GRAND FORKS, ND– In their first big test of the season, the University of North Dakota came out of it with a mixed review. Despite the 5-5 tie against eighth-ranked Quinnipiac, the Fighting Hawks have plenty to improve on when it comes to their own game should they want to play against the heavy hitters in the NCAA.
While they outchanced Quinnipiac offensively, North Dakota didn’t have the best of times in their own zone, with the Bobcats picking apart the defensive scheme from North Dakota. It started past the midway point, with Jacob Quillan picking off a bad breakout attempt from UND and found Joey Cipollone streaking unmarked down the slot, who put it over Drew DeRidder’s shoulder for the 1-0 Quinnipiac lead. North Dakota would try to push back, but the Bobcats would strike again with Christophe Fillion taking a shot that was blocked off Ethan Frisch’s ankle and the puck finding Christophe Tellier, who deked DeRidder– who overshot his post in his reset– and Tellier made it 2-0 putting passed the outstretched pad of DeRidder. With under a minute remaining, the Bobcats ended the period on a high as Cipollone beat out Tyler Kleven for a loose puck, pushed it to TJ Friedmann, who found Quillan in front for a one-timer to make it 3-0 at the end of the first and the end of the night for DeRidder.
“It was pretty firm and direct,” head coach Brad Berry said post game of his talk in the first intermission. “We pulled our goaltender to maybe get a push from our team, and I thought we did that. But I wanted Drew DeRidder to know that when we’re not playing our best, it’s not just one guy. It’s everyone in that locker room who didn’t play up to the standard that we needed to do.”
The response from UND was solid, as within the first three minutes they were on the board, as Dylan James made a great stick check in at the point to spring himself and Nick Portz on a 2-on-1 with Portz’s shot going off the post, but James following up on the play and notching his first NCAA goal. It was nearly 3-2 for UND, with Mark Senden poking in a puck in front, but a Quinnipiac challenge for offside was upheld and the goal was called back. The Bobcats took that high and got their three-goal lead back with Friedmann being able to skate around the zone and create his own space before wiring one home behind Jakob Hellsten to make it 4-1. The Hawks were pumping in the shots in the second, totaling 21 in the middle frame alone. Those chances helped with Riese Gaber getting onto the board, putting him a one-timer off a slick pass from Owen McLaughlin behind the net and the Hawks cut the lead in half 4-2 going into the second intermission.
North Dakota benefited from a couple power play in the early part of the third, with Jackson Blake bringing North Dakota to within one with a great spin-move off the half-wall and cutting to the net to put it through Yaniv Perets and make it a 4-3 game. Less than two minutes later on a two-man advantage, Chris Jandric picked up a loose puck in the slot and wired it home to even the game. Thirty-four seconds after that goal, Gavin Hain took a loose puck in the circle and ripped on that trickled behind Perets and made it 5-4 North Dakota as the roof was close to coming off The Ralph with the hypeness from the UND faithful. The Bobcats would get it back to even as Jayden Lee skated the length of the blue line, drawing two defenders, opening up CJ McGee for a one-timer to put this game at 5s with half a period to go.
Neither team was able to get the go-ahead goal, nor the winner in overtime; thus the game would be officially a draw. However, in the shootout– North Dakota got goals from Blake and Gaber with Hellsten stopping two of three Bobcats to give the Hawks the emotional victory on Friday night.
POST GAME VIDEO