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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service, Published October 01 2013

Goalie no longer a question mark for UND

GRAND FORKS – For much of the 2012-13 season, there were questions about goaltending for the University of North Dakota men’s hockey team. In the last two months of the season, they were answered.

Zane Gothberg and Clarke Saunders turned in some of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s best numbers down the stretch last season and coach Dave Hakstol hopes that they can pick up where they left off.

Gothberg turned in a .937 save percentage in February and March, while Saunders was at .923 in that same timespan. Both players ranked in the WCHA’s top four in that stretch.

So, heading into this season, there are plenty of questions about UND’s squad, but not as many about the goaltending.

“I think there’s a benefit to them having worked together for an entire year,” Hakstol said. “They are competing with one another, but they are helping one another as a tandem. Matt Hrynkiw is a new member of that group of three to add to competitiveness.

“In a nutshell, our goaltending, on a nightly basis, has to give us a high level of stability. I know both Clarke and Zane are capable of providing that for us.”

Hakstol describes both Gothberg and Saunders has highly competitive, though their personalities are different.

“Either one of them would do just about anything to take the net on any one given night,” Hakstol said. “But if they are the one that’s in the support role that night, I see a real genuine effort to make sure they are helping the other guy be as prepared as he can.”

Hakstol said that Gothberg and Saunders will have to re-establish themselves this season.

“It’s a new team this year,” Hakstol said. “Those guys have to build that confidence within the current team. It’s not about last year. But I’m certain that will happen and it will happen early.”

Brad E. Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald