Chris Jandric is among the country's top-scoring defensemen
Only one UND blue liner has tallied more points in the last decade than Jandric's 33 this season.
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Chris Jandric grew up chasing his older brother, Steven, around the rink in Prince George, B.C.
They were teammates every other year growing up, both playing forward.
But that changed when Chris was about 10 or 11 years old.
"I moved back to 'D' when we needed some puck movement," Jandric said. "I was like, 'You know what? I can skate pretty well.' And I ended up switching back. Ever since then, I was thinking it might be easier to play 'D' for me and make teams."
That move started Jandric down a path that has led him to where he is today.
Jandric, a UND senior, is one of the top five defenseman scorers in all of college hockey.
He has 33 points in 38 games entering this weekend's National Collegiate Hockey Conference Frozen Faceoff. UND takes on St. Cloud State at 7:30 p.m. Friday in a semifinal game at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center.
"We're all just excited to see how far we can go," Jandric said. "We're all pretty confident in the way that we're playing right now and I think if we keep playing this way, there should be awesome outcomes for us."
Jandric has been a big offense driver for UND.
Since Ralph Engelstad Arena opened in 2001, only four UND defensemen have tallied more points in a season.
Andy Schneider had 41 in 2002-03. Chay Genoway had 37 as a fifth-year senior in 2010-11. Christian Wolanin led UND in scoring with 35 in 2017-18. Brad Miller had 35 in 2008-09 after UND moved him from forward to defense.
Jandric generates most of his offense through his decision-making and skating.
"A lot of times, when guys don't have the puck, you can tell how fast they are, because they don't have to handle the puck," UND coach Brad Berry said. "But man, even when he has the puck, it's elite. When he has power-play breakouts or when he's throwing a puck up to the forwards and bypassing some of our guys going on the rush, he's got high-end ability and high-end speed. When he walks the blue line, he's evasive."
Jandric has quarterbacked UND's power play since Day 1 this season. That unit ranks No. 2 nationally with a 27.2 conversion rate. He's tallied 26 of his 33 points this season on the power play.
Jandric also leads UND in minutes played this season with 847:56, an average of 23:11 per game.
"It seems like he's tireless," Berry said. "He plays a lot of minutes for us in every situation — heavy minutes, light minutes. It seems like he doesn't ever get tired. It's a tribute to him and who he is and how he takes care of his body."
Starting at Alaska
Jandric and his brother, Steven, committed to Alaska (Fairbanks) together when they were playing in the British Columbia Hockey League.
"For us, being under-developed, we wanted to go to a school where you knew you would play right away," Jandric said. "For me, it was still trying to put weight on. That was a big thing for me — just get physically stronger. My freshman year and sophomore year, I really tried to focus on that."
When Alaska shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21, Steven transferred to Denver. He played one season there, one at Merrimack, then turned pro. Steven currently plays for Springfield (Mass.) in the American Hockey League.
Chris remained in school at Alaska in 2020-21 and finished his degree in business. He completed it in three years. The following season, he transferred to UND.
"With this transfer portal, you never know what you're going to get," Berry said. "At the end of the day, you're hoping that you get a very good player and an outstanding person that can add to your culture with outstanding character. He's done it. He's checked every box. We were fortunate enough to have him for two years. I wish he would have been here all four years of his career. I know he says that all the time as well."
Jandric is scheduled to earn his masters in public administration from UND.
"He's making the best of his situation as far as maximizing each and every day," Berry said. "He's added to our group here. I'll tell you what, it's fun to have Chris Jandric in our group because he just pushes the bar every day for us."
NCAA's top defenseman scorers
1. Lane Hutson, Boston University, 44 points
2. Luke Hughes, Michigan, 42 points
3t. Mike Benning, Denver, 34 points
3t. Jake Livingstone, MSU-Mankato, 34 points
5. Chris Jandric, North Dakota, 33 points
Most points by UND defenseman since 2001-02
1. Andy Schneider, 2002-03, 41 points
2. Chay Genoway, 2010-11, 37 points
3t. Christian Wolanin, 2017-18, 35 points
3t. Brad Miller, 2008-09, 35 points
5. Chris Jandric, 2022-23, 33 points*
6t. Chay Genoway, 2008-09, 32 points
6t. Robbie Bina, 2006-07, 32 points
*Entering NCHC Frozen Faceoff