GRAND FORKS — Nobody has to dig up video from the University of North Dakota's trip to Buffalo, N.Y., last January.
Nobody needs to send UND reminders of how its series at Canisius College played out or about how that series ultimately kept the Fighting Hawks out of the NCAA tournament.
"It's not secret; everybody knows what happened last year," junior defenseman Gabe Bast said.
UND went to Buffalo, lost twice to the Golden Griffins at HarborCenter, and could never completely cover from the hit it took in the Pairwise Rankings. Not even wins against the No. 1, 3, 5 and 6 teams in the nation could save them.
"At the time, it was like, 'Gosh, this might hurt us a little bit,'" UND senior captain Colton Poolman said. "But we didn't realize until we didn't make the tournament and until we didn't move up a whole lot in some games we won (exactly how much it hurt). The message is here right now. We have to make sure we do the job."
UND will get a shot at correcting last year's fatal mistakes this weekend.
The Fighting Hawks host Canisius at 7:37 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, and 7:07 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, in Ralph Engelstad Arena to open the regular season.
"Usually, Canisius isn't a rivalry game," Bast said. "But we're taking it as a rivalry game this weekend.
"Last year, it was our Achilles' Heel. We're going to do everything in our power not to let that happen again. PairWise is huge with these nonconference games at the beginning of the year. All the boys will be ready to go this weekend."
Canisius went on to finish last in Atlantic Hockey last season, and the Golden Griffins have been picked to finish there again this season.
The Golden Griffins will look quite a bit different this season. They lost their top four defensemen — seniors Jimmy Mazza, Cameron Heath, Ian Edmondson and Alex Jaeckle — to graduation. Canisius brought in a senior graduate transfer at defense — Brown's Will Scherer — to aid at that position.
Up front, Canisius lost former Hobey Baker Award finalist Dylan McLaughlin, but brings back Miami transfer Austin Alger (.76 points per game) and senior forward Nick Hutchinson (81 career points). Alberta Junior Hockey League star Simon Gravel could be the top recruit in Atlantic Hockey and provide a punch right away.
"They're a good team," Poolman said. "They have some good offensive power. They counter-attacked us very well. They play good, sturdy, solid defense. They made us go to the perimeter. When they had their chances, they buried them. That's something we need to do ourselves. When we get chances, we need to bury them, because it's probably going to be another couple of close games here. We've got to bury our chances, because they play such good defense and they have good goaltending."
UND scored just two goals on 82 shots on goal during the two games last season against goaltenders Blake Weyrick, who is gone, and Matt Ladd, who returns.
This year, the Fighting Hawks are hoping to turn the page from a year in which nothing came easy offensively.
"We're trying to kind of establish a swagger to our group," Bast said, "and play with confidence every night and just believe in ourselves that we can get the job done."
UND coach Brad Berry said: "The beauty of it is a lot of guys are still here from last year. They remember that."
Canisius at No. 18 UND
When: 7:37 p.m. Friday, 7:07 p.m. Saturday
Where: Ralph Engelstad Arena (tickets available).
Records: UND 0-0, Canisuis 0-0.
TV/radio: Midco Sports Network (NCHC.tv), The Fox (96.1 FM).
Of note: UND lost twice to Canisius a season ago in Buffalo's HarborCenter.