Sioux fighting back in WCHA, start 4-0

Michael Rand

Before the WCHA season began, several coaches around the league were preaching the same message: Watch out for North Dakota.
After four games, the Sioux are making those coaches look pretty smart.
UND is off to a 4-0 start after opening with a home sweep of Denver and taking a pair of games at Michigan Tech this weekend.
The Sioux lost Teeder Wynne, who had 73 points last year, and Nick Naumenko, a four-year defensive starter. Both were first-team All-WCHA players last year. But UND’s underclassmen, led by sophomore Dave Hoogsteen, have filled the void left by Wynne and Naumenko.
Hoogsteen leads the WCHA with five goals and nine points. He already has two game-winning goals, including the clincher with 10 seconds left in UND’s 4-3 win over Michigan Tech on Saturday.
The Sioux have a home series with Northern Michigan next weekend, a team they beat four times last year.
Gophers junior Ryan Kraft said he thinks the Sioux will be among the top three teams in the WCHA for the duration of this year.
“They may have lost (Wynne and Naumenko), but they have (Jason) Blake. He was a Spud,” Kraft said, referring to his former teammate at Moorhead High School who has three goals and three assists in his first year at UND.
Petersens get first points
Freshmen Toby and Ian Petersen, the highly recruited brothers from Bloomington Jefferson who chose Colorado College over Minnesota, both cracked the scoring column for the first time this weekend.
Ian, who played two years in the USHL, scored a goal in the Tigers’ 5-2 win over Northern Michigan on Saturday night. Toby had an assist on Friday and another assist — on his brother’s goal — Saturday.
Freshman gets DU its first win
Things were looking pretty desperate for Denver after its 8-3 home loss to Wisconsin on Friday night.
Not only did the loss leave the Pioneers winless in three WCHA outings, but it was also the third rough consecutive outing for starting goaltender Jim Mullin.
Enter backup goaltender Stephen Wagner. He stopped 40 shots in a 3-2 DU win on Saturday night, getting the Pioneers into the win column and solving, at least temporarily, the team’s goaltending woes.
Still, the Pioneers have been nowhere near as good as WCHA coaches thought they would be.
Backchecks
ù The last time UND started 4-0 was the 1986-87 season. That was also the last year the Sioux won the NCAA championship.
ù Colorado College, which had 86 power play goals last season, is now 0-for-22 with a man advantage.
ù Mike Crowley’s three assists this weekend moved him past current Minnesota associate head coach Mike Guentzel on the Gophers’ all-time career assists by a defensemen.