How Good Is North Dakota?


After noticing that after 12 conference games North Dakota has the same exact record (6-5-1) this year as they did last year, I decided to take a look at how good they are. Last year when they started 6-5-1 in conference play, they were ranked down in the 10-15 range, and Sioux fans acted like the sky was falling. This year, however, they are ranked 3rd in our rankings, and very highly in all of the national poll. What’s changed?

For one, the non-conference games. North Dakota started off winning 2 games at home vs. Merrimack this year. Good wins, but against a team that didn’t play all that well that weekend. Last year, they lost 5-1 to Boston U and then 3-2 to UMass. They followed that up with a loss to Minnesota State in which Zach Harrison had a short handed hat trick. This year, they throttled their archrival Minnesota.

Next, let’s take a look at where they stand, stats wise:


2008-09: 3.40 gpg (7th nationally)

2009-10: 3.25 gpg (tied for 18th)


2008-09: 2.74 gpg (25th)

2009-10: 2.00 gpg (T-5th)

Power Play:

2008-09: 17.2% (24th)

2009-10: 23.1% (8th)

Penalty Kill

2008-09: 84.3% (25th)

2009-10: 88.2% (7th)

The special teams are going to even themselves out. Given the fact that they have had less opportunities, the percentages fluctuate more. I expect their power play percentage to dip, although it could stay close to where it is. I also expect their penalty kill to dip a bit as well.

Obviously the big improvement has been in goal. Brad Eidsness isn’t an elite goaltender by any stretch, but he is 18th in the country with a .919 save percentage. Last year he was 7th in his own conference at just .906. Eidsness has turned himself into a solid, dependable goaltender which is a big step up from where he was last season.

Although the results don’t show it, it appears the Sioux are a better team thus far than they were last season. They look to be in the hunt for the WCHA title yet again, and could get a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.