals and 11 points in 25 games this season, while carrying the team’s best plus-minus for a defenseman at plus-7.
It is the latest key injury for a Fighting Hawks team that has been plagued by them.
Last week, Grant Mismash suffered a knee injury in a collision with St. Cloud State captain Jimmy Schuldt during Friday night’s series opener. UND coach Brad Berry said that Mismash’s season is probably over.
Mismash, a second-round draft pick of the Nashville Predators, is one of UND’s top goal-scorers.
Poolman and Mismash will join forward Joel Janatuinen and goalie Peter Thome out this weekend.
Because of all of the injuries, UND traveled with three goalies, including newly added netminder Harrison Feeney.
Earlier this season, UND first-liner Nick Jones missed seven games due to a lower-body injury. Other players who have missed time due to injury include defenseman Jonny Tychonick, forward Dixon Bowen, forward Ludvig Hoff, forward Collin Adams, forward Jackson Keane and forward Gavin Hain.
Without Poolman, UND’s healthy defensemen are going to be asked to take on a heavier workload.
That includes Tychonick, a second-round pick of the Ottawa Senators, who returned from a seven-week injury absence last weekend against St. Cloud State.
“Probably the best games to come back into,” Tychonick said of last weekend’s split. “The No. 1 team. You’re jacked up. You’re ready to go. Everything else kind of takes care of itself.
“I had a ton of confidence. I felt unbelievable. On the first shift, I told myself to make one good play and kind of get your mind back into it. I felt like I did. After that, everything settled down. My mind was ready to go. That was maybe a little bit of a concern how fast my mind was going to move. But I felt like I got really prepared during the week of practice.”