UND is not yet ruling out the possibility that standout freshman goaltender Adam Scheel will be able to return to the ice this season.
UND coach Brad Berry said Friday that tests on Scheel’s right knee revealed that his injuries aren’t as bad as the team initially feared, and Berry officially listed the netminder as week to week.
Scheel, who has been on crutches since sustaining the injury late in Saturday’s game at Western Michigan, will definitely miss this weekend’s series against Minnesota Duluth.
Sophomore goaltender Peter Thome will start the series opener -- his first regular-season action since Nov. 30 -- at 7:37 p.m. tonight in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Scheel’s possible return may depend on how long UND’s season lasts.
The Fighting Hawks (14-13-2) only have three weeks of the regular season remaining -- home against Minnesota Duluth this weekend, at Colorado College next weekend and home against Omaha on March 8-9.
With UND leaving for Colorado Springs next Wednesday -- just five days away -- it’s almost certain that Scheel will miss that series, too.
The Fighting Hawks are guaranteed a best-of-three, first-round National Collegiate Hockey Conference playoff series on March 15-17, but they’ll need to win that series to keep their season alive.
The NCHC Frozen Faceoff is scheduled for March 22-23 in St. Paul; the NCAA West Regional will be the last weekend in March in Fargo and the NCAA Frozen Four is scheduled for April 11-13 in Buffalo, N.Y.
Scheel, who was emerging as an NCHC rookie of the year candidate and landing on the radar of NHL scouts, was injured after a shorthanded goal by Western Michigan’s Hugh McGing on Saturday night in Lawson Ice Arena. UND forward Rhett Gardner and Western Michigan forward Jade McMullen, both trailing the play, got tangled up and crashed into the goalie.
Berry said Friday that it was a hockey play and there was no malicious intent from the Bronco forward.
Scheel remained on the ice for several minutes as team doctor Greg Greek and athletic trainer Mark Poolman attended to him. Scheel was eventually helped off the ice.
Thome, who was himself recovering from an injury, didn’t make the trip to Kalamazoo, so senior walk-on Ryan Anderson of Roseau, Minn., finished the final couple of minutes of game, making one save. It was the first action of Anderson’s career.
With Scheel out, UND has three options in net: Thome, Anderson and Harrison Feeney, who was added to the roster last month. Feeney played junior hockey for Lone Star in the North American Hockey League this season.
Scheel posted a .910 save percentage and a 2.07 goals-against average in 26 games this season. He will become just the second UND freshman goalie of the last 20 years to start the majority of games in net. The other was Brad Eidsness in 2008-09.