North Dakota looks sharp in exhibition game ahead of this weekend's clash with St. Cloud State.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. – In an exhibition game just over one year ago, North Dakota lost forward Michael Parks to an injury that ended up costing him half of his sophomore season. In tonight's 4-1 exhibition win over the U.S. Under-18 National Team, UND again watched as an injured teammate was taken off the ice with a potentially serious injury.
During the second period, sophomore forward Drake Caggiula got tangled up with a Team USA player at the blue line and ended up going up and over the fallen player before landing head-first on the ice. Caggiula lay motionless on the ice for several minutes while being attended to by medical personnel and was taken on a stretcher following a lengthy delay. Fortunately, Caggiula was later released from hospital after all tests came back negative.
At the time of the injury, the challenge for UND head coach Dave Hakstol and Caggiula's teammates became a matter of gathering their emotions and putting their focus back on the game.
"It puts everything secondary, but I think our guys did a good job of going back to work and closing out a pretty good second period," said Hakstol. "A lot of credit to them. That's not the easiest thing to do as you're going through that experience. While a major part of your thought process is still with (Drake), now you still have to go back to the game and where our job was tonight."
While Caggiula's injury brought an immediate hush to the 10,576 in attendance, UND set about reenergizing its bench and the crowd.
Less than 90 seconds after Caggiula was taken from the ice, senior forward Mitch MacMillan opened the scoring when his sharp-angle shot eluded USA netminder Edwin Minney. Two minutes, later Brendan O'Donnell converted a Mark MacMillan feed in the slot to give UND a 2-0 lead.
Jordan Schmaltz punctuated UND's dominant second period when he tapped home a rebound goal with three seconds left in the frame. UND outshot Team USA 17-2 in the period and 30-19 for the game.
Team USA's Sonny Milano and UND's Coltyn Sanderson traded goals in the third period, Sanderson's coming into an empty net with two-tenths of a second remaining. Sanderson and senior forward Derek Rodwell were each playing in their first game of the season, with Sanderson seeing his first game action since last October.
UND will return to NCHC action next weekend when it hosts St. Cloud State on Friday and Saturday at Ralph Engelstad Arena.