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UND hockey team won’t be surprising any teams this year

GRAND FORKS -- The University of North Dakota made an unexpected run to the NCAA Frozen Four last season. There will be no sneaking up on teams this year. UND was picked as the favorite to win the National Collegiate Hockey Conference by members ...

UND hockey
FNS Photo by David Samson University of North Dakota’s Brendan O’Donnell, left, shares a laugh with teammate Michael Parks during practice for the NCAA Frozen Four on April 9 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa.

GRAND FORKS - The University of North Dakota made an unexpected run to the NCAA Frozen Four last season.
There will be no sneaking up on teams this year.
UND was picked as the favorite to win the National Collegiate Hockey Conference by members of the media that cover the league.
UND earned 12 of 25 first-place votes to finish ahead of Miami (nine first-place votes) and St. Cloud State (four). Denver was picked to finish fourth, followed by Minnesota Duluth, Nebraska Omaha, Western Michigan and Colorado College.
UND returns nearly its entire roster from a squad that contended for the league’s regular season title last season before upsetting Wisconsin and Ferris State en route to the Frozen Four in Philadelphia.
Goaltender Zane McIntyre, the only preseason all-conference unanimous selection, leads the charge for UND after posting a 1.99 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage last season.
The defensive corps also is expected to be strong as UND returns all but one regular.
Up front, Rocco Grimaldi turned pro early, but UND brings back the bulk of its roster and adds first-round NHL draft pick Nick Schmaltz.
The poll results aren’t necessarily a great indicator for success, though.
Miami was the runaway favorite last fall in the preseason media poll, but the RedHawks finished dead last in the league, missing the NCAA tournament.
UND takes on the University of Manitoba in an exhibition game on Oct. 5. Its regular-season opener is at home against Bemidji State on Oct. 10.
NCAA denies Karvinen’s appeal
The NCAA has rejected Michelle Karvinen’s appeal for a fourth year of eligibility for the UND women’s hockey team.
The NCAA originally took away a year of eligibility from Karvinen for participating in a league while enrolled at UND as a freshman. She played overseas in Finland while preparing for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. She was taking online classes at the time.
Karvinen wanted to play at UND that season, but was deemed a nonqualifier by the NCAA due to issues with her high school curriculum in Europe.
Karvinen would have been one of the top players in college hockey this season. She was named the top forward at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, leading the tournament in both goals and points.
For her career, Karvinen racked up 131 points in 87 games. She was a team captain and a Dean’s List student.
Bittner, Evers play in Prospect Game
Crookston, Minn., product Paul Bittner and UND recruit Christian Evers both played the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Thursday night in Buffalo, N.Y. The game is designed to showcase the top draft-eligible American players.
Bittner plays for the Portland Winter Hawks in the Western Hockey League. Evers plays for the U.S. Under-18 team and is eligible to come to UND next season.
NCHC preseason media poll
1. UND (12) 181
2. Miami (9) 167
3. St. Cloud State (4) 151
4. Denver 117
5. Minnesota Duluth 112
6. Nebraska Omaha 73
7. Western Michigan 67
8. Colorado College 32.

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