UND MEN'S HOCKEY: Not a fun place to play

DENVER -- Five years ago today, Rylan Kaip fired a shot through an Erik Fabian screen and past goalie Peter Mannino. That was the last time a Sioux player has scored an even-strength goal in Magness Arena. UND hasn't visited this place often in r...

Fighting Sioux logo
Fighting Sioux logo (AP Photo/University of North Dakota via The Dickinson Press, File)

DENVER -- Five years ago today, Rylan Kaip fired a shot through an Erik Fabian screen and past goalie Peter Mannino.

That was the last time a Sioux player has scored an even-strength goal in Magness Arena.

UND hasn't visited this place often in recent years, and when it has, goals and victories haven't been easy to come by.

This is the only Western Collegiate Hockey Association arena where UND has a losing record since Dave Hakstol took over as coach in 2004 (3-5).

Not a single player on the current Sioux team has won in this arena and Danny Kristo is the only player who has registered a point here.


Perhaps this is part of the reason why UND departed Wednesday night -- a day earlier than normal -- in order to get in a full practice Thursday in preparation for this weekend's rivalry series.

"We didn't play (in Magness) last year, but our freshman year, we went out there and got swept," junior center Corban Knight said. "It seems like forever ago, but the older guys who were here for that series, that sweep is fresh in our minds.

"It left a little sour taste in our mouths. But look at the standings. That should be enough motivation for us to have a good weekend and really work to get some points out of the weekend."

UND (17-11-3, 13-10-1 WCHA) has only played in Denver once in the last three years. It got swept in November 2009, losing 1-0 and 3-2 contests. All six goals in the series were scored on the power play.

Prior to that, the Sioux visited in 2007 and earned a split. It lost 1-0 in the series opener and won the finale 3-1. Only one goal in that series was scored at even-strength.

UND has scored just five goals in its last four games in Magness Arena.

"It's going to be a challenging weekend for us," Knight said. "Offensively, we aren't the highest scoring team in the nation, as everyone knows. There's an onus on the leaders to step up. It's going to be a challenge, but we're looking forward to it."

The game has significant implications in both the Pairwise Rankings and the league standings. UND is in a three-way tie for fourth place in the league, three points behind the third-place Pioneers (18-10-4, 13-7-4 WCHA).


The Sioux are ranked No. 14 in the Pairwise Rankings, on the bubble of making the NCAA tournament.

"It's a big weekend throughout our league," Hakstol said. "We're slowly scratching and clawing our way up the standings. We need to keep that going against a great opponent. It's a very challenging road trip and building to go into against a good team. We've got a lot of work to do in our league play in terms of standings as well as the national scene. There are a lot of different pieces to the puzzle."

Missing players

UND's injury problems have been well documented. The Sioux only have 18 available skaters for the rest of the season -- the minimum needed to fill out a full lineup.

Among the players on the trip is goaltender Aaron Dell, who missed last weekend's series against Michigan Tech with an undisclosed injury. Hakstol said he's not sure if Dell will be available to play. Third-string goalie Tate Maris also is on the trip.

Denver won't be at full strength either.

The Pioneers will continue to play without forward Beau Bennett, a first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and David Makowski, an offensive defenseman.

Bennett had 13 points in 10 games to start the year before having wrist surgery. Makowski had 12 points in 20 games.


The Pioneers also announced late Wednesday that forward Dan Olszewski, who played in just nine games this season, was suspended indefinitely. Olszewski won't play for the rest of this season.

Earlier this year, Denver played without starting goalie Sam Brittain and stay-at-home defenseman John Ryder, but both players have since returned.

CHI makes a change

College Hockey Inc., executive director Paul Kelly resigned his post this week under pressure from the Hockey Commissioners Association, which oversees college hockey's educational and promotional arm.

Kelly, the former NHL Players' Association head, had been on the job for over two years.

Several coaches spoke out against Kelly's forced resignation. Hakstol said he didn't have much background information on why Kelly was ousted by the commissioners.

"I think Paul Kelly was a good man," Hakstol said. "He was working on some very important issues for us as college hockey programs. He was making some good headway. I was an advocate of Paul's and I liked the things he was doing and enjoyed working with him. I'm sorry to see him moving on."



Former Sioux players Bill LeCaine and Jake Marto attended practice Thursday. LeCaine lives in the Denver area. Marto plays for the Colorado Eagles in the East Coast Hockey League. . . Tonight's game on NBC Sports Network will be called by TSN veteran broadcaster Gord Miller. Longtime NHL referee Kerry Fraser will do the color commentary. . . Denver senior defenseman John Lee is the younger brother of former Sioux defenseman Brian Lee. . . UND has won four of the last five games against the Pioneers, including three playoff games. . . While UND is 3-5 in Magness Arena under Hakstol, four of those five losses were by one goal.

Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to .

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
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