That first-year national championship for Brad Berry in 2016 is a distant memory, as North Dakota has taken a step back each season since.
In 2018-19 the Fighting Hawks failed to advance past the opening round of the NCHC Tournament and saw their winning percentage slide to an 18-season low of .514.
UND has an incoming class of six, including three NHL draftees, as the Fighting Hawks attempt to reverse their recent slide.
View From the Glass takes a look at UND in Part V of its seven-part 2019-20 preview series.
Here are the first four installments: Colorado College | Denver | Minnesota-Duluth | Nebraska-Omaha
NORTH DAKOTA FIGHTING HAWKS
NCAA TITLES: 8 (1959, 1963, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1997, 2000, 2016).
COACH: Brad Berry (fifth season, 90-52-19, .618).
2018-19 RECORD: 18-17-2 (12-11-1 NCHC).
2019 POSTSEASON: Swept by Denver in the NCHC quarterfinal round.
RINK (capacity): Ralph Engelstad Arena (11,634).
MIAMI VS. NORTH DAKOTA LAST SEASON: 1-1.
ALL-TIME SERIES: North Dakota leads, 14-7-3.
SCHEDULE VS. MIAMI: Nov. 8-9 – at North Dakota; Jan. 17-18 – at Miami.
TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: D Colton Poolman, D Matt Kierstad, F Jordan Kawaguchi, G Peter Thome, G Adam Scheel.
KEY NEW FACES: F Westin Michaud, F Harrison Blaisdell, F Shane Pinto, F Judd Caulfield, G Harrison Feeney.
KEY LOSSES: F Nick Jones, F Rhett Gardner, D Hayden Shaw.
NOTES: Scoring was a major issue for North Dakota in 2018-19, as the Fighting Hawks found the net just 93 times in 37 games, a clip of just 2.51 which ranked No. 41 in the NCAA.
Jordan Kawaguchi was the lone UND skater to record over 20 points, finishing with 10 goals and 16 assists.
The addition of Westin Michaud, a graduate senior who posted 30 points at Colorado College, should add a major boost to the North Dakota offense.
But no other returning forward tallied more than 16 points last season. Cole Smith went 5-11-16 and Mark Senden finished 6-8-14.
Four other returning Fighting Hawks forwards have been drafted, but none ended up with more than 10 points in 2018-19.
North Dakota does have a solid returning D-corps, led by senior Colton Poolman who has played 115 games and notched 58 points.
Matt Kierstad was tops on the team in defenseman points with 18 last season, including seven goals, best among UND blueliners.
Ottawa draftee Jacob Bernard-Docker scored five goals and added 12 assists as a freshman, and junior Gabe Bast equaled that point output after posting 10 assists his rookie season.
Undrafted Adam Scheel drew the majority of work in net as a freshman, going 13-10-2 with a 2.07 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in 26 games.
Junior Peter Thome, a Columbus selection, struggled to an .880 save percentage after posting excellent numbers as a freshman.
Add in Harrison Feeney, a redshirt freshman, and UND should have plenty of competition between the pipes.
North Dakota converted just 14.2 percent of its power play chances last season, the ninth-worst rate in all of Division I, and will need to turn that around in 2019-20 if it hopes to return to the top echelon of the NCHC.
The Fighting Hawks will also need to improve on the road, as they finished 5-11-1 away from Grand Forks.
One thought on “NCHC snapshot: North Dakota”