Northeastern’s opponent on Friday is North Dakota, which heads into the NCAA tournament with a record of 30-6-4, and nearly double the number of goals scored (142) than goals allowed (74). The Fighting Hawks are one of the nation’s top teams, drawing a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and being ranked No. 3 nationally in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls.
Here’s what Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan told our writer Jason Kornwitz earlier this week in a wide-ranging Q&A:
“They’re a hard team to play against. They have a good blend of skill and grit and physicality. And they can beat you in a number of ways, whether in a high scoring game or tight checking 2-1 type of game. There’s no doubt about it—we’ll have to bring our ‘A’ game on Friday. As I told the players earlier in the week, while we haven’t played North Dakota this year, we have played North Dakota-like teams all season long and have had success.”
And here’s more insight from Madigan from Thursday, when he was asked about North Dakota during a post-practice press conference:
“There’s been some common characteristics of North Dakota teams over the years. They are skilled, tough, gritty, and physical teams. That is certainly the case again with this year’s team. … They can defend and they have been getting great goaltending. So, in all three phases of the game, they are very good and they are battle-tested. A lot of these young men went to the tournament last year and into the Frozen Four. We know we have got our hands full with them because they are a seasoned and veteran team. They play the game the right way. They play hard, they are tough and they can beat you in many ways. At the same time, we are excited about what our team is and our identity.”