UND men's hockey forwards been going quiet
GRAND FORKS -- The University of North Dakota men's hockey team has one of the most dazzling lines in the country. Drake Caggiula, Nick Schmaltz and Brock Boeser have been on the scoresheet in all nine games that they've played together this season.
GRAND FORKS - The University of North Dakota men’s hockey team has one of the most dazzling lines in the country.
Drake Caggiula, Nick Schmaltz and Brock Boeser have been on the scoresheet in all nine games that they’ve played together this season. They’ve produced enough offense to win games by themselves - notably Friday night’s 4-3 victory over St. Cloud State. Those guys were in on all four goals that evening.
But while that unit has lit up the scoreboard, the rest of the forwards have gone quiet in recent weeks.
Caggiula, Schmaltz and Boeser have been in on 15 of UND’s last 17 goals - a stretch that covers five games. That trio has more points this season (47) than the other 10 forwards combined (44).
That presents a dilemma for the UND coaching staff.
Going forward, does UND keep them together or split them up and try to spread out the offense?
It’s a situation that UND women’s hockey coach Brian Idalski knows well.
His top line of Meghan Dufault, Becca Kohler and Amy Menke is proving to be one of the top trios in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
They’ve been on the ice for 15 of the team’s last 18 goals.
Dufault, Kohler and Menke have combined for 21 goals and 46 points this season. UND’s other forwards have a combined eight goals (four from Layla Marvin alone) and 21 points.
Idalski has tried both ideas this season - putting together and splitting them up. He’s more likely to put them together at home, when he has last line change and can dictate the matchups.
“It varies between home and away,” he said. “The other question is how well our other lines are playing defensively. If they can hold their own, that’s a big part of it. With our D-corps, as long as we have a couple of solid ‘D’ out there, it’s not really a big deal, either.
“Sometimes, you want to try to drop someone back to get someone else going, but when they are hot you want to stay with them. You want to keep them going. The problem for us is that one night, they are hot and rolling. The next night, they aren’t.”
For the men, their top players haven’t been as successful when they are split up. Shane Gersich was solid with Schmaltz and Boeser during the opening weekend of the season, but that combination didn’t work against Wisconsin when they were re-united.
So, coach Brad Berry put Caggiula, Schmaltz and Boeser back together. They’ve been dominant - even in UND’s 6-1 loss to St. Cloud State on Saturday. But UND needs the secondary scoring to re-appear.
The men and women each have a key, six-game stretch left before Christmas break. They’ll probably get strong contributions from their top trios. But the rest of the forwards may be the difference.
The last zeros
There are just two undefeated teams left in college hockey - and one winless team.
Quinnipiac tied a pair of games this weekend to go to 11-0-2. The last loss for the Bobcats came in the NCAA West Regional semifinal against North Dakota in March at Fargo’s Scheels Arena.
Providence, the defending national champion, is 8-0-3. The Friars haven’t lost since March 15 against New Hampshire in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs. They have a 15-game unbeaten streak dating back to last season.
Colorado College (0-12) is the last winless team. The Tigers have allowed 13 straight goals since their last one. They were shut out 5-0 and 6-0 by Minnesota Duluth over the weekend and they haven’t even been within a goal of an opponent in more than a month.