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Picking up speed: UND hockey 9-2 with return of senior forward Derek Rodwell

FNS photo by John Stennes In this file photo, UND hockey senior forward Derek Rodwell, (11) and Bemidji State’s Mitch Cain collide as they chase after a loose puck in a WCHA hockey game on March 2, 2013.

Senior Derek Rodwell was a healthy scratch for the first six games of the season. He later sat out three more games.

But since returning to the lineup on Nov. 30, Rodwell has been fixture and has played a key role in leading UND to seven straight victories.

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The senior forward from Taber, Alta., has played on the right wing of a line centered by Connor Gaarder. Junior Stephane Pattyn has played on the left wing.

That trio has scored four goals during that span, and more importantly, has been able to consistently generate momentum. They have only been on the ice for one goal against in the last six games.

“As a team, we’ve trusted them,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “They’ve done a really good job for us over the last six weeks. They’ve been together for quite a while. They create momentum offensively. Defensively, they are veteran guys out there and they do a pretty good job.”

Against Western Michigan in December, Rodwell scored the game-winning goal in the third period on a strong cycle play by Pattyn.

On Saturday night against Colorado College, Rodwell made a play to help UND score the winning goal. He dumped the puck behind the net to allow his linemates to change. Then, Rodwell decided to pressure the puck so the Tigers wouldn’t have an easy breakout.

Sure enough, Tiger defenseman Gustav Olofsson turned the puck over to Rocco Grimaldi right in front of the net and Grimaldi put away the game-winner.

“It was a real good play by Rodwell, putting the puck to an area and pressuring it,” Hakstol said.

Throughout UND’s winning streak, that’s the only line that has remained the same.

UND’s record this season with Rodwell in the lineup is 9-2. It is 2-5-2 without Rodwell.

Draft rankings released

Five UND recruits are ranked on the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau’s midterm rankings for the 2014 NHL Draft.

Leading the way is forward Nick Schmaltz, who came in at No. 19 among North American skaters. Schmaltz, an expected first-round pick, plays for the Green Bay Gamblers in the United States Hockey League and is the brother of UND sophomore defenseman Jordan Schmaltz.

Forward recruits Austin Poganski (No. 72), Shane Gersich (No. 81) and Chris Wilkie (No. 111) also made the list. One defenseman recruit, Ryan Mantha, also checked in at No. 179.

Minot, N.D., product Alex Schoenborn, who plays for Portland in the Western Hockey League, is ranked No. 57.

The draft will be held in June in Philadelphia.


UND rejoined the USCHO rankings this week at No. 20. UND is No. 19 in the Pairwise Rankings. . . If the regular season ended today, only one National Collegiate Hockey Conference team would make the NCAA tournament — St. Cloud State. . . UND plays at Bemidji State on Friday night. The teams play in Grand Forks on Saturday.