UND MEN'S HOCKEY: Familiar faces, unfamiliar opponent
Joe Gleason isn't surprised when he runs into former high school teammates during his college hockey season. The 2007-08 Edina Hornets team that he captained to the state finals sent eight players to NCAA Division I hockey and they line four diff...
Joe Gleason isn't surprised when he runs into former high school teammates during his college hockey season.
The 2007-08 Edina Hornets team that he captained to the state finals sent eight players to NCAA Division I hockey and they line four different conferences.
This weekend, half of them will be playing in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Gleason and UND freshman forward Connor Gaarder will be going against Harvard forward Marshall Everson and defenseman Max Everson when the two teams play a two-game series beginning at 7:37 tonight.
"A lot of former cake-eaters are going to be on the ice," Gleason joked.
That Hornets team, which also featured Minnesota forward Zach Budish, Notre Dame forward Anders Lee, Holy Cross defenseman Brendan Baker and Colorado College forward Charlie Taft, went 28-3 and lost 3-0 in the state championship to Hill-Murray.
Marshall Everson is the second-leading goal scorer for the Crimson with four goals and seven points in 10 games. Max Everson, a Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick, has played defense in all 10 games, but doesn't have any points.
Crimson junior forward Luke Greiner (two goals, six points) also teamed with UND alternate captain Ben Blood on the 2006-07 Shattuck-St. Mary's team, so there is a bit of familiarity between the squads, even though Brad Eidsness was the only player in the lineup the last time these squads met in December 2008.
"I think Harvard, in a lot of ways, will be like the Russian game," Gleason said, "where we're really worried about ourselves. We do have some tape on them, but our main focus is going to be our game first."
UND coach Dave Hakstol said that Harvard's 4-3-3 record may be a little bit misleading because the Crimson have lost just one time in the last seven games.
"Teddy Donato coaches them very well," Hakstol said. "If you look at their performance in the last five or six games, they've been very successful. They have a big, veteran team up front. They are a little younger on the back end and in goal, but if you evaluate them overall, they are a very good, solid team."
UND's preparation for Harvard has been a little different this week. Because the second semester has not started, the team skated in the morning instead of afternoons, which is the usual routine.
"Guys joke around that it's a lot like the pro life," Gleason said. "We don't have school, we practice in the morning, we don't have anything to worry about. . . it's a lot of fun. But it's also a work week. We've got to get out of break-mode and get ready to go."
UND sophomore forward Brock Nelson, who is tied for fourth nationally with 14 goals, says the team is focused.
"It was definitely good to get back home and see the family, but it has been a good work week back here," Nelson said. "I think everyone is feeling pretty good. The first couple of days were tough after taking days off, but I think everyone is ready for the weekend."
Special teams key
Special teams will be an area to watch during this weekend's series.
Harvard has the best power play and the worst penalty kill in the nation.
The Crimson have scored 17 power-play goals on 53 chances (32.1 percent), but have allowed 11 power-play goals on 35 shorthanded situations.
Key power-play cogs have been defensemen Danny Biega and Patrick McNally and forwards Alex Killorn, Alex Fallstrom and Everson.
"We haven't talked about them much," Nelson said. "We've got to worry about our game, stay focused and worry about the keys for us. These are big games for the NCAA tournament. We've got to put a little emphasis on these and get ready for the next couple of weekends."
Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to email@example.com .