UND hockey's regional filled with experienced goalies
UND's Zach Driscoll, Mankato's Dryden McKay and Notre Dame's Matthew Galajda all have more than 70 career wins.
ALBANY, N.Y. — Three of the top 21 goalies in the history of college hockey in terms of career wins were in MVP Arena on Wednesday.
That’s a threesome that doesn’t even include UND starting goalie Zach Driscoll, who has 74 victories across five seasons and three teams.
Minnesota State-Mankato goalie Dryden McKay has 102 career wins (third all-time), Notre Dame goalie Matthew Galajda has 77 (21st all-time) and UND assistant coach Karl Goehring had 80 wins while playing in Grand Forks (18th all-time).
Strong, experienced goaltending was a theme Wednesday at the Albany Regional on the eve of the NCAA tournament. UND opens the tournament at 5 p.m. Thursday on ESPNU against Notre Dame.
“Having Zach on our side is a big deal,” UND coach Brad Berry said. “He’s been through a lot of these games — regular-season games, playoff games, he’s been in situations where there are elite teams.
“All of the rest of the teams in the tournament here have experienced goaltenders. We’re going to see one tomorrow. We have to make it hard and heavy in the offensive zone. We have to make sure there’s not a lot of time and space. We have to keep things simple about getting pucks in front with traffic. I think that’ll be their gameplan, as well. It’ll be exciting tomorrow because there’s a national championship on the line. You have to win four games and our guys will be hungry and tenacious to try to get that one tomorrow.”
Although it’s Driscoll’s first year in Grand Forks, he played in the NCAA tournament last year as the starting goalie for Bemidji State, when the Beavers upset Wisconsin in the first round.
Bemidji State, the fourth seed, stunned Wisconsin, the Big Ten regular-season champion and top seed in the East Regional, 6-3 in Bridgeport, Conn.
Driscoll made 30 saves in the game, giving up two of his three goals in the third period to Cole Caufield, the nation’s leading goal-scorer who now plays for the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL.
“I think knowing the bright lights and big stage-type thing … definitely having that experience once before helps,” Driscoll said after practice Wednesday. “But we’re lucky enough to play on a pretty big stage all year at The Ralph so I don’t think anyone on our team is going to be surprised coming out (Thursday) and seeing that. Everybody in this group has experienced success like that at one point and played in big games. It helps, but we’re all ready for it tomorrow.”
Driscoll, since taking the starting job back on Jan. 29, is 10-2-1 with a 1.80 goals-against average and .936 save percentage.
But Notre Dame’s Galajda, a graduate transfer from Cornell, has been equally as stingy late in the year.
In the last nine games, Galajda is 7-2 with a .943 save percentage, a 1.80 goals-against average and has surrendered just 10 even-strength goals.
Galajda was injured in the 2019 ECAC title game and missed the NCAA tournament with Cornell that season, so he’s yet to play in the NCAAs in his career.
“It has been a real positive all season long,” Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said of Galajda's play. “We’ve had two good goalies all year. Ryan Bischel has played really well throughout the year, too, and I think that competition helped Matthew because I don’t think he’s had that before.
“In the last month here, he’s really got his game together. You can see his confidence and poise. He plays a quiet game and doesn’t give up a lot of second opportunities. He’s mature back there and that’s what you expect from a graduate student.”
NCAA Albany Regional
Who: UND vs. Notre Dame
When: 5 p.m. Central, Thursday.
Where: MVP Arena, Albany, N.Y.
Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM).