Rink Report: UND, St. Cloud State Battle for NCAA Lives

No. 4 UND hosts No. 5 St. Cloud State in NCHC Quarterfinals.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The regular season has come and gone for the No. 4 seed University of North Dakota as they open the NCHA quarterfinals hosting the fifth-seeded St. Cloud State Huskies. That is the one thing that has changed, is the fact that it is the postseason. What hasn’t changed for the Fighting Hawks, is the way that they are perceiving this weekend. They say these are must-win games.

“We’ve been in playoff mode for the last month here,” said Head Coach Brad Berry. “Our lives are on the line again. We’re not on the road, we’re at home. We have to have the road mentality that we’ve had, the urgency, the hungriness and the focus.”

UND had the same mindset last weekend when they played Miami-Ohio.

“Going into Miami, we had that mindset of our season being on the line,” junior forward Johnny Simonson said. “I think that helped us play such good hockey down there. I think we need to keep that mindset for St. Cloud, because it’s the same way, it’s our season.”

Sophomore forward Joel Janatuinen agrees.

“We’re definitely not safe. It’s a must-win weekend for us just for the Pairwise,” Janatuinen said. “We gotta get to the Frozen Face-off to do well in Minneapolis, but it is definitely a huge weekend for us. We try to emphasize that everyday.”

The Fighting Hawks have matched up with the Huskies four times this season, winning three of the contests.

“It’s a weekend series where you got a four and five seed, so they are very evenly matched,” Berry said. “It is very easy to say ‘you got to win two games,’ but our mindset is Friday night. Friday night is a priority.”

North Dakota hopes to be healthy for the quarterfinal series with St. Cloud State. Sophomore Brock Boeser has skated this week and will be a game-time decision. Puck drop for Friday night is set for 7:37 p.m. Game two of the series will begin on Saturday night at 7:07 p.m. Game three, if necessary, is slated to begin at 7:07 p.m. on Sunday.

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