Putting their name in the history books

The CBS line and the rest of the 2015-16 team has etched their names into the Fighting Hawks history books. Photo by Russell Hons/Russell Hons Photography.

When the final horn sounded Saturday evening, the UND hockey team won its eighth national championship.

There have been many good teams that have donned the green and white, but the 2016 squad may be one of the best.

The CBS line, made up of Drake Caggiula, Brock Boeser and Nick Schmaltz, was back at work Saturday. The trio combined for seven goals and seemed unfazed by the gravity of the championship they were playing for.

On the season, the line had combined for 157 points. Throughout the season, they have been compared to the famed DOT line composed of Ryan Duncan, T.J. Oshie and Jonathan Toews. They scored a combined 156 points.

The most recent national championship team for UND was in 2000. Comparing the two teams shows that they were similar teams in that they dominated offensively.

In 2000, there were four players on the team that averaged more than a point per game: Jeff Panzer, Lee Goren, Jason Ulmer and Bryan Lundbohm. This season, Boeser, Cagguila and Schmaltz all averaged more than a point a game for the Fighting Hawks.

UND’s dominating offense and shut-down defense continued during the NCAA Tournament as it scored 20 goals and gave up only seven in four games. Comparatively, in 2000, UND scored 10 goals while giving up only three goals in three games.

The Fighting Hawks ended the season with 34-6-4 record. This was the best record by a UND team since the 1986-87 season when the then Fighting Sioux won a national championship with a record of 40-8-0, a UND record as well as an NCAA record. The only other time UND has had a better record was in the 1981-82 season, another national champion team.

Boeser lead all UND skaters with 60 points on the season and became the first UND freshman to ever lead the conference, including the WCHA, in scoring in school history. Sophomore Nick Schmaltz was third on the team in scoring with 46 points. Sophomore Cam Johnson ended the season with five shutouts and a 24-4-2 record.

Similarly, the 1986-87 team had young players who made a big impact on their team as well. Tony Hrkac, a sophomore that season, tallied 116 points on his way to the Hobey Baker award. Freshman Ed Belfour was a wall in the net posting a 29-4 record and had three shutouts on the season.

Sandwiched in between the 1987 team and the 2000 team was the 1997 championship team. While they only had two players that averaged a point per game, David Hoogsteen and Jason Blake, they possessed a team full of players who could score. There were nine players on that team who scored 30 plus points in the regular season.

This year’s squad had only three players tally 30 plus points a game, though defenseman Troy Stecher remarkably ended the year with 29 points.

Between the 2000 national championship team, and this year’s 2016 national championship team, there have been many very good UND teams. The problem was that none of them were able to walk away from the national tournament with a victory.

UND has qualified for the NCAA Tournament every year since 2003, and has had nothing to show for it. Players such as Toews, Zach Parise and Oshie, who have become household names in the NHL, all came and left without winning any hardware.

In 2005, UND came as close as possible to another championship when they lost to Denver in the final round of the playoffs. Goalie Peter Mannino stood on his head throughout the game and stifled a previously hot UND team in heart-breaking fashion in their 4-1 victory over UND.

This season, UND avenged its loss in its thrilling Frozen Four victory over the Pioneers. This was the first time Denver had been back to the Frozen Four since defeating UND in the title game in 2005.

While there have been many great teams that have come through the UND program, this year’s squad will rank toward the top.

While the 1986-87 team is hard to beat, the combination of goal scorers and great defenders made this year’s team a special one.