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UND coach Brad Berry gives update on injuries and illnesses ahead of series at Omaha

Fighting Hawks conclude the regular season this weekend.

020120 S GFH UNDMHKY GavinHain MattVernon01.jpg
Fighting Hawks forward Gavin Hain brings a point-blank shot to the edge of Colorado College goalie Matt Vernon's (30) crease in the first period of Friday's hockey game at Ralph Engelstad Arena. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald
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UND has been a lock to reach the NCAA men's hockey tournament for a while.

So, head coach Brad Berry has taken a cautious approach when it comes to injuries, just like he did in 2016, when UND went on to win the NCAA national championship.

That approach appears to be paying off.

For the first time this season, UND expects to have every player available as it heads into the final regular-season series at Omaha (7:07 p.m. Friday, 7:07 p.m. Saturday, Baxter Arena).

That means sophomore forward Gavin Hain is set to play in his first game since suffering a lower-body injury Feb. 1 against Colorado College. Hain missed the last six games.

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"He went through a couple days of practice last week," Berry said. "I thought he was good. There was no deviation from his play as far as going backwards. His conditioning wasn't up to par last weekend as far as getting him in. He skated hard every day this past weekend. He got into practice Monday, Tuesday and today and he looked very good. He looks like he's got a lot of energy and he's ready to play this week."

Hain's offensive production has lagged a little bit this season. He has two goals and 10 points in 26 games. But he's played a critical role on one of UND's most valuable lines alongside Mark Senden and Cole Smith. That line has excelled at shutting down opponents' top lines this season.

Rookie Harrison Blaisdell has, for the most part, played in Hain's spot on the shutdown line during the sophomore's absence.

Berry said he expects some extra energy from Hain this weekend.

"Smitty and Sendo keep themselves in great shape," Berry said. "But again, they've been playing every game, too, here. It's nice to have a guy that has some fresh legs and some energy to play again on that line here."

The flu has been running through the team the last couple of weeks, but Berry hopes that will soon be done.

"It seems like each week brings a new Monday or Tuesday where somebody is not feeling well," Berry said. "That's this time of year. We're not the only ones going through that. Other programs have it, too. So, you've got to manage that, then you have to run your practices accordingly.

"For the first time all year, we have everybody available, which is a good thing, knock on wood. You can't control the flu, viruses and different things like that. Hopefully we can stay away from both the physical injuries and the flu viruses."

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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