UND hopeful Ethan Frisch can play against Western Michigan
The Fighting Hawks' alternate captain was injured late in Saturday's game against Lindenwood. He has returned to the ice this week.
GRAND FORKS — UND was 10 seconds from finishing a weekend sweep of Lindenwood when alternate captain Ethan Frisch got tangled with Lions forward Ryan Finnegan at the top of the crease.
Frisch went down and looked to be in quite a bit of pain Saturday night.
The defenseman from Moorhead suffered a lower-body injury that kept him from practice early this week, but Frisch re-joined late Wednesday morning and could be back in the lineup for this weekend's series against Western Michigan (7:07 p.m. Friday, 6:07 p.m. Saturday, Ralph Engelstad Arena).
"He's doing well," UND coach Brad Berry said. "He skated today on Wednesday here. He'll skate tomorrow. I'd say there's a good chance he'll be in the lineup on Friday."
Frisch skated on his own Tuesday and held a hybrid practice Wednesday, skating on his own for a while, then joining the team on the ice.
His presence is a vital one.
Frisch is the reigning National Collegiate Hockey Conference defensive defenseman of the year, and UND will be playing the nation's No. 1-scoring offense in the Broncos.
During the December series between the teams, Frisch and defensive partner Tyler Kleven routinely drew the assignment of matching up against Jason Polin, Ryan McAllister and Max Sasson, the country's No. 1-scoring line.
They kept that trio without a point as the Fighting Hawks earned five of a possible six NCHC points.
Western Michigan has played two games since that series, scoring eight goals in both of them. Polin, who has five hat tricks this season, leads the nation with 19 goals. McAllister, a freshman, leads the country with 38 points.
UND has played three games without Frisch this season.
He missed the series finale against Bemidji State in Ralph Engelstad Arena — a 4-2 Fighting Hawks win. Frisch also missed the following weekend at St. Cloud State, where UND's defense imploded in giving up 13 goals over two nights.
On the offensive side, Frisch is a key player, too.
He has nine points in 18 games this season, including four assists in last weekend's sweep of Lindenwood.
The two-game series is a key one in the Pairwise Rankings, which are used to select and seed the 16-team NCAA tournament.
UND (9-8-4) is No. 16.
Western Michigan (12-9-1) is No. 12.
Western Michigan at UND
When: 7:07 p.m. Friday, 6:07 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Ralph Engelstad Arena.
TV: Midco Sports (GF Ch. 27/622 HD).
Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM).