GRAND FORKS, ND– After a tough weekend against Denver the previous week, the University of North Dakota used the energy from another bird of prey to help boost them for Friday’s game. Eddie “the Eagle” Belfour was in town for his “One Last Shift” at the Ralph Engelstad Arena and his energy for his skate around helped the Fighting Hawks handily defeat the Miami RedHawks by a count of 7-1.
It started 3:31 in with a solid tic-tac-toe play between Mark Senden, Louis Jamernik V, and the goal scorer Gavin Hain– a line reunited after some jockeying around the last few weeks. Hain potted his six to get the scoring going for the Hawks. At the end of the frame the Hawks again struck with Ben Strinden getting the puck out of the corner and drove to the net for his first NCAA goal to make it 2-0. What was apparent was the tenacity North Dakota showed that they may have not had the week prior. They were crisp in their own zone, they make big pushes in the offensive zone, and were buzzing around Miami goalie Ludvig Persson and putting the pressure on Miami, as a whole.
“Right from the puck drop, I thought we had a jump,” captain Mark Senden said post game. “I thought we played really well as a five-man unit up and down the ice. That was the main point in practice this week. Being sharp in those plays, supporting each other up and down the ice, working as a five-man unit up and down the ice. I thought we executed that very well.”
“You know, what really got me going on the bench tonight was the guys started to talk on the bench,” noted head coach Brad Berry. “When guys made a good play, there was positivity there, there was encouragement, there was reaffirmation. When guys didn’t make the right play, it was the accountability side, for me, that when they came back it was, ‘You know what, you got to get that puck in. You know what, you’ve got to take a shorter shift.’ It was standing up and telling someone. And we got better.”
Things definitely got better in the second period, with four goals in the frame– two coming from a major power play and one from the shorthanded side. Jackson Blake and Griffin Ness used redirections off Miami defenders to post the power play goals for UND, while Mark Senden finished off a 2-on-1 shorthanded rush for North Dakota’s first shorthanded goal of the season. Though Miami’s Blake Mesenburg scoring late in the fame, UND battled back 18 seconds later with Judd Caulfield restoring the five-goal lead to end the second frame.
Persson was given the rest of the night off, with Logan Neaton getting third period duties. Blake added his second goal of the game 4:43 into the frame to give North Dakota the 7-1 lead and victory. Jakob Hellsten got his second straight start and was solid when called upon, making 18 saves in the victory.
POST GAME VIDEO