GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The original plan had the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team landing at Grand Forks International Airport around 3 p.m. Thursday, with practice at Ralph Engelstad Arena around 5.
In reality? Not so much.
The Badgers and the Fighting Hawks play a Friday-Saturday non-conference series in Grand Forks.
Maintenance delays on the charter aircraft the Badgers were supposed to take from Dane County Regional Airport pushed the team's scheduled departure from 1:30 p.m. to sometime after 4.
UW unpacked its equipment and practiced at LaBahn Arena, then waited. When it became clear that the original plane the team was going to take wasn't going to be an option, director of hockey operations Shane Connelly worked the phones with UW's travel partners to get new arrangements made.
At one point, there was a possibility of splitting the team up onto two small planes, but the equipment would have had to find another way to get to Grand Forks. And dinner in North Dakota had to be canceled while the team found a meal back in Madison.
Eventually, the Badgers ended up on a Delta plane that had finished its flight day after a trip from Atlanta. They loaded that jet and left after 11 p.m.
Touchdown at GFK: 12:47 a.m. Friday. The team bus dropped players off at the hotel before heading to the arena to unpack the equipment. Several members of the traveling party didn't call it a night until around 2 a.m.
Full staff effort to get things unpacked at the Ralph. Back tomorrow straighten things up before practice. Big thanks to @BadgerMHockey @ShaneConnelly @hrodes45 @brian_posick @neuroexplosion @TonyGranato @EmilyEngel_UW @MarkstrobelMark pic.twitter.com/nq1oMmfKgx— Nate LaPoint (@N_LaPoint) November 2, 2018
A little more than eight hours later, the team was on the ice for Friday's morning skate before the 16th-ranked Badgers play No. 14 North Dakota.
The afternoon naps might be a little longer than usual for some with the team.
Caught on video
Here's a quick video from Friday's morning skate.
Three more things
• Linus Weissbach didn't skate Friday morning and appears to be out of the lineup because of a right hand injury he suffered in Monday's practice. The Badgers are putting freshman Jack Gorniak in the second line left wing spot previously occupied by Weissbach alongside Tarek Baker and Sean Dhooghe. "Sean and Tarek are both really good players, so they've been helping me out a lot," Gorniak said Wednesday. "It's nothing new. I've just got to keep playing my game. It's going to be with two different guys, but I'm ready to go." Gorniak also is due for time on the second power-play unit, with Max Zimmer moving up to the first unit in place of Weissbach.
• Defenseman K'Andre Miller is tied for the national lead in plus/minus at plus-9. He has been on the ice for 11 even-strength Badgers goals and only two by opponents.
• Borrowing an on-ice feature from the Chicago Blackhawks, North Dakota is occasionally honoring a former player with something it calls "One More Shift," when he's introduced along with the starting lineup before a home game. Friday's honor goes to former UND captain Jim Archibald. Badgers fans with a good memory may recall Archibald as one of the players involved in the infamous "Water Bottle Game" incident at the Dane County Coliseum in 1982. Archibald is UND's all-time leader in penalty minutes, but he also led the team with 37 goals in 1984-85.
Put it in quotes
Badgers freshman left wing Jack Gorniak, looking ahead to this weekend's series:
"It's going to be all of North Dakota, basically, versus our team. So we're going to have to rally together."
Here's the Badgers' projected lineup for Friday night:
Max Zimmer - Seamus Malone - Will Johnson
Jack Gorniak - Tarek Baker - Sean Dhooghe
Matthew Freytag - Mick Messner - Jarod Zirbel
Roman Ahcan - Dominick Mersch - Brock Caufield
Extra forward: Jason Dhooghe
Wyatt Kalynuk - Tyler Inamoto
K'Andre Miller - Ty Emberson
Peter Tischke - Josh Ess
Starting goalie: Jack Berry