Minnesota Hockey Magazine

North Dakota Men’s Hockey Victory Over U.S. U-18 Team is Over Shadowed by Injury to Caggiula

Grand Forks, N.D.- North Dakota’s 4-1 victory over Team U.S.A. in an exhibition game took a back seat when the team and the crowd of 10,576 silently watched North Dakota forward, Drake Caggiula, lay motionless on the ice for several minutes until medical assistance carried him off on a stretcher.

During the second period Caggiula collided with a Team U.S.A. player causing him to land head first onto the ice. Between doctors, trainers and coaches, about 10 personnel were on the ice assisting Caggiula. He was carried away on a stretcher and sent to the hospital where he was released later that night with an upper body injury.

Seeing their teammate wheeled off on a stretcher sparked the team as they scored two quick goals.

“There are more important things than hockey and it was tough on our team,” North Dakota forward, Rocco Grimaldi, says. “We wanted to play the rest of the game for him and give it our all since he is the kind of guy that will do anything for our team.”

“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,” North Dakota head coach, Dave Hakstol, adds.” A lot of credit to them. That’s not the easiest thing to do as you’re going through that experience.”

Just over a minute after Caggiula was taken off the ice North Dakota forward, Mitch MacMillan, scored the first goal of the game with an odd angle shot from below the hash marks.

Less than two minutes later North Dakota’s Brendan O’Donnell snipes a one-timer from Mitch’s brother, Mark MacMillan, adding to North Dakota’s lead.

With only three seconds left in the second period North Dakota’s Jordan Schmaltz knocked in a rebound past Team U.S.A goaltender, Edward Minny, to give North Dakota a 3-0 lead going into the second intermission.

In the second period North Dakota dominated not only on the scoreboard, but also outshot Team U.S.A. 17-2.

Team U.S.A. tried to stage a comeback and cut the lead to 3-1 midway through the third period. Sonny Milano put one past North Dakota goalie, Clarke Saunders.

To close out the scoring North Dakota’s Coltyn Sanderson beat the buzzer with an open net goal to give North Dakota a decisive 4-1 victory. The game was Sanderson’s and Derek Rodwell’s first game of the season.

“I thought they both really worked their way into the game,” Hakstol says. “It’s hard when you haven’t played in such a long time. For [Sanderson] it’s been almost a year since he’s played, but I wouldn’t have had either of them on the ice in the last couple of minutes of a two-goal game unless I thought they were playing solid hockey. I thought it was fitting for [Sanderson] to get one right at the buzzer.”

6th ranked North Dakota will host their first ever NCHC conference game taking on 10th ranked St. Cloud State this weekend in Grand Forks at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. Friday’s game will be at 7:37 PM and Saturday’s game will be at 7:07 PM. Both games can be heard on FM 96.1 The Fox (KQHT-FM).

Notes: The hockey game was a designated North Dakota Strong game. North Dakota Strong is a campaign that raises funds and awareness for breast cancer research. All proceeds from the fundraiser will be donated to Mayo Clinic for breast cancer research. The team wore pink jerseys for the game that will be auctioned off. Brendan O’Donnell, Mark MacMillan and Mitch MacMillan were named the three stars of the game. North Dakota outshot Team U.S.A. 30 to 19.