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Brad E. Schlossman / Forum News Service, Published November 28 2013

UND looks to continues offensive pressure against St. Lawrence

GRAND FORKS – It’s highly doubtful that the University of North Dakota men’s hockey team 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.

After a slow start to the season, UND started on the road back during Saturday’s 3-3 tie at Boston University. The team had 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 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,” UND head coach Dave Hakstol said. “Between those two, we slogged through a lot of ups and downs.”

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, ahead of only 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.”

There’s a Black Friday special for tickets that runs today from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. All remaining upper bowl tickets are available for $20. Regular price for a ticket is $40.

The series is the annual Subway Holiday Classic, which has run on Thanksgiving weekend for four of the last five years.

UND is 6-0-2 in the Subway Holiday Classic in the last four years, sweeping Holy Cross and Colorado College the last two years.

The matchup against St. Lawrence is the first meeting of the teams since 2006, when they played in a tournament in New Hampshire. UND won that meeting. The last time the Saints came to Grand Forks was 2000.

Schlossman writes for the Grand Forks Herald