A jam-packed sports week awaits UND fans with basketball and hockey in town


David L. Dodds

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A jam-packed sports week awaits UND fans with basketball and hockey in town

The University of North Dakota men’s basketball team hadn’t played in front of a home crowd since its tilt with Dickinson State University back on Dec. 19, nearly three weeks ago.

In fact, until Thursday night, the UND men had only played twice at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center all season. The road warriors finally got a bit of a respite Thursday in a home contest against the Sacramento State Hornets. In the end, though, UND came out on the losing end as the Hornets scored four-unanswered points in the final seconds to snatch victory.

The welcome-home theme continued for the men on Saturday, when another Big Sky Conference foe, Portland State, entered The Betty for a game. The visiting Vikings used a strong performance on the glass and switch solid free-throw shooting to stave off a late comeback try by UND.

UND’s record now stands at 5-10 overall on the season and 1-3 in the Big Sky. UND still boasts a 22-10 overall record at The Betty, dating back to 2012.

UND men’s basketball will stay in Grand Forks through Saturday, Jan. 17, when it takes on the University of Northern Colorado at 2 p.m., at The Betty.

Hockey, too

The UND men’s (14-5-2 overall) and women’s (11-10-2) hockey teams, too, were eager to get back to some good ol’ home cooking.

Apart from a one-off exhibition home game against the Team U.S.A. Under-18 squad last week, UND men’s hockey (the #1 team in the nation ? USCHO) last played an official NCAA home contest on Dec. 6 against Lake Superior State. They’re going to get used to familiar surroundings in the second half of the NCAA hockey season as 10 of their next 16 games are at home. And it all started this Friday against longtime foe, the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs (the #7 team in the nation ? USCHO), and their coach, UND hockey alumnus and former UND assistant coach Scott Sandelin. The two teams ended up splitting victories on the weekend.

This weekend also was a welcome back of sorts for UND rookie defenseman Nick Schmaltz, who spent the holidays with the Team U.S.A. Under-20 team at the World Junior Ice Hockey Tournament in Canada.

UND women’s hockey team also returned to The Ralph after an even longer hiatus than the men. Their last home game before this weekend was against the St. Cloud State Huskies on Nov. 30.

The women played Syracuse University on Saturday and then again at the same time on Sunday. The UND women also earned a split on the weekend, with a victory Saturday and narrow defeat on Sunday.

The UND women also welcomed back players who spent much of the winter break with their respective national teams at international tournaments in Europe. Canadians Meghan Dufault and Becca Kohler, German Tanja Eisenschmid and Swede Johanna Fallman all played in the 2015 Nation’s Cup in Germany, while Norwegian Andrea Dalen played in the Female Four Nations Tournament in France.

On the road again

UND women’s basketball is on the road this week. The women lost to Sacramento State on Thursday night, and suffered another defeat against Portland State on Saturday afternoon in Portland, Ore.

Go to the UND Athletics homepage for more complete coverage of all UND teams as well as ticketing information.

David Dodds University & Public Affairs writer

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