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UND, Bemidji State breaking in new goalies

Fighting Hawks goalie Peter Thome tracks a flying puck in the second period of Saturday's home win over Omaha. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

The last time Bemidji State started a goalie other than Michael Bitzer against UND was Oct. 11, 2014.

The last time UND started a goalie other than Cam Johnson against the Beavers was Oct. 17, 2015.

The two goaltenders have been staples over the last three-to-four years, and they've been staples of the U.S. Highway 2 series between the Fighting Hawks and Beavers.

So, when the teams meet this weekend at 7:07 p.m. Friday in Bemidji's Sanford Center and 7:07 p.m. Saturday in Ralph Engelstad Arena, they'll both be shooting on unfamiliar netminders for the first time in years.

UND will likely start sophomore Peter Thome, who got his feet wet last season with 11 starts. None came against Bemidji State, though. Rookie Adam Scheel is the backup.

Bemidji State used all three of its goaltenders in a 5-1 exhibition win Saturday. The Beavers started junior Jack Burgart, who had one start a year ago, used sophomore Henry Johnson in the second period and St. Cloud State transfer Zach Driscoll in the third period.

"You've got two teams that are going into a weekend here with not a big body of work on their goaltenders," UND coach Brad Berry said. "Now, you get information. Who wants to take the net? Michael Bitzer was a thorn in our side because he was a heck of a goaltender. Now, both sides are trying to figure out who that guy is."

Bast returns to practice

UND sophomore defenseman Gabe Bast sat out of the exhibition because of a minor injury.

After missing a couple of practice days last week, Bast appears to be a full go this week.

Because of a new NCAA rule allowing teams to dress 19 skaters this season instead of the 18 in years past, UND has the option of dressing a seventh defenseman in case any injuries linger for Bast.

Dreger to ref this weekend

Dan Dreger, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference official who sustained major facial injuries last year when he was hit by a puck, will officiate Saturday night's game between UND and Bemidji State in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

It will be his first game since Jan. 26, when an errant puck hit his upper lip, cracked the roof of his mouth lengthwise, fractured facial bones on both sides of his nose and sliced open his lip and nostril.

Dreger had four permanent plates installed in his face, two temporary brackets in his mouth, eight screws in his gums and 36 stitches.

UND vs. Bemidji State

When: 7:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Where: Sanford Center in Bemidji (Friday); Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks (Saturday).

Records: Bemidji State 0-0; UND 0-0.

TV: Midco Sports Network on Saturday online.

Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM).

Of note: UND earned a win and a tie against Bemidji State last season.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016 and 2018, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He also was the NCHC's inaugural Media Excellence Award winner in 2018. Schlossman has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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