Despite lineup inconsistencies, UND continues to roll

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GRAND FORKS, N.D. (Valley News Live) -- Because of injury or illness North Dakota head coach Brad Berry has had to put out a different lineup in each of the team's first 18 games. Despite that the team is 10-4-4 and ranked No. 5 in the country.

"I think part of the beauty of it all is when players commit here they know the deal," Berry said. "They know they get recruited on what they bring to the table but they're willing and able to be team first. That's a big deal for us to have players that are on the same page that accept those roles."

Senior captain Austin Poganski said the different lineups have affected practices.

"It's definitely different not being able to kind of create chemistry and momentum with your line mates throughout the week but I think here at North Dakota we have so much talent and depth that no matter who you're playing with you're going to have success and you know what you're going to get from every player."

Senior goaltender Cam Johnson, who missed eight games himself with an injury, said it goes back to what the team was saying at the beginning of the season with one of their strengths being depth.

"It's just proving our depth and shows how strong we really are from even the guys that aren't in the lineup."

Junior forward Joel Janatuinen, who has also missed time this season, said seeing new people in the lineup each week is different.

"But I think our forward group is really skilled, really deep. So it really doesn't matter who you play with."

Berry wouldn't say it's been a frustrating first half, "I think its a challenge. It's real life. It's adversity that you try to get through every day. Life is full of adversity and you try to get through it in a positive way and our guys have made the most of it so far and we've got to continue to make the most of it."

Berry did say there might be a benefit to getting so many people playing time in the first half of the season when the second half rolls around, but right now he's just focused on the next series.

North Dakota takes on No. 2 St. Cloud State this weekend.