Unanswered goals propel UND ahead


The UND men’s hockey team celebrates a goal Saturday evening at Ralph Engelstad Arena. North Dakota defeated Miami 4-1 on Saturday after suffering a 3-2 Friday loss. Photo by Nicholas Nelson/The Dakota Student.

Mark MacMillan picked up right where he left off.

After remaining out of the lineup for three weeks with a laceration to the wrist, he returned to the ice last weekend — tallying North Dakota’s first goal of the evening on Saturday and figuring in two assists on the weekend.

The roaring crowd and fast pace of the series against NCHC rival Miami made it a little easier to forget about the brace on his left wrist.

“I think the biggest thing is trying not to worry about it,” MacMillan said. “Obviously, it’s there, it’s something I’ve got to deal with. It’s there to keep it protected. A couple times it was a little bit frustrating because I think I could do some other things, but it’s part of the injury and I’ve got to try and not think about it and work though.”

UND lost 3-2 Friday night, but rebounded with a 4-1 victory Saturday that salvaged a split with the RedHawks in its NCHC conference home opener.

MacMillan’s goal was his first since Oct. 18 in Colorado Springs, when he tallied three goals en route to his first career hat trick to cap off a seven-point weekend over the Tigers.

UND coach Dave Hakstol was encouraged by MacMillan’s ambition during his setback — leaving little room for surprise with the senior’s success last weekend.

“There’s always challenges coming off an injury like that, but he hadn’t been off all that long,” Hakstol said. “He worked extremely hard through the last half of his time off. When he went out of the lineup, I thought he was playing with a ton of confidence.”

That confidence was evident again last weekend as UND’s top line of MacMillan, Drake Caggula and Michael Parks scored all of UND’s goals Saturday night — Caggiula tallying two and making his first a highlight reel goal with the help of his teammates.

After Bryn Chyzyk made a pass to Caggiula and took a hit that leveled him at center ice, Caggiula brought the puck into the zone, brought it through a Miami skater’s legs and flipped it five-hole past Ryan McKay.

“Heck of a goal,” MacMillan said. “I hope it’s No. 1 on Sportscenter when I watch later. I think a lot of people go unnoticed about what Bryn Chyzyk did to get Caggiula the puck … So we’ve got to give (Chyzyk) a huge shoutout and (Caggiula’s) goal speaks for itself.”

Caggiula’s goal put him No. 1 in scoring in the NCHC with 16 points in 11 games.

“He’s got very quick, strong hands and he’s got a nose for tht area of the ice,” Hakstol said. That’s a natural ability.”

While seniors MacMillan and Parks have been skating together for over three years, Caggiula compliments the duo’s abilities on the ice and adds natural chemistry to a line that was anything but limited by MacMillan’s injury.

“For a guy who’s missed three weeks, he looks great,” Caggiula said. “He’s obviously been keeping up with his conditioning off the ice and skating on the ice when he can. … I think our line has a lot of chemistry and all three of us read of each other well.”

Friday’s loss was UND’s first since losing it’s home opener to Bemidji State on Oct. 10, and its eight-game unbeaten streak was cut at that despite a last-minute effort to put the puck in the net.

Saturday, though, North Dakota took matters into its own hands, taking away time and space from an aggressive RedHawks team.

“We just played with speed the whole game,” Caggiula said. “We created our own offense with our speed and finished our checks and did everything we needed to do to be successful.”

Elizabeth Erickson is the sports editor of The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].