Sioux Prepping to Battle Black Bears

Yesterday I attended the Wednesday Fighting Sioux Hockey press conference at Ralph Englestad Arena and this is what I took away from the press conference. The Fighting Sioux took second place in the Ice Breaker Tourney last weekend beating Air Force Academy 4-3 before losing to the Boston College Eagles 6-2.

University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol talked about last weekend’s Ice Breaker Tournament and also talked about this weekend’s opponent the University of Maine Black Bears.  Last October the Maine Black Bears swept the Fighting Sioux in Orno, Maine 7-3 and 4-2, so the Fighting Sioux are going to be looking for some revenge.

Fighting Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol was asked about his two goaltenders and if is there a goaltending battle taking in practice?

“I think there has been a pretty good battle going on in the first, what are were now, we are just over a couple of two weeks in I guess.  Ah yeah I think there is a good battle there, you know. I think Aaron [Dell] is still our number one, but that being said, there has been some good competition and some pretty good level of play from both guys in practice.  Brad [Eidsness] went in on Saturday and did a good job, he plugged the dam, when we were leaking a little bit in the second period; he did a good job holding the fort. He [Eidsness] has earned himself some more playing time, so he has to keep practicing hard and I will make the decision who starts on Friday. “

Coach Hasktol was asked, what he learned about his team during the last two games?

“We had the chance to learn from good on Friday and we got the chance to learn from some bad on Saturday.  That’s the bottom line; I thought Friday we created some of our own problems and we dug ourselves out and made some plays and we were able to come out with a good win.  Saturday, I thought we created a lot of our troubles that came back to haunt us later in the game. We took some penalties at the end of the first period and early in the second, that really affected our energy levels and I thought had a great deal to do with leading to some low energy levels and some real sloppy defensive play that over a four minute period that took us absolutely out of the hockey game.  So we have got to fix some things, we have to fix those things,  we have got to really challenge ourselves to play a complete sixty minute and we have yet to do that in the first two games.”

Coach Hakstol was asked if Maine is similar to last season’s team.

“Yeah. They [Maine] are a veteran team, every key position is occupied by a veteran on their hockey team and by the looks of it they play a very similar style to what they did last year, they have very good team speed and they have good depth and their top line is a very dynamic line, a good line that produces for them, the power play is efficient and is effective.  So, I think they are probably similar in the way they play, to the way they were last year, you know and beyond that you probably have to ask their coaching staff that one.”

Were you surprised that Maine didn’t make the NCAA tourney last season?

“Are you trying to get me in trouble here? Let me figure out how to answer that one. Based off of the way that they played there?  Yeah, absolutely, I guess I would answer it bluntly, yeah, I am, they’re a good team.  I don’t know what they went through injury wise, different things throughout the season, a lot of things come into play, but they sure played well there, they play a great team game, they play with speed, they made plays. Their specialty teams were good, I thought they were a real good hockey team and the factors that went into them not being in the national tournament at the end of the day just speaks to how darn hard it is to get into the national tournament.

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