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: Three Goals in Under Five Minutes Give Cornell Comeback Win Over UND

GRAND FORKS, ND– For 46 minutes, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks look to be in control of Friday night’s game against Cornell. They were up 3-1, they had plenty of momentum, and had the Big Red on their heels. However, in a span of 4:45, Cornell netted three goals and held off a late flurry by UND; as Game One of the weekend went to Cornell by a score of 4-3.

Wearing their white fauxback jerseys– dubbed the home business suit– UND got off to a quick start with solid shifts in the offensive zone in the first six minutes of the game. While they didn’t score, they set a tone early for the game. However, Cornell did have a pushback for the Hawks offense, at one point outshooting the Hawks and getting some shots on Zach Driscoll. North Dakota would get on the board first, as a turnover in the zone saw Chris Jandric have a clear path to the net, but he saw Mark Senden to his side, slide a pass over and had Senden net his fourth of the season.

Cornell got on the board early in the second thanks to a power play goal by Sam Malinski patiently skating across the blue line and letting a wrist shot go through a screen to beat Driscoll. It was one of the three shots of the period for the Big Red. North Dakota locked things down defensively, but also took the offensive posture again, firing 13 shots in the period at Ian Shane. The long goal to go through, was a wonderful goal by Ashton Calder. On the power play, Jake Sanderson dropped a pass back to Calder on the slingshot scheme, then Calder blew through the Cornell defense and released a quick shot on Shane, beating him five-hole to give UND the lead again.

North Dakota was able to continue form the second period, bringing the offense to Cornell, which concluded in Jake Schmaltz burying a shot past Shane after a wonderful pass from Sanderson to give North Dakota a two-goal lead. That seemed to wake up Cornell, who started to pick up their counterattack and it paid off just before the midway point of the third. A Sebastian Dirven shot form the point went wide of Driscoll, but Jack O’Leary was able to pick up the rebound before Driscoll could and tucked it in to make it a 3-2 score. As North Dakota was on the attack, a pile-up behind the net ended with Gavin Hain down on the ice, unable to put pressure on his right leg. As play went the other way, Max Andreev put home his eighth of the year to tie the game, as Hain was helped off the ice by his teammates. To finish off the comeback, Kyler Kovich netted the game winner, out-muscling Jandric in front of the net to bang home the rebound off a Malinski shot and make it a 4-3 scoreline; which would be the final.

“You need a quicker response, you need a quicker pushback,” head coach Brad Berry said postgame. “When they score to make it 3-2, you still have a goal lead with less than ten minutes left in the game. You need to have some mental toughness as far as the next shift. When a team is down late in a game, there’s a push. We need to meet or exceed that and when you don’t do that you break down in those scenarios.”

“It’s not one person, it’s the five players and goaltender on the ice,” Berry mentioned talking about the second Cornell goal. “It’s not incumbent upon one guy when you give that goal up. When we win as a team, we win as a team. When we lose as a team, we lose as a team.”

The two teams face off Saturday, which will be the last non-conference match-up for UND of the season.

TNT Botches USA Olympic Team Announcement

TOPSHOT – AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

During the second intermission of the Winter Classic, the USA Women’s Olympic Team was announced before the crowd at Target Field. If you were watching on TNT, you saw it…but it was mostly the players waving. No lower third on who was being announced. No dedicated audio from the stadium to broadcast over the air. It was Liam McHugh and Jennifer Botterill talking over the announcement.

While the insight of Botterill on the announcement and the players was nice, it seemed to really dim the light on the players who were being announced and receiving this accolade to play for their country. It’s something that could have been done after the announcement was made, but for some reason; talking over the announcement for no good reason.

I’ll be honest in saying I don’t follow women’s hockey as much as I could. Outside of Stevenson University’s team, Lacey Eden, Julia Blitz, and other Maryland women players– I’m not up on the women’s game. However, when the top women’s team in the country can’t get the respect of being acknowledge on a national broadcast– it’s not a good look. And I mentioned I don’t follow the game that closely because, outside of Hilary Knight, I didn’t know who the player’s were because of the lack of lower-third to show who the player being announced was. If you’re trying to get more eyes on women’s hockey– this wasn’t a good look to have these waving players with no identification.

While I hope it’s not a situation of Turner Sports not caring all that much because they don’t have the Olympic rights; but you’d think you wanted to help beat the drum, as a National Broadcaster, to grow the game. To give these women the chance to shine and keep up with the NHL’s message of hockey being for “everyone.” Just seemed so weird that they could have done the bare minimum and still screwed the whole thing up.

My hope is that USA Hockey or someone will post the announcement in full with graphics in the near future to give the women the respect they deserve for their hard work to make it to the Olympic team. Hell, 15 of these players were part of the Gold Medal team in 2018, still need to claw to get name recognition in a wider audience.

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.