UND Hockey Stresses the Importance of Non-Conference Wins Ahead of Canisius Series

The Fighting Hawks were swept by the Golden Griffins last season

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Opening weekend of college hockey is always an exciting time at UND, but this year, maybe more so than most.

The Fighting Hawks open things up against Canisius, the same opponent that  stunned North Dakota last season, pulling off a two-game sweep in a series that would ultimately cost UND it’s shot at the playoffs.

That makes the weight of this non-conference matchup feel heavier than ever.

“Going there and knowing how important that was for our season last year and not getting the results that we wanted, it makes it more of a focus for us than ever,” head coach Brad Berry said. “Obviously, we know how critical non-conference games are and this is the start of our season that way.”

“Some not so fond memories,” junior defenseman Gabe Bast recalls. “It was a tough weekend for us, it ultimately put a damper on our season last. It was our Achilles heel and we are going to do everything in our power not to let that happen again. Pairwise is huge with these non-conferences in the beginning of the year, so all the boys will be ready to go this weekend.”

“It’s still huge cause the season is right here, right now. It’s our first real games here and we are going to need to have these games,” senior captain Colton Poolman added. “It becomes critical like you said down to the Pairwise when it is coming down to February and March when there is not a whole lot of moving up and down. We definitely put a big emphasis on these non-conference games.”

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