GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- UMD has played North Dakota 234 times. It has an opportunity Saturday to do something it has never done.
Beat North Dakota in five straight meetings.
My, how the worm turned. UND swept UMD in Duluth with a pair of shutout wins in December 2015, then last February took a pair of 2-1 games in Grand Forks. The Bulldogs finally were able to turn the tables by beating North Dakota 4-2 last March at the NCHC Frozen Faceoff, a win that not only spoiled UND's chances at a league playoff championship, but also clinched UMD a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
The sweep in Duluth Oct. 28-29 was followed by a 5-3 win on Friday. Now, UMD has suddenly won four straight against the Fighting Hawks. The Bulldogs have clinched their first four-game regular season series win over North Dakota since the 1995-96 season (split 5-3 games in Grand Forks, then 3-1 and 3-2 wins in Duluth). UMD has never swept a four-game regular season series from UND.
One aspect of Friday's game that I didn't bring up in the postgame blog: Faceoffs. Against what was the nation's fourth-ranked faceoff team entering the series, UMD won 35 of 60 draws. That's 58.3 percent of the faceoffs against a team that typically wins them left and right.
Since break, UMD has won 93 of 173 faceoffs, a .537 percentage. It's not world-beating, but it's allowed the Bulldogs to rise from 55th nationally coming out of break to 44th entering this game, with a season percentage of .477.
No changes for UMD, but North Dakota continues to be affected by injuries. Freshman forward Tyson Jost (lower body) left Friday's game in the third period and did not return. He went awkwardly into the goalpost during a play in the first period, looked to be in some pain afterward, but stayed in the game until the third. He is out for the rematch on Saturday. Also out is sophomore forward Joel Janatuinen (undisclosed). He played the whole game and scored the game's last goal, so no idea what happened to him.
Iafallo - Toninato - Johnson
Osterberg - Thomas - Anderson
Tufte - Peterson - Kuhlman
Miller - Spurrell - Exell
Soucy - Raskob
Pionk - Kotyk
Wolff - Molenaar
Miska - Deery
Gersich - Boeser - Poganski
Hoff - Gardner - Wilkie
Yon - Bowen - Olson
Wolanin - Simonson - Gornall
Poolman (Colton) - Poolman (Tucker)
Ausmus - Shaw
Johnson (Casey) - Peski
Johnson (Cam) - Hrynkiw - Tomek