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Category Archives: North Dakota

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Wild and Flames Slug it Out – Dumba Injured

Over the years, the National Hockey League has changed significantly, rarely do you see staged fights at center ice anymore.
That’s a good thing.
For the most part, NHL rosters no longer contain one-dimensional players that fight. Those players are normally rostered in the American Hockey League and called up for emergencies. Those players should be locked in a glass case that says, break glass in case of emergency.
In today’s NHL, players must be able to play in all three zones. Players will still fight, but it’s not a focus like it once was. It’s an extra skill set. Players like Wayne Simmons are a premium, he’s can fight and score goals.
On December 6, 2018, the Minnesota Wild lost to the Calgary Flames 2-0. During that game, there were two incidents. First, Wild defenseman Matt Dumba saw Flames center Mikael Backlund skating with the puck in the Flames end. Dumba lined up Backlund and ran him over, delivering a massive hit.
The hit incensed the Flamers bench. Enter fourth-line forward Ryan Lomberg, he chased Dumba down, grabbed him and started punching him. The on-ice officials soon intervened. When the dust cleared, Dumba was still on the ice and Lomberg was in the showers with seven minutes in penalties (two-minute minor instigator, five-minute major fighting, and a game misconduct). Lomberg was suspended for two games by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
The Flames didn’t like the hit and their players and head coach complained about the hit in the post-game press conference.

During today’s rematch, 40 seconds into the game, Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk challenged Matt Dumba to a fight. The two squared off and had a spirited fight.

Second, there was another transgression that needed to be addressed. In the previous meeting, Flames defenseman Mark Giordano injured Wild captain Mikko Koivu with a dirty, bush-league leg check. (Below is the video of the dirty hit.)

Giordano's trip on Koivu #Flames #MNWild #MINvsCGY pic.twitter.com/d0ahN21nOQ
— Sportsnet 960 (@Sportsnet960) December 7, 2018

At the time, no one from the Wild challenged Giordano. On his way off the ice, Koivu punched Giordano and a scrum ensued. For his efforts, Giordano was assessed a two-minute minor penalty and was suspended for two games the next day by the NHL’s Department of Player safety.
The Wild Players took Giordano’s number, and that act would be avenged during today’s game. At the 18:03 mark of the second period, Wild forward Matt Hendricks challenged Giordano to a fight, settling that score.
“I think they didn’t like Dumba’s hit; that was known right from the get-go,” Hendricks told the media after the game. “But I don’t think we were happy with our game in Calgary, either. It was a dirty hit in my opinion on Mikko. Gio knows how to play the game, for sure. He’s old school. I don’t think he was happy with that play either.”

All was good, right? Nope. The Flames players continued with their shenanigans. They kept taking runs and cheap shots at Dumba. He was gone by the end of the first period with an undisclosed injury.
Finally, after seeing enough, the Wild Captain stepped up and fought Sam Bennett. Seriously, Sutter hadn’t fought in almost 10 seasons (Feb 18, 2009) but he did land some good punches on Bennett.
According to Michael Russo of the Athletic, Dumba fought Tkachuk, played five more first-period shifts and was never seen or heard from again.

The Wild aren’t known for their toughness. They’re not real big. Playing heavy hockey isn’t their game. Historically, teams have taken runs at the Wild skilled players because they didn’t have a tough guy. Obviously, the Flames don’t feel threated by the Wild and were free to take liberties with their players.
I would argue the Flames overreacted. At the time of Dumba’s green light, but legal hit on Backlund, he was jumped and pummeled by Lomberg at center ice. How many times does he have to pay for a legal hit? The Flames whined about the hit because of the timing and the score.  So what? Get over it.
I’d rather see players like Nick Seeler fighting instead of a top defenseman like Sutter. You don’t want your skilled players getting hurt fighting. Ironically, the Wild are sixth in the NHL in fighting majors with nine. The Boston Bruins are leading with 12 fighting majors. Some of the Bruins writers have wondered aloud if the Bruins need a tough guy? Why is that? Maybe the Bruins and the Wild are tired of being run and are taking care of things on their own.
Maybe, the on-ice officials could do a better job officiating the games so the players don’t have to take matters into their own hands.
In the past, players respected the “unwritten code”. That code no longer exists today. Before, if an opposition player was taking runs at the other team’s players, the opposition’s tough guy would inform the offending team’s captain if this behavior persists, I am going to start taking runs at your skilled players until this stops. In today’s world, most would find that unacceptable.

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Tom Wilson Is at It Again

Category : NHL , North Dakota

It would seem that Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson hasn’t learned his lesson. After missing the first 16 games of the season due to a suspension, Wilson was up to his old tricks, again.
This time, at the 17:39 mark of the second period, Wilson was given a five-minute major and match penalty for his blindside hit on New Jersey Devils forward Brett Seney.

According to TSN.CA –With the match penalty, it means an automatic suspension (pending review) by the NHL Department of Player Safety for Wilson. Seney left the game after the hit but later returned in the third period. Wilson’s next suspension will be the fifth of his NHL career.
Again, Wilson missed the first 16 games of the season due to a suspension. A neutral arbitrator reduced his 20-game suspension to 14 games, but he still ended up missing 16 games. Since his return, Wilson has been on fire, he’s scored (7g-6a–13pts) in nine games.
After tonight’s bush-league move, it would seem that Wilson is going to be suspended again. But for how long? Some think that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety needs to send Wilson a strong message.

Tom Wilson's hit on Brett Seney likely won't be deemed an illegal check to the head, but it is late. He was suspended four times over 105 games, and has played nine games since his recent 14-game ban.
The CBA calls for increased penalties for repeat offenders. Tough situation.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) December 1, 2018

Finally, Tom Wilson is a tough, talented hockey player. Most teams would love to have a player with his skill set on their team. However, he’s a dirty player, that needs to be taught a lesson. The last suspension did nothing to curb Wilson’s dirty play. He needs another 10-20 game suspension. Wilson isn’t the victim. He’s going to kill someone if he doesn’t change the way he plays the game.

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UND Hockey: Rhett Gardner Playing Disciplined Hockey

On Friday night, the University of North Dakota hockey team beat the University of Wisconsin, 5-0. UND was led by senior forward Rhett Gardner. The rugged forward scored his first three goals of the season, propelling the Fighting Hawks past the Badgers. Let’s take a look at Gardner’s evening.

Here’s goal number one. Garnder blasts the puck past Wisconson goalie Jack Berry. The Wisconsin defense doesn’t challenge Gardner in the slot and the rugged forward cashes in. 1-0 UND.

Rhett Gardner gets @UNDmhockey on the board just three and a half minutes in for his first goal of the season!#UNDproud @TheNCHC pic.twitter.com/zyorRHlRyc
— UND Insider (@undinsider) November 3, 2018

Here’s goal number two, good things happen when you go hard to the net. Gardner uses his big body to get to the front of the net and deposits a pass from Colton Poolman to expand UND’s lead to 3-0. How about Poolman, the junior defenseman has three goals and four points in the last two games.

Rhett Gardner scores his SECOND goal of the game just half a minute into the 2nd to put @UNDmhockey up 3-0 against Wisconsin.#UNDproud @TheNCHC pic.twitter.com/2owfTuoVix
— UND Insider (@undinsider) November 3, 2018

Finally, Garnder buries goal number three to finish the hat trick. Another shot, unmolested, from the top of the slot to give UND a 5-0 lead.

Rhett Gardner makes its THREE goals on the night as @UNDmhockey extends its lead to 5-0 over Wisconsin in the 3rd!#UNDproud @TheNCHC pic.twitter.com/5XuhR1nIf2
— UND Insider (@undinsider) November 3, 2018

Last Season’s Ending Driving Early Success
Last season, missing the NCAA playoffs didn’t sit well with the UND hockey team. Gardner and his teammates have used that experience to help them improve this season.
During the season-opening hockey media day, I asked Gardner about that experience. What did they learn?
“I think obviously being hungry this season is easy to do for everyone because no one likes the way we felt last year,” Gardner said. “I think the big thing we have to do is learn from last year.
“(Last season) there were a lot of games we had leads that turned into ties and losses. When you only play two games a year, those (losses) come back to haunt you at the end of the year. We need to learn from those experiences. I thought last year, at times, we struggled with managing games and managing pucks late in games. Moving forward, the biggest thing is to learn from those mistakes.”
After Friday’s game, head coach Brad Berry had nothing but nice things to say about Gardner.
“He’s one of our captains,” Berry said. “He came in his freshman year and was a big impact in our national championship year. Over the course of four years, he’s the lifeblood of our program here in the fact that he plays in all situations. One thing about Rhett Gardner, I said to the guys after, in the locker room, composure and discipline is going to be a big thing in our game. When Rhett Gardner is playing composed, disciplined and hard, good things are going to happen.”
Speaking of playing with composure.
Over the years, Garnder has been known to take his fair share of penalties. Gardner has 184 PIM in 118 NCAA hockey games. During the season-opening exhibition game against Manitoba, he took four minor penalties.
“I had a couple of bad breaks on stick penalties and I got tied up with a guy in front of their bench,” Gardner said. “Hopefully, those are out of the way for the rest of the season, no more.”
In game one against Minnesota State, Gardner was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for checking from behind. That mistake cost UND. Since that game, Since being kicked out of the Mankato game, Garnder has played disciplined hockey. Garnder hasn’t seen the inside of the penalty box. Not once.

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The NCHC Made the Right Decision on ASU

Friday night, I was watching the non-conference matchup between Arizona State University and Nebraska-Omaha. The Mavericks were beaten badly by the Sun Devils. When it was all said and done, the Mavericks were on the wrong end of a 6-3 drubbing. It wasn’t a good night for Mavericks. They looked a step slow and a bit rattled. Yes it’s early, but losses like this will come back to haunt a team later in the year.
With the loss, the Mavericks drop to 0-4-1.
First impressions. The free Pac-12 webcast was pretty good. Obviously, the limited camera angles in the Oceanside arena hampered the broadcast. ASU’s broadcast was on par with other NCHC schools.
Broadcast aside, it appears that the NCHC made the right decision during the summer of 2016 to deny the Sun Devils admission into the conference. Back in August of 2016, Commissioner Josh Fenton said this:
“After careful consideration and a thorough vetting process, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s Board of Directors announced the Conference will not move forward with membership expansion at this time. We will continue to be attentive to the college hockey landscape and any future changes that may come. However, our focus right now is guided by what we can do to strengthen our current membership into the future.”
ASU’s current arena situation in Tempe is unacceptable. The Sun Devils are a big Power Five school, ESPN ranks the Pac-12 ninth for FBS Football, yet they have an arena that’s not suitable for most high school teams. Comparing Sun Devil Stadium to Oceanside Arena, hockey appears to be an afterthought.

I know it comes off as elitist, but seriously? ASU couldn’t find a better arena than Oceanside Arena? The population of the Phoenix metro area is 1.626 million people. This isn’t some backwater town.
If you travel around Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin, most high schools teams would be appalled to play in an arena like that. Back in 2016, I think that UMD hockey beat writer Matt Wellens said it best.
The Sun Devils are nowhere close to the level of the new kids on the block before them: Penn State. The Nittany Lions stormed onto the scene in 2013 with an established, veteran NCAA Division I coach in Guy Gadowsky and a brand spankin’ new arena thanks to a donation of more than $100 million.
The Sun Devils, on the other hand, are still led by club program coach Greg Powers and playing in the club team’s 800-seat home of Oceanside Arena and living off a donation of just $32 million.
The truth is, Arizona State is closer in stature to college hockey’s last independent wanderer, Alabama-Huntsville, that its most recent addition. Though even the Chargers have a legit facility to play in.
Two years later, those comments still apply. Yes, I know there’s a plan for ASU to solve their arena problem. Graphs and plans are one thing, show us you’re serious. Build the arena. Just because there’s a plan to build a new arena, the NCHC shouldn’t be in a hurry to add ASU. As we’ve seen in the past, plans can change. So far, so good.
From page 54 of the ASU 2019-21 Capital Improvement Plan — Multi-Sports Arena The proposed multi-sports arena will serve as a venue capable of hosting athletic activities for programs with concurrent schedules, including Sun Devil ice hockey, gymnastics, volleyball, women’s basketball and wrestling. The arena is planned to include an estimated seating capacity of 4,000-5,000, concession areas, locker rooms, ancillary support areas and a second ice sheet to accommodate community engagement activities.
Finally, I keep hearing that a hockey trip to Tempe, AZ during the winter would be awesome. Nothing is stopping you from taking that trip. However, that’s also not a reason to add the Sun Devils. The NCHC has a good thing going. Adding a couple of team changes that dynamic. More teams means less non-conference games. Bottom line, playing 10 non-conference games helps a team’s Pairwise Rankings. If your favorite team has a good non-conference record.
Lastly, here’s another angle, think back to the old WCHA before re-alignment, big schools like Minnesota and Wisconsin wanted to control the terms.  During the formation period, the NCHC walked away from Notre Dame because of this. ASU is a big school and is going to want to have the same influence. The league needs to think long and hard.

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NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee Considering Moving the Frozen Four to Saturday-Monday

Earlier this week, eastern based college hockey writer Mike McMahon tweeted out the following tweets. According to McMahon, the NCAA is considering changing the Frozen Four from Thursday-Saturday to Saturday-Monday.

In addition, the committee is exploring the possibility of moving the Frozen Four to a Saturday (semifinals) and Monday (finals) format in the future.
— Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonCHN) October 24, 2018

This isn’t the committee’s first attempt at changing the rules, this summer, the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee attempted to have a standardized overtime format for all regular-season games and in-season tournaments beginning with the 2018-19 season.
In the end, after getting a lot of feedback the committee decided against the proposed changes.
It’s official — The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a proposal to allow conferences to use one of two alternative formats to award points in their standings after the mandatory five-on-five, five-minute overtime period in men’s and women’s ice hockey.
After a traditional five-minute, five-on-five overtime, conferences may use either a five-minute, three-on-three overtime period and a shootout or only a shootout to award additional conference points. Conferences are not required to use one of the alternative systems and may end play after the five-minute overtime.

For those that are wondering, here’s the makeup of the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee. If you look, there’s not a single representative from the west.

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UND Hockey: A Weekend to Forget

Category : NCAA , North Dakota , UND Hockey

The 2018-19 college hockey season is finally here. This past weekend, the University of North Dakota hockey team played a home-and-home series with the Bemidji State Beavers. Entering the series, UND had gone 5-0-2 in their last seven games against the Beavers.

Make that 5-1-3 after this past weekend.
Entering the season, one of the question marks facing the Hawks was who’s going to be the go-to guy. Who’s going to score goals? Who’s going to be the finisher? After one weekend of play, those questions remain.

First, let’s not lose sight of the big picture, it’s early in the season. Second, I don’t think the Hawks played all that bad. That being said, silver linings and moral victories aren’t acceptable with a program like North Dakota.
Let’s give credit where credit is due. If you go back and watch the video, you see that the Beavers bought into their systems. All weekend long, UND was unable to get any flow going. The Beavers forecheck was tenacious and relentless. There was little room to roam all weekend long. For the most part, I thought both games were extremely boring. It’s God awful hockey to watch. When UND was able to get a shot on the Beavers net, their goaltenders stood tall. That’s hockey.
Unimpressive Start Statistically
Through two games, UND is 0-8 on the man advantage and has scored a total of two even-strength goals on 56 shots. For those that are interested in the math, that’s a .035 shooting percentage. You’re not going to win a lot of hockey games with that shooting percentage.
Moving forward, if the UND doesn’t get primary and secondary scoring, it’s going to be a long season. Compare and contrast. Last year, UND scored 2.9 goals a game. Present tense, after three games counting the exhibition game, UND has scored a grand total of four goals in three games. That equates to 1.33 goals per game.
Player Unhappy with Weekend Results
Saturday’s 1-1 tie felt like a loss. The end results didn’t sit well with the Hawks players.
Senior forward Nick Jones was extremely disappointed with the Hawks power play and he didn’t mince words.
“The last few times I’ve come in here I’ve been pretty optimistic about it,” Jones said. “Tonight, there was nothing to be optimistic about. Couldn’t get set up. It was dreadful, to be honest with you. We let our team down, as a power-play unit.”
Jones continued, “As a whole, taking in both games, unacceptable,” he said. “Disappointing. Can’t have that. Come out and get a loss and a tie. Embarrassing is the only word I got.”
“Not enough,” Mismash said. “We need more from the whole team in general, just bearing down on our chances.”
Not enough, unacceptable, disappointed. I think many in the UND fanbase will agree with that assessment.
UND head coach Brad Berry’s sentiments echoed his team’s post-game comments.
“We got one point out of the weekend here with one tie,” Berry said. “That’s not our expectations going into the weekend. Obviously, we found out more information tonight. I thought Adam Scheel had an outstanding game in goal. We have to work on different things.
“I thought we started very well, but then momentum took over on the other bench because of turnovers and a few different things,” Berry said. “I thought we got unnerved a little bit, our focus. It’s a tough thing to get back. It’s a tough game to play. There’s not a lot of ice out there.”

One of the bright spots in Saturday’s game was the goal by sophomore forward Grant Mismash. I asked him if the team was gripping the sticks too hard. Here’s his response.
“I don’t know if it’s that,” Mismash said. “I don’t really think there’s an explanation for it. It’s just how it’s going right now. Every team will go through that. It’s not going to be perfect all year.”

Just 2:31 into the first period, @UNDmhockey gets the first goal of the game thanks to Grant Mishmash!#UNDproud @TheNCHC pic.twitter.com/fqkowSX1iV
— UND Insider (@undinsider) October 14, 2018

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Hawks Kick Grizzlies Tail

Saturday, the University of North Dakota football team entertained the University of Montana Grizzlies in an important non-conference FCS football game. The Grizzlies entered Saturday’s game riding a four-game winning streak against the Hawks.

When it was all said and done, the Fighting Hawks had systematically destroyed the Grizzlies 40-14, ending that four-game winning streak.
Here are a couple of things that stuck out for me.
The Fighting Hawks had a 21-0 lead after six minutes of play. The score was 34-0 at the half.
If this had been a boxing match the referee would have stopped the fight at halftime. The Grizzlies had four costly turnovers (three fumbles and an interception). The most costly of the four was the fumble on the Fighting Hawks one-yard line.
After the game, the Montana head coach was less than pleased with his team’s effort.
“First, on North Dakota, Bubba did a great job, and he had them ready to go,” Grizzlies head coach Bobby Hauck said.  “They got after us from the opening series. Five or six minutes into the game they had us up against the wall. Good job by them. They utilized their open date well. It occurred to me that was a great coaching job, by them. They kicked our tails.”

The Grizzlies head coach continued.
“We’re a real average football team,” coach Hauck said. “If we don’t go out and play at an optimum level and we don’t take care of the football, we can’t win, and we certainly didn’t do that today.”
Fighting Hawks junior quarterback Nate Ketteringham had a big day for the Hawks, the San Diego, California native threw for (17-25-2 254 yards and 4 TDs).
Coach Hauck had nothing but nice things to say about Nate Ketteringham and the Fighting Hawks offense.
“We think they throw the ball pretty well,” coach Hauck said. “I like their quarterback. They have big receivers who have the ability to make plays down the field.
“When they chucked the ball down the field, specifically on the outside, we’re there, and one of those players makes the play and the other doesn’t. In the case of that first half in particular, their guys made the plays.”
The Grizzlies were never in this game. In essence, the game was over at the half.

Tanner Palmborg Injury
During the second quarter of Saturday’s game, senior linebacker Tanner Palmborg suffered a leg injury. It didn’t look good. During the second half, Palmborg came back to the sidelines on crutches wearing a leg immobilizer. When head coach Bubba Schweigert was asked about his senior linebacker, he had this to say.

. @UNDfootball linebacker Tanner Palmborg went down in today's contest against @MontanaGrizFB . He didn't return and was on crutches at the half. Although there hasn't been an official prognosis, head coach @BubbaSchweigert 's reaction says it all…. pic.twitter.com/7N4yw5Paby
— Maria Santora (@MariaSantoraTV) October 13, 2018

Johannesson Leaves Mark
UND has a stable full of talented running backs. First, you have the one-two punch of Thunder and Lightning. Then add another option to that equation. Enter junior running back James Johannesson, who’s an impressive site at 6-foot-1, 250 pounds. Frankly, Johannesson is a hammer, he wears down defenses. He gets better as the game goes on. Sometimes, it takes three and four players to bring him down. You’re not going to arm tackle this guy.
Over the past three weeks, with John Santiago slowed by a knee injury, Johannesson has stepped in and filled the void. Statistically, Johannesson has been UND’s leading rusher, 249 yards on 38 attempts. That’s an average of 6.55 yards per carry.

James Johannesson plows through the Montana defense to extend @UNDfootball's lead to 41-0 over Montana.#UNDproud #LiveForGameday pic.twitter.com/TdDb27T0uX
— UND Insider (@undinsider) October 13, 2018


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UND Hockey: 2018-19 TV Schedule Released

Good Day, finally, it’s game day. Tonight, the Eight-Time NCAA Champion kicks off the 2018-19 season with an exhibition game against the Manitoba Bisons.
On Friday, the University of North Dakota released it’s hockey broadcast schedule. Most of UND games will be available on NCHC.TV. For those that don’t like to use gadgets,  and have the Sportspack on DirecTV, 11 games will be on National TV. Also, the same channels are on Dish Network, too.
Date Opponent Network
Oct. 6 Manitoba (exh.) MidcoSN (NCHC.tv)
Oct. 12 at Bemidji State Stream only (FloHockey.tv)
Oct. 13 Bemidji State MidcoSN (NCHC.tv)
Oct. 19 Minnesota State MidcoSN (NCHC.tv)
Oct. 20 Minnesota State MidcoSN (NCHC.tv)
Oct. 27 vs. Minnesota MidcoSN (NCHC.tv)(Comcast 999 Mpls Metro)
Nov. 2 Wisconsin MidcoSN (NCHC.tv)
Nov. 3 Wisconsin MidcoSN (NCHC.tv)
Nov. 9 at Miami Stream only (NCHC.tv)
Nov. 10 at Miami Stream only (NCHC.tv)
Nov. 16 Western Michigan MidcoSN (NCHC.tv)
Nov. 17 Western Michigan MidcoSN (NCHC.tv)
Nov. 23 Alaska Anchorage MidcoSN (NCHC.tv)
Nov. 24 Alaska Anchorage MidcoSN (NCHC.tv)
Nov. 30 at Minnesota Duluth MidcoSN, (NCHC.tv) (FSN+ DirecTV 664)
Dec. 1 at Minnesota Duluth MidcoSN, My 9 TV
Dec. 7 Denver MidcoSN (NCHC.tv)
Dec. 8 Denver MidcoSN, (NCHC.tv) (FCS DirecTV 608)
Dec. 29 U.S. U18 Team (exh.) MidcoSN (NCHC.tv)
Jan. 4 at Canisius Stream only (AtlanticHockey.tv)
Jan. 5 at Canisius Stream only (AtlanticHockey.tv)
Jan. 11 Colorado College MidcoSN (NCHC.tv)
Jan. 12 Colorado College MidcoSN, (NCHC.tv)(FCS DirecTV 608)
Jan. 18 at Omaha MidcoSN (NCHC.tv)
Jan. 19 at Omaha MidcoSN (NCHC.tv)
Jan. 25 St. Cloud State (CBSSN 221 DirecTV)
Jan. 26 St. Cloud State MidcoSN,  (NCHC.tv)( FCSDirecTV 608)
Feb. 1 at Denver – (Altitude 2 681 DirecTV)
Feb. 2 at Denver Stream only (NCHC.tv)
Feb. 15 at Western Michigan (CBSSN 221 DirecTV)
Feb. 16 at Western Michigan Stream only (NCHC.tv)
Feb. 22 Minnesota Duluth – (CBSSN 221 DirecTV)
Feb. 23 Minnesota Duluth MidcoSN, (NCHC.tv) (FCS DirecTV 608)
March 1 at Colorado College  (CBSSN 221 DirecTV)
March 2 at Colorado College Stream only (NCHC.tv)
March 8 Omaha MidcoSN (NCHC.tv)
March 9 Omaha MidcoSN2, (NCHC.tv) (FCS DirecTV 608)

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