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UND MEN'S HOCKEY: 14 players miss practice due to illness and injuries

At this point, it's anybody's guess who will be able to play this weekend for the UND men's hockey team. "I can't even give you a prediction," UND coach Dave Hakstol said. A total of 14 players missed practice Tuesday with either illness or injur...

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At this point, it's anybody's guess who will be able to play this weekend for the UND men's hockey team.

"I can't even give you a prediction," UND coach Dave Hakstol said.

A total of 14 players missed practice Tuesday with either illness or injuries as the stomach flu is running through the UND squad.

Some players returned to practice, but others were still held out as UND prepared for this weekend's National Collegiate Hockey Conference matchup against Minnesota Duluth (7:37 p.m. Friday, 7:07 p.m. Saturday, Ralph Engelstad Arena).

The stomach flu hit the team over the weekend while playing a two-game series in Omaha, Neb. During Sunday's 3-2 win, captain Dillon Simpson was vomiting on the bench through the first two periods and was unable to play in the third.

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Others became sick during the game and a few were vomiting on the overnight bus ride back to Grand Forks.

"It was an interesting bus ride back," defenseman Nick Mattson said. "It got a little messy."

Because last weekend's series was Saturday-Sunday, the week of preparation for the Bulldogs was already a day short. Tuesday, which is usually UND's hardest day of practice during the week, turned into a lighter skate because so many players were missing.

"There were only like 10 of us out there," Mattson said. "Hopefully, they get better. It's just something we're going to have to deal with."

Hakstol admitted that it has been "a little" difficult to prepare for the weekend with the low numbers.

"You go out and do the work you can. We're preparing no matter what. Today's a work day. We'll have enough bodies to go out and have a practice and that's what we're going to do," Hakstol said before Wednesday's session. "The guys that are sick and injured have to stay home until they are healthy. That doesn't change anything. The numbers are a little depleted but that is what it is. We have a game Friday night and we're preparing for whatever the numbers are."

If there is some good news for UND it is that freshman forward Adam Tambellini, who missed last week with an injury, is back at practice and is expected to play against the Bulldogs.

Forward Brendan O'Donnell, who also missed the series in Omaha, has skated, but his status is still in question for the weekend.

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As for the guys with the stomach flu, time will tell who and how many players can suit up Friday.

"It's just something we're going to have to deal with," Mattson said. "It's not really an excuse."

Schlossman reports on sports. Call him at (701) 780-1129, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1129 or send e-mail to bschlossman@gfherald.com .

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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