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UND finalizes schedule, featuring Thanksgiving weekend series against Minnesota
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UND finalizes schedule, featuring Thanksgiving weekend series against Minnesota

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North Dakota Denver Hockey

North Dakota forward Gavin Hain (10) skates against Denver during a game last season in Omaha.

UND home hockey games will feature earlier starts during the 2021-22 season.

In releasing its full schedule on Monday, which includes a Thanksgiving weekend series in Grand Forks against the University of Minnesota, all Friday home games will be played at 7:07 p.m., while Saturday night contests will start at 6:07.

UND's schedule features 35 games, starting with an exhibition contest against Manitoba on Oct. 2. The season starts for real the following weekend at Ralph Engelstad Arena against Niagara with a pair nonconference games.

The October schedule also includes a home-and-home Highway 2 series with Bemidji State (Oct. 22-23), followed by a roadtrip to Hamden, Conn., for two games against Quinnipiac. The last meeting between the two programs was in the 2016 NCAA title game, won 5-1 by UND.

The following Saturday (Oct. 30) is the destination game in Nashville, Tenn., against Penn State. It marks the first ever meeting between the Fighting Hawks and Nittany Lions. 

UND has been playing destination games on a periodic basis since 2016 and the events have grown in popularity.

In 2016, North Dakota brought around 8,000 fans to Madison Square Garden in New York City and North Dakota defeated Boston College 4-3. In 2018, UND met rival Minnesota, instantly selling out the 7,500-seat Orleans Arena for a game North Dakota won 3-1.

The November through early March portion of the schedule is primarily National Collegiate Hockey Conference clashes with two notable exceptions. UND hosts Minnesota Nov. 26-27 and REA. Both teams were No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament last season.

On Jan. 7-8, UND welcomes Cornell for two games. The two teams were 1-2 in every poll prior to the end of the 2019-20 season being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

North Dakota is coming off a 22-6-1 season in which they won the NCHC regular-season and Frozen Faceoff titles before falling one win short of the NCAA Frozen Four, falling 3-2 in a five-overtime regional final against Minnesota-Duluth at Fargo’s Scheels Arena.

UND will feature largely a new roster next season after Jacob Bernard-Docker and Shane Pinto (Ottawa), Jordan Kawaguchi and Adam Scheel (Dallas), Grant Mismash (Nashville) and Matt Kiersted (Florida) moved onto the NHL.

UND bolstered its roster with the addition of five graduate transfers in goaltender Zach Driscoll from Bemidji State, forward Connor Ford from Bowling Green, defenseman Chris Jandric from Alaska, forward Ashton Calder from Lake Superior State and defenseman Brady Ferner from RPI.

Reach Tribune sports editor Dave Selvig at (701) 250-8246 or david.selvig@bismarcktribune.com

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