Both UMD men’s and women’s hockey teams open their 2016-2017 seasons at the Amsoil Arena this coming weekend.
The contests for the weekend will kick off with the women’s team regular season opener facing off against the No. 3 in the nation Boston College Eagles.
The Bulldog ladies are coming off a strong 4-1 victory last week against the Minnesota Whitecaps. Lara Stalder and Ashleigh Brykaliuk powered the Bulldog offense in the exhibition win with a pair of goals each.
Women’s head coach Maura Crowell was pleased with her team’s performance in their opening game and expressed excitement and a positive outlook for their matchup against the Eagles.
“Going into our opening weekend I think it’s fantastic we play B.C. (Boston College). They have a lot of speed and a lot of finesse and good depth just like us. So it should be a great match-up,” Crowell said.
Sophomore goaltender Maddie Rooney will get the start in net for the regular season opener for the Bulldogs. She stopped 33 of 34 Whitecap shots last weekend and coach Crowell has been happy with the growth she sees in her goalie.
“She had a great performance last Saturday,” Crowell said. “ She’s stronger, she’s more confident, she’s more focused and she knows it’s her net. I think that brings a level of confidence to her game as well.”
Crowell’s squad will drop the puck against the Eagles on Friday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. and again for the second game of the series on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 3 p.m.
Saturday will continue with another Bulldog home matchup.
The UMD men’s hockey team will look to get their first victories of the season this weekend against the Michigan Tech Huskies.
The Bulldogs, lead by 17-year head coach Scott Sandelin, return 16 letterwinners from the 2015-2016 regular season. Notably, captain Dominic Toninato returns for his senior season.
The Bulldog men also gain a new crop of rookies and transfers. Former Mr. Hockey Award winner Riley Tufte will join the team for his freshman year. Coach Sandelin is optimistic about Tufte’s capabilities and finding a way to let him keep improving at the collegiate level.
“There’s going to be some ups and downs as there’s a lot of things for him to learn, like every player,” Sandelin said. “We just want him to go play and we will let him make some mistakes and grow into it.”
Sandelin also looks to see leadership out of his older returners to help his new players adjust to Bulldog hockey.
“The luxury of having some of our older guys back, you know getting Dom (Toninato) and Alex (Iafallo) and having some veteran guys is nice because hopefully we can put him (Tufte) in positions like other freshman that we’ve had to get success right away,” Sandelin said.
Sandelin was unwilling to divulge who’s starting in net for the Bulldogs to open the season. The 2015-2016 starting goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo left the Bulldogs to a free agency signing with Toronto Maple Leafs after the conclusion of the season.
The Bulldogs have three goalies on the roster who could possibly get the nod this weekend. Those are freshman Hunter Shepard, Hunter Miska and red-shirt freshman Nick Deery.
Sandelin’s group of Bulldogs will take on the Huskies on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7:07 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 2 at 4:07 p.m.