KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Westin Michaud has a new nickname.

First, for some background: UND holds its weekly shootout competition on Thursdays. If you score, you stay in until there's one last person standing.

Michaud entered Lawson Ice Arena 0-for-9 in the shootout this season. He hadn't scored once.

However, it finally happened. He scored on a move on top of the crease, fell to the ground, lightly slid into the boards and held his hands in the air for several seconds before getting up. Then, in Round 2, Michaud scored again. This time, it was on his backhand.

The only shooters to make Round 3 were Michaud and Collin Adams. After Adams missed, Michaud had a chance to win it. The players all started chanting, "Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!"

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It was an ode to the movie, 'Rudy,' where an underdog battles to make Notre Dame's football team as a walk-on.

I don't think Michaud's nickname originated Thursday afternoon, but it might just stick after that.

'Rudy' technically didn't win the shootout Thursday. That designation went to the goalies after they shut down Michaud and Adams on a couple of attempts. But he and his teammates did provide that moment of fun.

UND has been having fun on the road this season.

Although the team has only played six games away from The Ralph -- two each at Minnesota State-Mankato, Denver and Minnesota -- it has already accomplished some impressive feats in those contests.

It was 40 years ago today that an editorial ran in the Duluth paper saying that UND was "pillaging, plundering their way through the arenas of the West." That's quite a line. While this team's style is different, it's trying to do the same.

Gino Gasparini, the coach of that team 40 years ago, offered a few thoughts on this year's team in this story, which also details how UND's road record has been an amazingly accurate predictor of whether the team reaches the NCAA tournament in 29 of the last 30 years.

Lawson has a great environment because of the large student section, nicknamed the Lawson Lunatics. Their favorite target this weekend will be Andrew Peski and this story explains why. See that story for 10 other things to know about this weekend's series.

This week's Q&A is with UND captain Colton Poolman, who loves movies and watches a lot of them.

Follow the game

When: 6 Central tonight, 6 p.m. Central on Saturday.

Where: Lawson Ice Arena, Kalamazoo, Mich.

TV: None.

Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM).

Webcast: NCHC.tv.

Live blog: GrandForksHerald.com.

Tale of the tape

North Dakota-- Statistical category --Western Michigan
12-1-2Record7-5-2
3Ranking17
4.13 (4th)Offense3.14 (18th)
1.67 (3rd)Defense2.79 (33rd)
17.5 (36th)Power play15.8 (42nd)
90.4 (7th)Penalty kill80.3 (36th)
54.1 (10th)Faceoffs56.4 (1st)
.917 (17th)Goaltending.906 (28th)

National ranking in parenthesis

The focus: Paul Washe

Despite all of its injury problems this season, Western Michigan has been able to keep its head above water with outstanding play by junior forward Paul Washe. The former Fargo Force player leads Western Michigan in goals (seven) and points (14) in 14 games. Not only is Washe producing offensively, he’s also the best faceoff man in the country (among those who have taken more than 45 draws) at 67.4 percent. Washe has been .500 or better on faceoffs in all 14 games this season, including a 20-3 night at Colorado College and a 15-2 night at Denver.

Western Michigan forward Paul Washe skates in a game against Michigan earlier this season. Photo by Andrew Malewicz/WMU Athletics.
Western Michigan forward Paul Washe skates in a game against Michigan earlier this season. Photo by Andrew Malewicz/WMU Athletics.

Pick to click: Gavin Hain

UND sophomore forward Gavin Hain has just one goal in 14 games this season -- and that one came into an empty net. Hain is going to break out sooner than later, and this weekend's series could be a prime time to do it. The series is expected to be fast and physical and that's the type of game Hain can play. A year ago, Hain's line with Mark Senden and Cole Smith scored twice in UND's win at Lawson Ice Arena.

Fighting Hawks forward Gavin Hain watches as his shot sails past Denver goalie Devin Cooley to score his first career goal in the first period of a game last season at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D. Nick Nelson / The Rink Live
Fighting Hawks forward Gavin Hain watches as his shot sails past Denver goalie Devin Cooley to score his first career goal in the first period of a game last season at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D. Nick Nelson / The Rink Live

Weekend prediction

UND has played six road games so far this season. But with a good UND cheering section in Mankato and outstanding support in Denver and Minneapolis, this weekend might be the first time that the Fighting Hawks have faced a truly hostile opposing crowd. Lawson Ice Arena is a tough place to get a sweep. In the last three-and-a-half years, the only teams to do it have been eventual national champion Minnesota Duluth in 2017-18 and Penrose Cup champion St. Cloud State last season

WMU 4-3, UND 5-2

Fighting Hawks forward Jasper Weatherby (#14) and Western Michigan defenseman Jared Kucharek (#25) watch as a shot hits the mask of Bronco goalie Trevor Gorsuch in a game last season. Photo by Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
Fighting Hawks forward Jasper Weatherby (#14) and Western Michigan defenseman Jared Kucharek (#25) watch as a shot hits the mask of Bronco goalie Trevor Gorsuch in a game last season. Photo by Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald


USCHO rankings

1. MSU-Mankato (44 first-place votes) 12-1-1

2. Cornell (6) 9-0

3. UND 12-1-2

4. Denver 9-3-2

5. Clarkson 10-3-1

6. Penn State 11-4

7. Ohio State 9-4-1

8. Northeastern 10-4-2

9. Notre Dame 8-4-2

10. Boston College 9-4

11. UMass 9-4-1

12. Harvard 6-1

13. Bowling Green 10-5

14. Minn. Duluth 7-6-1

15. Providence 8-4-3

16. UMass Lowell 9-3-4

17. Western Michigan 7-5-2

18. Omaha 6-4-2

19. Wisconsin 7-8-1

20. Arizona State 7-4-1

Pairwise rankings

1. Cornell

2. MSU-Mankato

3. UND

4. Denver

5. Bowling Green

6. Penn State

7. Boston College

8. Notre Dame

9. Ohio State

10. Michigan Tech

11. Harvard

12. Minnesota Duluth

13. Clarkson

14. UMass

15. UMass Lowell

16. Western Michigan

17. Providence

18. Arizona State

19. Northeastern

20. Army

Player stats

UND

Scoring

29 Jordan Kawaguchi, jr, f 7-15--22

24 J. Bernard-Docker, so, d 3-11--14

18 Collin Adams, jr, f 5-8--13

11 Westin Michaud, sr, f 6-6--12

22 Shane Pinto, fr, f 6-5--11

16 Grant Mismash, jr, f 3-7--10

6 Colton Poolman, sr, d 2-8--10

3 Matt Kiersted, jr, d 1-9--10

26 Cole Smith, sr, f 6-2--8

14 Jasper Weatherby, so, f 5-3--8

8 Harrison Blaisdell, fr, f 2-6--8

17 Jonny Tychonick, so, d 3-4--7

9 Dixon Bowen, sr, f 5-1--6

19 Mark Senden, so, f 2-3--5

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

28 Judd Caulfield, fr, f 0-4--4

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

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

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

20 Josh Rieger, jr, d 1-0--1

7 Zach Yon, sr, f 0-1--1

15 Ethan Frisch, fr, d 0-1--1

31 Adam Scheel, so, g 0-1--1

5 Casey Johnson, sr, f 0-0--0

13 Carson Albrecht, fr, f NA

Goaltending

31 Adam Scheel, so 12-1-2 1.64 .917

1 Peter Thome, jr NA

35 Harrison Feeney, fr NA

Western Michigan

Scoring

23 Paul Washe, jr, f 7-7--14

26 Ethen Frank, jr, f 4-8--12

16 Hugh McGing, sr, f 2-9--11

13 Drew Worrad, so, f 5-4--9

9 Dawson DiPietro, sr, f 4-5--9

11 Rhett Kingston, so, f 4-4--8

21 Josh Passolt, jr, f 1-6--7

3 Michael Joyaux, so, d 0-7--7

4 Luke Bafia, sr, d 0-6--6

7 Ronnie Attard, fr, d 4-1--5

22 Austin Rueschhoff, jr, f 4-1--5

10 Lawton Courtnall, sr, f 3-2--5

24 Mattias Samuelsson, so, d 1-3--4

12 Cole Gallant, so, f 0-4--4

2 Kale Bennett, sr, d 2-1--3

17 Wade Allison, sr, f 1-2--3

18 Brett Van Os, jr, f 1-2--3

6 Scooter Brickey, fr, d 0-3--3

14 Jason Polin, fr, f 1-1--2

28 Cam Lee, sr, d 0-2--2

25 Jared Kucharek, so, d 0-2--2

19 Lukas Samuelsson, jr, f 0-1--1

20 Jamie Rome, so, f 0-0--0

27 Cam Orchard, jr, f 0-0--0

Goaltending

30 Brandon Bussi, fr 7-5-2 2.68 .909

33 Ben Blacker, sr 0-0-0 3.25 .905

1 Austin Cain, jr NA

31 Will Massey, sr NA