UND star forward Jordan Kawaguchi was asked Saturday night to imagine what it would be like to go against the Fighting Hawks' line of Mark Senden, Cole Smith and Gavin Hain.
"I don't want to imagine that," Kawaguchi said.
The reputation of UND's shutdown line continues to grow. In UND's dominant 8-1 win over Colorado College at Ralph Engelstad Arena, the Tigers' top line of Nick Halloran, Chris Wilkie and Troy Conzo -- which UND countered with the Senden line thanks to the last change at home -- was held without a point and finished a combined minus-11.
Wilkie was a minus-5. He came into the weekend easily leading the country with 5.5 shots on goal per game. The former UND forward from Omaha had one shot on net in the series finale and five total for the weekend. He left Saturday's game late in the third period with a hand injury.
Halloran entered the weekend with 22 points in 21 games. He was injured for the UND series last season, but two years ago Halloran scored in three of four meetings with the Fighting Hawks.
"Watching them every night, every time you touch the puck, you get hit," Kawaguchi said. "You don't have time and space. They're a workhorse line. Those three together are so unbelievable. I wouldn't want to play against them. I think they drive our team in terms of momentum. When we need a momentum shift to get it back, they do what they do. They're a big part of our team."
Not only did the Senden line hold down Colorado College's scoring line, but the group chipped in with a Smith and Senden goal on Saturday. Smith scored his 10th goal of the year and Senden his fifth.
Smith, who's 6-foot-3 and 197 pounds, has a unique combination of size, strength and speed.
"You think you have more opportunity than you do, and they're right on you," UND defenseman Andrew Peski said. "Smith might be the strongest guy I've ever played against. When you get a hit from him, you feel it the next morning. We know whatever top line they're going against, they're going to have a tough night because they're relentless."
UND coach Brad Berry said the Senden line plays the right way.
"They're heavy on pucks, they possess pucks, they advance pucks," Berry said. "I think above all, they feed off each other."
It wasn't all good news for the Senden line against Colorado College. Hain suffered a lower-body injury in the first period and didn't return to the bench.
Berry said the team is still evaluating the extent of the injury but also noted UND is off next weekend.
With Hain out of the lineup, Berry moved freshman forward Harrison Blaisdell up to the Senden group from the fourth line.
Blaisdell, a fifth-round NHL draft pick of the Winnipeg Jets, registered an assist on Senden's goal. Berry said he put Blaisdell on that line because he shares a similar mentality.
"He's got a little bit of that Senden, Smitty mentality," Berry said. "He was on that line earlier this year. He's bounced around on a few different lines. He's a guy who has a motor, and he takes away time and space. He made some really good plays tonight. It hurts to lose guys but on the other side -- on the positive side -- other guys got to play, and we got a little more body of work on what guys can do."