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: 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.

Graphic by North Dakota Athletic Department @undMHockey

GRAND FORKS, ND– Coming off a loss on Friday night, the North Dakota Fighting Hawks wanted to make sure they didn’t get swept in their own arena; especially not against a heated rival like the Duluth Bulldogs. Even with key players being out, the mindset seemed to change and the Fighting Hawks secured a split on the weekend with a 2-1 victory on Saturday. 

North Dakota could have gotten off to another quick start, as Duluth was faced with a five-minute major to Carter Loney for boarding. However, Duluth’s penalty kill was a big factor in keeping the Fighting Hawks off the board with crucial blocks and the ability to keep North Dakota on the perimeter and not get much inside to challenge Ryan Fanti. The period ended scoreless with North Dakota leading in shots, 11-7. 

“We didn’t score on it,” head coach Brad Berry said post-game, “but I thought the power play gave us momentum for the rest of the period and the rest of the game. That was the message to our guys was the discipline side of it. That’s so key, if you’re on a power play and you get all that momentum. We were killing all day yesterday in that game and gave that team momentum.” 

With shots ringing off the pipe at both ends, Duluth started to gain plenty of momentum throughout the period not only offensively, but holding the UND offense to only two shots through 15 minutes of the second. Duluth was able to break the stalemate with Blake Biondi finding a seam in the defense, receiving a solid dish from Dominic James, with Biondi then beating Zach Driscoll on the blocker side to make it 1-0 Duluth. North Dakota would tie it up late in the second, with Ethan Frisch going five-hole on Fanti with 5.4 seconds left in the period on the power play after Frisch was set up by Chris Jandric. 

North Dakota broke the tie 5:05 into the third after a wonderful pass from Ashton Calder found a streaking Brendan Budy who jammed it under Fanti to make it 2-1 for the Hawks. Duluth had a chance on the power play past the midway point in the frame, but Driscoll was equal to the task, kicking out shot after shot to keep the North Dakota lead. Duluth put the pressure on late, even putting Fanti in the closing minutes, but they could not find the equalizer; leading to a 2-1 UND win and a weekend split.

Brendan Budy/ Photo Jen Conway (@nhlhistorygirl

THEY SAID IT

“I think everyone’s first reaction when key guys are out is, ‘Man, we’re going to miss them.’ The biggest thing is our mentality is the next man up mentality. We’re going to miss them, but there’s other good players around here that can go in. Anytime you can get a win and get some young guys to get reps, like Cooper Moore and Luke Bast, that’s huge and when you get the win, it’s a bonus.” — Berry on the depth of his team after this weekend.

“Obviously the bodies weren’t feeling great, but that’s to be expected anytime you play Duluth in a two-game series. It really comes down to mentality. We were a little too worried about the refs, we were worried about our lineup the first night and the second night it was like– let’s throw that out the window and worry about who we’ve got in this room.” — Frisch on the message going into Satuday’s game. 

“That goal was a pretty big relief. Coming in, kind of got a little dinged up in the summer and took a while to come back. I’ve been kind of chipping away at it, trying to get my confidence back, trying to get back to my old self.” — Budy on his goal and what it does for his progression.

“We got extended on a shift out there. Sometimes you get extended on an icing call or whatever, someone gets extended and then he’s not on with his regular line. I just tried to take the three freshest guys and Ford and Calder were up, but Budy was on the next line. It was a situation where I wanted a fresh body up there.” — Berry on the unintentional mixing of lines that lead to the game winner.