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UND players return from illness; Fighting Hawks will be missing two this weekend

UND coach Brad Berry says he's considering giving Drew DeRidder and Jakob Hellsten each a start against Holy Cross.

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University of Minnesota Duluth's Quinn Olson and North Dakota's Cooper Moore work for the puck in the second period of their game Friday at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — For the first time since a non-COVID illness began working its way through the team about 10 days ago, no UND hockey players missed practice because of it Wednesday.

All five players who were held out of Saturday's exhibition due to illness — forward Jackson Kunz, forward Carson Albrecht, defenseman Cooper Moore, defenseman Ty Farmer and goaltender Jakob Hellsten — were on the ice.

UND had 25 players at practice, a big jump from last week when the Fighting Hawks were under 15 for a couple days.

"It definitely gives you a little more rest between sets during practice," UND forward Matteo Costantini said. "It's nice to see the guys getting back as well."

The only two players who won't be available for the series against the Crusaders are forward Dane Montgomery and defenseman Luke Bast.

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"They've got some nagging injuries," UND coach Brad Berry said.

Farmer, a fifth-year senior transfer from UMass, is expected to make his UND debut Friday night.

"We're going to put together a lineup on Friday, and the guys who aren't in, they've got to be prepared, because maybe they'll get a call on Saturday," Berry said.

Berry didn't give away line combinations during his weekly press conference, but he did indicate that Riese Gaber will be on a line with center Jake Schmaltz, while Mark Senden will be with Louis Jamernik V. They were together during the exhibition game against Manitoba last Saturday.

"We try to get some consistency in practice with two guys who have played together for a while," Berry said. "You just try to bounce guy in here and there to see what the chemistry is."

Who starts in net?

The first difficult call the coaching staff has to make is in net, where Michigan State transfer Drew DeRidder and Hellsten are expected to battle for playing time. Kaleb Johnson is third on the depth chart.

Berry indicated the Fighting Hawks could split starts between DeRidder and Hellsten against Holy Cross.

"I've seen a lot around the country where teams have two or three very good goaltenders and they platoon them the first weekend," Berry said. "Right now, obviously, that could be an option for us, because all of those guys deserve time to play. It's a situation where this week, especially, we'd like to get a bigger body of work on some players and see where we're at."

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Four National Collegiate Hockey Conference teams opened regular-season play last weekend — Western Michigan, Miami, St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth. Miami started Ludvig Persson both nights, but the other three teams split goalie starts.

Holy Cross at No. 3 UND

When: 7:07 p.m. Friday, 6:07 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Ralph Engelstad Arena (tickets available).
TV: Midco Sports (GF Ch. 27/622 HD).
Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM).
Stream: NCHChockey.com.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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