Depth Rules the Day for UND in Exhibition Win

GRAND FORKS, ND– This past week, the University of North Dakota had to deal with an illness going through the program, so much so that they had to go into the exhibition game with the University of Manitoba with 13 forwards, five defensemen, and two goalies, a far cry from the abundance of players who suit up for usual exhibition games. Despite the lack of usual skaters and needing to drop captain Mark Senden back on defense in the third period, the Fighting Hawks were able to get the victory in their tune-up for the 2022-23 season. 

It wasn’t the start that the Hawks were looking for, as on the first shot from Manitoba; Mitch Dyck ripped one through a big screen in front of Drew DeRidder to put the Bison up 1-0. North Dakota didn’t have the puck luck early on, as pucks were hopping off of sticks, too many passes being made, or holding the puck just a bit too long when lining up for a shot. The Hawks got onto the board with 7:01 to go in the first with Griffin Ness taking a rebound and putting it behind Brett Murphy to tie the game up at one. North Dakota kept the offense going until the end of the frame, but could only muster one goal through the first 20. 

“It was a good play by Jandric,” said Ness, “when you get to the heavy area in front of the net, sometimes you get rewarded. I just happened to be there. Feels good, but I look forward to next weekend. 

The second period showed what the UND squad was capable of, with Jake Schmaltz scoring 21 seconds into the frame after Matteo Costantini had his shot blocked by a Manitoba defender in front. North Dakota kept the pressure up through the second, but it wasn’t until after halfway where they got their paydirt. It started with Red Wings’ pick Dylan James rifling a shot home after Ben Strinden won the offensive zone face off to make it 3-1 Hawks. Less than a minute later, Tyler Kleven showed off his offensive upside, coming down from the point and putting it over the shoulder of Murphy, near side, to make it 4-1 Hawks. Finally, after the Hawks killed off a penalty, Chris Jandric poked the puck ahead to Gavin Hain, who found Jandric to finish off a four-goal period and take North Dakota to the 5-1 lead. 

While there was no scoring in the third, local product Kaleb Johnson was able to get into net for the first time in his college career, taking the third period and stopping all five shots he faced. Giving credit to the team in front of him, Johnson basked in the moment he was afforded on Saturday. 

“All the memories from my childhood kind of came over me,” Johnson said after the game. “It’s always been my dream. To get that win, it’s so special. I’m glad I got to share it with this group of guys. They’re great people, hard workers, and they made it even more special for me.” 

VIDEO POST-GAME

UND HOCKEY: Deja Vu All Over Again, as UND Wins 2-1 and Advance

GRAND FORKS, ND– In what was almost a replay of Friday night’s affair, the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and Colorado College Tigers battled, had all their scoring in the second period, and UND came away with a 2-1 win to advance in the NCHC Playoffs.

Welcoming back Connor Ford to the line-up, North Dakota started better than the previous night, getting shots in and around Matt Vernon, but couldn’t one to go passed. The Tigers thought that they had broken the ice early in the first period after a rebound went off of Ray Christy’s glove and behind Zach Driscoll. Thanks to video review, which the NCHC does after every goal, it showed that as Christy was trying to bunt the puck in with his stick; it was pushed in by his glove, thus no-goal. UND started the press harder thanks to the reprieve, but Vernon was dialed in during the first to keep it a scoreless period.

The second period went about the same as the previous night, as UND got up early in the frame. Thanks to a turnover by Vernon at the side of the net, Carson Albrecht found Matteo Costantini streaking down the left side with Costantini putting it through the five-hole of a flailing Vernon to make it 1-0 UND 1:28 into the period. The Tigers struck back at 3:10 into the period on the power play when Stanley Cooley tipped home a Nicklas Andrews point attempt to knot the game at 1. Keeping the play in the CC zone, UND drew a penalty late into the period, allowing their power play to get to work. With only 12 seconds remaining with the extra man, Riese Gaber ripped one over the shoulder of Vernon that he didn’t see thanks to the screen work by Ford, and UND went up 2-1.

Just as they were in the same predicament last night, the Tigers started to press, while UND took their chances, but looked to keep their area clean to secure the lead. Late in the game, Tyler Kleven was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for a hit from behind. Kleven, due to his previous majors, will miss the next UND game. The call occured with 2:18 left in the game and while the Tigers got seven shots on net in that time, Driscoll and the defense staved off the attack to win 2-1 and advance to the Frozen Faceoff in St. Paul. They will face Western Michigan in the semifinal.

THEY SAID IT

 “I was biting my nails on the bench for sure. You’ve got to give our guys credit, blocking shots. Just warriors out there. That’s why they’re going to be successful in their careers and that’s why we’re successful as a team.” — Gaber on the work in the last 2:18.

“We shouldn’t have put ourselves in that situation. We already addressed that in the locker room. I love Tyler Kleven. I was standing at this podium yesterday and saying his game has matured, and it really has. Late in the game, you’ve got to make sure you’re in control. Tyler Kleven is a big part of our team, but this a teaching moment for our group going forward in the Frozen Faceoff and the national tournament. Discipline is going to be a big thing.” — Coach Brad Berry on the Kleven situation

“When I see those guys selling out and blocking shots, it just makes me want to compete on pucks that much harder. It goes hand-in-hand like that.” — Driscoll on the work in front of him

Photo: Jen Conway/@NHLHistorygirl

GRAND FORKS , ND– The first round of hte NCHC Playoffs kicked off in Grand Forks on Friday for the North Dakota Fighting Hawks against the #7 seed Colorado College Tigers. Thanks to some returns and stingy play, the Fighting Hawks were able to find enough time and space during the game to eek out a 2-1 victory to take Game 1 of the quarterfinal.

While they were missing Connor Ford to non-COVID illness, the Hawks got back Jake Sanderson, Riese Gaber, and Ethan Frisch to the line-up. The first period was typical playoff hockey with plenty of neutral zone play and no team really getting a lot of time and space to create much offense. Only six shots total between both teams were registered in a scoreless tie after one.

The start of the second period made up for the lack of anything in the first. Only 2:35 into the frame, Jaek Sanderson announced his return, pump faking of a shot to draw CC’s Ray Christy down and out, toe dragging back, and whipping a wrister home to give UND the opening salvo. The Tigers came back 1:12 later with Jordan Biro getting behind the defense and ripping a shot past the blocker of Zach Driscoll to tie up the game. UND continued to buzz in the CC end, but it wasn’t until 7:06 remaining the second when they would break the tie with a Tyler Kleven cannon from the point blowing by Matt Vernon to put the Fighting Hawks up again. Trying to push for more offense, North Dakota couldn’t find the back of the net in the rest of the period, but came out up by a goal.

In the third, it was almost a replay of the first, with not a lot of time or space given to either side. Both sides clamped down their own zone plenty, while not giving up much space in the neutral zone. Despite the Tigers outshooting UND 5-4, they weren’t able to find the equalizer and the Hawks were able to score the Game One victory 2-1.

THEY SAID IT

“We didn’t have the start we wanted, we weren’t sharp in a few different areas. But we got better in the second and third period. There wasn’t a lot of time and space out there, but we created a cpuple plays when we had to. We’re going to have to be sharper tomorrow.” — Coach Brad Berry on his team’s play.

“They took a lot of time and space from us. Just moving pucks up quick in the neutral zone, I know (Berry) was harped on us. If we have time, skate through, use our feet, trust ourselves, get pucks deep and get on their defense and goalie.” — Sanderson on what is needed for better chances

“It was everything I expected. We knew it was going to be super hard, they’re playing for their season and we’re trying to move on. We’ve got to match their energy because tomorrow is a going to be a super hard game.” — Jake Schmaltz on his first playoff game.

UND HOCKEY: Three-Goal First Leads Hawks to Third-Straight Weekend Sweep

Photo: Jen Conway/@NHLHistorygirl

GRAND FORKS, ND– On Senior Night and missing yet another key player, this time in Ethan Frisch, the North Dakota Fighting Hawks put on their next-man-up mentality and used it in their quick start against Western Michigan, as they took the win and swept their third straight weekend. 

North Dakota was able to get out to a quick start while Western Michigan got into plenty of penalty trouble. It only took 2:34 for North Dakota to cash in, as Luke Bast took a rebound off a blocked shot in front and wired it past Brandon Bussi to give the Hawks an early lead. 

Then, North Dakota used deflections from Western to their advantage. First, the best of both worlds, as Louis Jamernik was able to weave through the defense for a prime chance, but he was hauled down in the process. As the delayed penalty was happening, Jamernik’s attempt was knocked into the net by Daniel Hilsendager to give UND the 2-0 lead and yet another power play. Just past midway, another power play for UND saw Judd Caulfield looking to find Connor Ford on the two-on-one break, though Caulfield’s pass went off of Cole Gallant’s skate and into the net to give UND a three-goal lead just 12:15 into the game. 

Western was able to get on the board late with a power play goal of their own with Jason Polin tallying his 14th of the year to cut the UND lead to two going into intermission. 

Though the second period saw Western give UND fits on Friday, UND was able to counterattack better in Saturday’s match-up, while also give more good bounces to UND. The first of which had Zach Driscoll make a save-of-the-year nominee, as a puck caromed off the back glass and landed onto his back. Making a quick decision, Driscoll put his glove hand behind his back, turned his body, making sure the puck never crossed the line and keeping it a two goal game. Another UND bounced came at the tail-end of a penalty kill, with Caulfield and Jamernik rushing on a 2-on-0 give-and-go with Caulfield passing over to Jamernik, but the puck was deflected by a back-checking Ronnie Attard of Western; but it wasn’t enough to break up the play with Jamernik corralling the puck and passing back to Caulfield for his second of the night and giving UND the 4-1 lead. 

Despite only getting five shots in the third period, Western was able to get within two goals on a Josh Passolt breakaway goal, as he got behind the defense and walked in to score on Driscoll to make it 4-2. But, it was UND’s night with captain Mark Senden helping cap off the weekend on another odd-man-rush, using patiences coming down the wing before finding Carson Albrecht for his second goal of the season to help seal a 5-2 victory for North Dakota. 

With the NCHC commissioner in the building to maybe present the Penrose Trophy for best regular season team in the conference, North Dakota waited after the game to watch the end of the Denver/Omaha– with Denver needing to win to stay alive. Denver overcame a 2-0 hole to win 5-2, meaning that a North Dakota win or Denver loss next weekend would give the Fighting Hawks their third-straight Penrose. 

THEY SAID IT

“Guys are willing to do anything for each other. We had over 20-some blocks in the game tonight, giving your body up, sacrificing, whatever you have to do. Doing whatever you can in your role to help win a game, and I think our guys are maximizing their roles right now.” –Head coach Brad Berry on the sacrifice of his team

“We went into Western and battled hard, but didn’t come up with any wins, so we knew we wanted a couple games at the Ralph. We always play hard in our building and we weren’t going to make it easy on them.” – Caulfield on getting payback after the earlier series against the Broncos.

“It sucks because (Frisch) is a huge leader and plays a big role for us, but we know it’s nothing new. Obviously with this past month losing guys, we just got to step up. That’s been huge for us to get these looks from guys who haven’t been getting the opportunity and we’re starting to build that swagger. Now that we have that internal belief that we can get the job done, that’s huge.” –Jamernik on the confidence of the team.

UND HOCKEY: Frantic First Leads Short-Handed Hawks to 3-2 Victory.

Photo: Jen Conway/ @NHLHistorygirl

GRAND FORKS, ND– Coming into the weekend, the University of North Dakota knew they’d be shorthanded, but didn’t know to what extent. The Fighting Hawks dressed enough skaters for four full lines of offense and three pairings of defense against Colorado College. Though they lost a defenseman early, they were able to hold off the Colorado College Tigers by a score of 3-2.

It wasn’t the start North Dakota wanted, as Colorado College got out to a solid start from the face-off and put some pucks on Zach Driscoll before North Dakota put any sustained pressure on the other end. With them at the bare minimum to put a full roster out there, issues got worse when Cooper Moore threw a hit at center ice, but it was deemed as head contact and garnered him a five-minute major and a game misconduct; dropped UND to five-defensemen for the last 52 minutes of regulation.

Oddly enough, the North Dakota offense got triggered by being down a skater for five minutes, starting off with Judd Caulfield powering through the defense and flipping a puck up and over the confused Dom Basse and gave North Dakota the 1-0 lead. Caulfield was able to get by the defense again on the penalty kill, but Basse got the best of him on that instance. After limiting Colorado College to two shots on their major power play, UND kept their offense turning with Ethan Frisch potting his fourth goal in five games; taking a Tyler Kleven pass and wiring it over Basse to make it 2-0. Minutes later, on the power play, Riese Gaber found a lane and put home his 14th of the season over the shoulder of Basse to make it 3-0 for the Hawks going into the intermission.

The Tigers looked to turn the tides in the second period, trying to wear down the shortened North Dakota defense, but also tried drawing some penalties to see if they couldn’t avenge for their missed opportunity from the five-minute major. It worked at around midpoint of the second, as CC got a power play and only took five seconds before Stanley Cooley tipped a Nicklas Andrews point shot past Driscoll to get CC on the board. Five minutes later, CC got another power play and only took seven seconds for them to come within one with an Andrews shot getting through a screen and behind Driscoll. While they would press for the equalizer, North Dakota was able to keep them to the outside and go into the second intermission up 3-2.

In the third, Colorado was trying to strike, but North Dakota was able to clog up the neutral zone enough for CC to not get many threatening chances on Driscoll. Though North Dakota was limited to two shots, they covered their defensive side well enough to not need many chances. A thrilling moment to the end was Driscoll attempting the open net, but coming up about a half-a-foot short of becoming the fifth goalie to shoot a puck into an empty net. All aside, the shorthanded Hawks take the win 3-2 to open the weekend series.

THEY SAID IT

“We’re in that locker room and (Brad Berry) always says ‘next man up.’ Obviously, with the circumstances we have right now, that’s the situation I’m in and (Brent Johnson) is in. At the end of the day, it’s an opportunity and you give to take it and roll with it.”– Luke Bast on getting more playing time.

“When you have gaps in your five men on the ice and there’s a lot of ice between your defensemen and your forwards, that’s when you get plays off the rush. What we’ve been doing better is playing tighter as a five-man unit coming into our zone and playing through the neutral zone.” — Brad Berry on what’s needed to close out games.

“Wouldn’t it have been way cooler if it went it?? A game of inches, I guess. As goalies, we don’t get a lot of situations and a lot of time to set up like that. Just kind of got it, surprised at how much time I had, and went for it. Got it up pretty good, had the distance, just curled to side there.”– Driscoll on the methodology of his empty net attempt.

UND HOCKEY: Omaha Scores Three Unanswered to Beat UND in Overtime

Photo: Jen Conway/ @NHLHistoryGirl

GRAND FORKS, ND– After a solid performance from the University of North Dakota Friday night, they looked to close out the sweep against the Omaha Mavericks. However, losing two key parts to their shutdown efforts midway through the game, the Hawks let on slip past their fingers with a 3-2 overtime loss. 

Saturday’s game got off to almost a similar start to Friday’s game, as North Dakota got out of the gate quick, trying to keep the momentum off of their victory the night before. And, much like Friday, scoring got kicked off by Riese Gaber, getting the puck off an interception deflection from Connor Ford, to put it past Isaiah Saville to make it 1-0 North Dakota. The defense for UND kept the Mavericks to the outside and Zach Driscoll stopped all nine shots ahead of the horn to end the first. 

The defense was in full effect in the second period, limiting Omaha to only two shots midway through the period. North Dakota would extend the lead after a great bump-set-spike passing play on the power play with Gaber sending to the Ford in front, who redirected the saucer pass to Caulfield, who beat Saville to make it 2-0. Omaha’s offense woke up with eight shots in the remaining eight minutes, including a breakaway late in the period, but Driscoll was equal to the task making it 2-0 after 40 minutes. 

Things started to shift in the game, as Omaha took control early in the frame, drawing a penalty early on. That led to their first goal, as Davis Pennington used a Matt Miller drive-by screen to wrist one past Driscoll to get Omaha to within one goal. Less than three minutes later, Kevin Conley would even the game with a redirection of a Nate Knopke point shot to tie the game. Both sides struggled to get the goal before overtime, but nothing doing with each team picking up at least a point. 

In the overtime, North Dakota would only muster on attempt on goal before the puck went Omaha’s way, leading to a missed assignment in the defensive zone and Brannon McManus wiring one past Driscoll to give the Mavericks the 3-2 overtime win. 

THEY SAID IT

“We gotta win that game. You come in with a two-goal lead in the third period, you gotta win that hockey game. We had every reason to win that hockey game and we found a way to lose it.” – Connor Ford on the feeling after the night. 

“Today I thought the level was better. Start of the periods were good. But there was a situation where we lost a couple of guys halfway through the game, playing with a later line-up. At this point in the season, there’s no excuse. We were telling the guys in the locker room– we’re up by two in our home building Saturday night in the third period. That’s just not acceptable.” – Ethan Frisch on the accountability after the game.

UND HOCKEY: Hawks Offense Erupts for Seven in Friday Victory

Photo: Jen Conway/ @NHLHistoryGirl

GRAND FORKS, ND– After only scoring one goal all of last weekend and five goals in their last four games, the University of North Dakota exploded with seven goals on Friday night in a rout of St. Cloud State 7-1. Contributions from all parts of the line-up helped carry the Fighting Hawks for their first win of 2022. It flipped the script of the series in St. Cloud dominated the Friday game with a win 8-1 on December 3rd, but UND answered with a 5-3 win on the 4th to split the series. 

North Dakota got started early, as Matteo Costantini was able to streak down the left side and feed a streaking Connor Ford, who beat St. Cloud’s David Hranek on the near-side to make it 1-0. After some solid chances following the goal, St. Cloud was able to counter-attack and get some chances on their own. Rookie goalie Jakob Hellsten stood tall in net, however, stopping all eight shots thrown at him in the first. UND was able to net a power play goal with Ethan Frisch hammering a one-timer over the right shoulder of Hranek to make it 2-0 Hawks. Right before the end of the frame, Riese Gaber put home his 10th of the season after a patient Costantini was able to force a St. Cloud defender to slide and moved the puck around him to find Gaber into the wide-open net. 

Peppering Hranek with plenty of shots to start the second, North Dakota didn’t break through until 9:27 in when a solid forecheck created a turnover and started a tic-tac-toe passing play; leading to Griffin Ness’s first NCAA goal and Carson Albrecht’s first NCAA point on the primary assist. That would end Hranek’s night for Jaxon Castor, which seemed to spark St. Cloud, as they put plenty of pressure on Hellsten, who was stellar in a sequence of saves that kept the Huskies off the board. It wasn’t until 2:27 left when St. Cloud broke through with Jami Krannilla hammering home a one-timer on the power play to make it a 4-1 game going into the second intermission. 

Even more offense from the Fighting Hawks had the Huskies on their heels. So much so that Ashton Calder was able to draw a penalty shot after getting past the defense. On his shot, Calder juked Castor out of his crease to make it 5-1 for the Hawks. Not two minutes later, Calder struck again on four-on-four play, as Jake Schmaltz recoiled out of the zone to find Calder at full speed, blowing by the defense and beating Castor five-hole. Things got a little chippy at the end, as they are wont to do during a blowout, but UND make it 7-1 after their aggressive forecheck led to a turnover in front of Castor as Gaber netted his second goal on a Costantini rebound to make it 7-1 and give Costantini his fourth assist of the night and the first star honors. 

THEY SAID IT

“I think we had a lot of fire underneath us coming into this weekend after what happened in Western Michigan. Everyone took the right approach during the week. We kept a positive attitude and got the result we wanted, so we’ll stick to that and keep this going into tomorrow night.” – Costantini on the outburst of scoring and mentality going into this weekend.

“It’s always fun to play games, but confidence is something you build in practice every day. I’ve just been doing the same thing the whole season. I feel like I’ve always been ready and now that I’ve gotten a few nods, it’s just a lot of fun. I think I can just step in and play my game.” – Hellsten on his confidence after getting some starts this year. 

“Absolutely something we’re aware of. We’re not satisfied with one win. Obviously, it’s been a tough stretch for us, but tonight felt real good. It’s about us and what we do and we’re excited to get back here tomorrow.” – Frisch about their previous series in St. Cloud.

UND HOCKEY: Cornell Sweeps North Dakota with 3-1 Saturday Victory

Photo: Jen Conway (@NHLHistoryGirl)

GRAND FORKS, ND– For the first time since 2018, the University of North Dakota was swept in the Ralph Engelstad Arena, as the Cornell Big Red followed up Friday night’s comeback win with a 3-1 victory on Saturday. The last time that the Fighting Hawks were swept at home was in November 2018 against Western Michigan.

North Dakota got off to the start they wanted, buzzing the offensive zone and attacking Ian Shane with shots, even drawing an early penalty. On the ensuing power play, Riese Gaber had time and space to pick his spot; which happened to be over the shoulder of Shane to make it 1-0 exactly two minutes into the game. Moments later, while shorthanded, Mark Senden was hauled down as he made a break to the net. However, Senden’s attempt to go five-hole was thwarted and the game remained 1-0. Just after the penalty expired, Cornell got on the board as Kyler Kovich got behind the coverage and tipped home a rebound in a wide open net for the game-tying goal. Cornell’s pressure was starting to get to UND, as they took some untimely penalties, including one to Tyler Kleven that was reviewed for a major– but was deemed a minor. The Big Red’s attack resulted in Ondrej Psnenicka getting a tip off a Hank Kempf shot to give Cornell the lead.

The second period yield no goals, as Cornell started to clamp down defensively with the lead. Unable to get the puck through the defensive scheme, North Dakota and its fans seemed to feel the pressure and start to get a little anxious about what was to come.

North Dakota made bigger strides in the third period, finally finding ways to get pucks toward Shane, but still unable to find away past him. The Cornell defense played rebounds very well and cleared the puck out of the danger zones quickly. North Dakota wasn’t so fortunate, as Brenden Locke put home his fifth of the season, after being on the door step with no defender on him for a gimme-goal. Even with North Dakota putting up 15 shots– almost half their game total– in the third, they did not have an answer for Shane, as the Big Red take home a big non-conference away sweep; leaving North Dakota wondering what went wrong as they look ahead to NCHC play the rest of the year.

THEY SAID IT

“They’re big and fast, but so are we. We just needed to match that this weekend, but we didn’t. We just have to stick together, stay positive and have a good week at practice.” — Jake Sanderson on what to do moving forward.

“It sucks. This weekend, we didn’t play terrible. I thought we controlled a lot of the weekend. There’s a lot of plays where we need to be a lot stronger. Offensively, we need to generate more. It was a disappointing weekend.” — Riese Gaber on the weekend.

“It was the start we wanted with that one-goal lead. They had a push and scored a couple, then it was kind of back-and-forth. For the most part, we had enough chances to win the game. We didn’t get it done scoring goal wise and I think that’s magnified in the goals you gave up. We gave up a couple of tap-in goals in front. At the end of the day, it’s a situation where I don’t think we did enough to score enough goals to win the game.” — Brad Berry on the effort from Saturday

UND HOCKEY: Lackluster Effort By UND Help USA U18 Defeat Hawks in Exhibition

GRAND FORKS, ND– Coming back from semester break, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks started the new year with a matinee exhibition against the USA Under-18 squad. The U18 team has beaten several Division 1 programs like Michigan State, Boston University, Wisconsin and Notre Dame. Saturday Afternoon, the U18 team added North Dakota to the list as they shutout the Hawks 2-0. 

While there was no scoring in the first period, the U18 team showed off their speed and skill, as not only were they faster to loose pucks, but they were able to skate through the North Dakota forecheck and defense to get quality shots on goal. The penalty kill for the U18s also stymied the North Dakota power play, who was without Jake Sanderson, but couldn’t seem to get any time or space to get a quality shot on goal. 

The second period started quickly, as 1:04 into the frame, the U18s created a turnover in the UND zone, allowing Logan Cooley to find Rutger McGroarty in the slot to give the US a 1-0 lead. Throughout the game, the Hawks looked not prepared for this match-up. Whether it be the first game back from break or underestimating this game, the Hawks looked like they were back on their heels for most of the game, not generating many shots against Tyler Muszelik. 

North Dakota tried to get some things going in the third period, trying to press the play with Riese Gaber making a tough drive to the net, but they had nothing to show for it. The U18s struck again, as on a quick transition, Frank Nazar III found Issac Howard streaking down the wing and Howard put it past an outstretched Jacob Hellsten to make it 2-0 US. Even with some power plays later in the frame, the Fighting Hawks could not solved the U18s penalty kill or defense, starting off 2022 with an exhibition loss. 

THEY SAID IT

“It is a mental battle. It was a disappointing effort by our guys, me included. Being kind of mentally weak, not playing our best, and not really being ready for what they have. It is a bit of a mental battle and we just have to do what we need to do.” – Gavin Hain on the mental mindset going into an exhibition game. 

“We know we have better. We know what it takes to bring our “A” game. We’ve done it all first half and we’re confident in our group that we’re gonna have a good week of practice and be ready to go Friday night.” – Riese Gaber on what needed to be done coming out of the game. 

“We didn’t play fast, we weren’t sharp, we didn’t execute the way we wanted to. That team over there played a lot better than we did. It’s not about panic, it’s one game. But it is about making sure that in college hockey, you have to bring it every single night.” – Brad Berry on takeaways from Saturday’s game.

UND HOCKEY: Fighting Hawks Bounce Back For Series Split

Photo via UND Athletics (@undMHockey)

GRAND FORKS, ND– After a lackluster effort Friday night, the University of North Dakota looked to rebound on Saturday against their hated rivals in the University of Minnesota. After a quick start, sustained offensive pressure, and the ability to keep the Gophers out of danger zones, the Fighting Hawks took Saturday’s affair 3-2 to split the weekend. 

Before the game, North Dakota honored former forward Dave Christian in their One More Shift ceremony before the game. Christian played two years at UND before going to the US National Team for the 1980 Olympics and then moved to a 15-year NHL career. 

“When we go out for the tunnel before the anthem and starting line-up, he was with us right there giving everybody a fist bump and being like he was part of the team,” head coach Brad Berry said of Christian before the ceremony. “He was joking with me saying, ‘Hey, if I play a shift, it’s going to be power play and I’m not coming back out of the offensive zone.’ I said, ‘I guarantee, you can play two minutes like (Alex Ovechkin) does in Washington.’”  

Donning their modernized retro home alternate jerseys, North Dakota got off to a better start than Friday, as they potted the first goal only 3:27 into the game as Gavin Hain’s screen in front allowed a Mark Senden’s shot to go off of Hain’s skate and through Jack LaFontaine to make it 1-0 Hawks. Unlike Friday’s game, North Dakota had much more sustained pressure in the first, holding the Gophers to only four shots in the first, most of them after the first part of the frame. 

North Dakota continued to push the offensive envelope, creating plenty of chances in their zone to start the second period; holding the strong Minnesota offense at bay. Mark Senden got UND the 2-0 lead, as he ripped on the breakout of the zone on the power play, receiving a pass from Louis Jamernik, and put it past the blocker of LaFontaine to notch one on the power play. The North Dakota defense was solid throughout the game, as through two periods, the Gophers only had six shots on goal. 

Senden potted his second of the night after a great takeaway by Jake Sanderson at the point, who moved it to Connor Ford, who then slid it across to Senden for the 3-0 goal. After a suspect penalty on Ford, Minnesota got on the board with Ben Myers putting a knuckler of a one-time attempt past Zach Driscoll for the 3-1 score line. Minnesota cut the game to one-goal when, with the goalie pulled, Chaz Lucius found a loose puck in the crease and put it behind Driscoll. Minnesota kept the pressure on, but the North Dakota defense kept the Gophers to the outside with the goalie pulled and made the final 3-2 to split the weekend. 

Photo: Jen Conway (@NHLHistoryGirl)

THEY SAID IT

“We were just a little more physical tonight. We got a little more after them and kind of played our game. Last night, we got away from that and tried to be something we aren’t. But tonight we got back to getting pucks behind them and being heavy on them.” — Cooper Moore on the differences from Friday and Saturday’s games. 

“Especially in a game like yesterday, we were very disappointed in ourselves. There wasn’t much good that came out of that game. So, you come in in the morning and try to forget about yesterday, but look at what we did and try to learn from that.”– Gavin Hain on coming in the building after a loss. 

“I thought we did a good job of tracking and playing as a five-man unit together and not having spaces in our game. For the most part, we skated and we check a lot harder than we did last night: — Brad Berry about the game plan being executed Saturday night.