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UND sets focus on hosting St. Lawrence

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GRAND FORKS — It’s highly doubtful the University of North Dakota will throw 58 shots on goal in a game again this season.

“But we know the bar we set for ourselves,” UND junior forward Michael Parks said.

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After a slow start to the season, UND started on the road back during Saturday’s 3-3 tie at Boston University. The team threw 58 shots on net — the most in 13 years — and looked like a squad that could contend for a 12th straight NCAA tournament berth.

Tonight, UND returns to the ice against St. Lawrence University (6:37 p.m., Ralph Engelstad Arena) for a nonconference matchup and it wants to pick up where it left off in Boston.

“I think Saturday at BU and Friday at Miami (Oct. 11) were the two games we played with excellent pace through the entire game,” Hakstol said. “Between those two, we slogged through a lot of ups and downs.

“I really like what I’ve seen in terms of indicators over the last 10 days, going back to our pace and play in practice and our pace and play Saturday night. We didn’t get the results (in Boston), but I’m not going to give second thought to that. I’m worried about going back and doing the exact same thing and that’s what we’ve done this week. We’ve had outstanding practices.”

UND took advantage of a Boston University team that ranks dead last in NCAA hockey in shots allowed per game to pepper goaltender Matt O’Connor throughout the series finale.

This weekend, UND will try to take advantage of a St. Lawrence team that may score a lot of goals but also has a tendency to give up a lot.

The Saints (7-5-2) rank fourth nationally in offense, but they are 52nd of 59 teams in scoring defense, allowing an average of 3.64 goals per game.

Goaltending has been a big question mark for St. Lawrence. The Saints have a team save percentage of .864, which is the second-worst in the country, only behind 0-8 Dartmouth.

Senior Matt Weninger has started 12 games and has a 3.57 goals-against average and a .872 save percentage. Freshman Tyler Parks has two starts, posting a 3.02 goals-against and a .862 save percentage.

If UND can sustain pressure against the Saints like it did against the Terriers, the results should come. They are much-needed for a UND team that has to dig out of an early hole.

“It’s a little hard to keep a positive attitude right now when we’re 4-6-2,” Parks said. “We’re just going to keep pushing away at it and we’ll get there.

“I can’t remember putting 58 shots on goal and only scoring three goals. We really feel like that’s the bar we set for ourselves. If we can hit that standard every night, I think we’re going to win a lot of games from here on out.”

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Brad Elliott Schlossman
Schlossman is in his 11th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2014, he was named one of the top three beat writers in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.
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