After a 205-day absence that probably felt like closer to 350 for some, UMD hockey is finally back. If you're not making it to Amsoil Arena for this game against the mighty Thunderwolves of Lakehead University, or if you need to know your options to catch games on the radio or internet this winter, check out that info in this post.
As for this game, UMD is going to hold forward Charlie Sampair and defenseman Derik Johnson out, so 15th-year coach Scott Sandelin is going with 14 forwards and seven defensemen. Goalie Alex Fons will dress but will not play, as junior Matt McNeely and freshman Kasimir Kaskisuo will split the game.
(None of the three are anything serious. Sampair and Johnson are expected to play Friday in South Bend against Minnesota. That game counts. This one does not. In fact, I'd say Sampair is virtually locked into the lineup for Friday. I'm sure of ten of the 12 forwards Sandelin will use in that Gopher game. I think the other two spots can be had.)
Also, don't read too much into the lines listed below. With 14 forwards and seven defensemen dressed, there will be much juggling. Also, expect to see a lot of the new guys as Sandelin tries to get them some game experience before they enter what could be long battles for the 11th/12th forward and fifth/sixth defensemen minutes. As an example, a guy like Blake Young -- a left wing on a team stuffed full of left wings -- could end up on the ice a ton, because there's less of a chance he plays as opposed to a guy like, maybe, Karson Kuhlman, who could seriously challenge for top six-type minutes in the early going.
Also watch closely the play of sophomore defenseman Brenden Kotyk. I know no one in that facility says a bad word about him. Of course, he's 6-6, and "225 pounds" (listed weight), so there's good reason for that.
In all seriousness, Kotyk hasn't played competitively in a long time. It'll be interesting to see how he plays against a live opponent after spending last year practicing with the team but sitting out because of NCAA rules (transferred from St. Scholastica).
The thinking? Give him experience now and hopefully build some confidence, because he needs to compete his tail off every week to get in the lineup.
We might see a lot of combinations of those supposed ten forwards who should be locks for Friday. This is the time to experiment. There are combinations among those ten forwards (Cameranesi-Osterberg/Crandall, Toninato-Iafallo, Decowski-Farley/Krause, for example) that we know work. This is a good chance to put Iafallo with a different center, Decowski with different wings, just to see what might work and what might not.
That said, here we go.
Osterberg - Cameranesi - Crandall
Farley - Decowski - Kuhlman
Iafallo - Toninato - Krause
Young (Blake) - Spurrell - Young (Austyn)
Thomas - Boehm
Soucy - Welinski
Corrin - Raskob
McCormack - Kotyk
Kaskisuo - McNeely
Ainsworth - Hammond - Carrick
Faust - Dubchak (Carson) - Dubchak (Brennan)
Butler - Quesnele (David) - McDonald (Austin)
Hynnes - Kaarela - Cull
Hynnes - Quesnele (Mike)
Maw - Fillman
Bruyere - Kostecki
Bosch - McDonald (Justin)