GRAND FORKS, ND– Coming back on the tail-end of a home-and-home, the North Dakota Fighting Hawks looked to gather up a win after tying the Bemidji State Beavers in Bemidji the night before. With a battered and bruised roster, the Hawks brought any healthy body they could to the roster and found an extra gear and were able to pull out a 4-2 win in their last home game of the semester.
North Dakota was able to get pressure early and get pucks to the net, but Gavin Enright was able to hold the Hawks, even with pucks coming through traffic. Bemidji was able to counter with some odd-man rushes the other way, but Jakob Hellsten, in his second straight start, was able to hold off the attacks and keep the sheet clean. With plenty of zone time, North Dakota struck first with Tyler Kleven taking a skate around the zone before driving to the net. While Kleven’s attempt was stopped, Dylan James came in to clean up the garbage and put home his second of the year. A late power play from the Beavers had some chances created, but Hellsten shut them down to keep it 1-0 after 20 minutes.
Starting early in the second, the Hawks were bringing plenty of energy and having some solid looks at the net. It wasn’t until five minutes in when Riese Gaber found the puck at the side of the net and buried his 10th of the year and gave North Dakota the 2-0 lead. Moments later, coming down the wing, Louis Jamernik V let one rip from the dot under the arm of Enright to make it 3-0 and tally his first of the year, something he was struggling to find all season.
“The first guy I want to mention is Riese Gaber. Not only is he an unreal teammate, but a real good friend,” Jamernik V said post-game. “We had a good chat (Friday) night in Bemidji. I was getting down on myself. But he said it was all mindset. He gave me a lot of pointers on just reminding yourself ‘I’m gonna score, I’m gonna score’ and he was telling me all through the 1st and 2nd period. And as soon as it went in, I pointed right at him.”
It wasn’t all grand for North Dakota, as they did have a let down towards the mid-part of the third period, first with Kaden Pickering wiring home a shorthanded goal to the top corner, then Carter Jones being left alone in the slot to pick up the loose puck and make it a 3-2 game with two goals in 1:02.
“There were a couple of shifts that got away from us, but I thought for the most part our guys got close to a sixty minute game,” Brad Berry said post game. “The perfect game would have been in the third to roll through the lines and doing all the right things to preserve a 3-0 lead. Obviously, a little adversity, getting hit with a shorty and right after, another one. Had to call a timeout, the guys had to take a breath. I thought the guys did a good job of getting back to where we gave up those two goals.”
Judd Caulfield was able to chip one into the open net to make the final score 4-2, as the Hawks finished out their first half at home with a 4-4-1 record. They’ll be on the road the next two weekends with NCHC contests in St. Cloud and Western Michigan.
POST GAME VIDEO