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: 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.

UND HOCKEY: Gophers Roll Over Hawks 5-1

Photo via UND Hockey Twitter @undMHockey

GRAND FORKS, ND– The rivalry between Minnesota and North Dakota in college hockey runs deep. In their 291st meeting, it was all Golden Gophers, as they took the momentum in the first period and got a couple lucky bounces, while also stymieing the Fighting Hawks offense to take home the 5-1 victory on Friday night. 

The first part of the frame was a feeling out period, but Minnesota would soon take the advantage offensively, mostly due to extended power play time. On one of those power play attempts, Bryce Brodzinski broke the ice for the Gophers, batting in a bouncing puck off a face off in the North Dakota zone. The puck landed around Zach Driscoll’s crease and took a Minnesota bounce and squeaked over the goal line for the opening score. Minnesota kept their pressure on and ended the period with a 14-4 shot advantage. 

A bad break haunted North Dakota, as a Rhett Pitlick dump in was whiffed on by Driscoll, who attempted to play the puck and Jack Perbix put home an easy goal. North Dakota then started to pepper Minnesota on a power play, but a shot ringing off the post and many blocked shots in front kept them off the board. Moments after the shot hitting the post, Ryan Johnson shot one from the point that went off the shin pad of Nick Portz and behind Driscoll for a 3-0 Gophers lead. The Fighting Hawks put pressure on, trying to get back into the game, but Jack LaFontaine was strong in his net and kept the Hawks off the board. 

UND had a big opportunity in the beginning of the third period with a two-man advantage, but the movement around the zone did not warrant many shots, as the Gophers defense got in the shooting lanes. Riese Gaber did get the Hawks on the board after the power plays expired, picking up a Gavin Hain rebound and putting it over the shoulder of LaFontaine to make it a 3-1 game. North Dakota got back in a hole, as Tyler Kleven got a five and game for contact to the head, the second straight weekend a North Dakota player was ejected for that call. While they killed off that penalty, it killed their momentum after the goal. With just under five minutes left, North Dakota pulled Driscoll, but with no sustained control of the puck, Minnesota got it out of the zone and Chaz Lucius made it a 4-1 game. To add insult to injury, Brodzinski got his second of the night on a clearing attempt by Blake McLaughlin and shot it in-stride under Driscoll’s arm for the 5-1 goal, which is how the game ended. 

THEY SAID IT

“I think it’s a mindset of remaining true to what our identity is and making it harder on other teams where we put pucks in the offensive zone and collectively we get two or three guys around the puck. Tonight, I thought we were a lot of one-and-done, battling for a puck with one guy and not a second guy. When we’re a cohesive unit, we’re putting pucks behind d-cores and playing well in the offensive zone. That’s how you generate it. The other part is that I thought we were too cute trying to find seam passes and different plays where you got to get greasy and dirty sometimes, especially on nights when it isn’t going your way.” — Head coach Brad Berry’s assessment of the the UND offensive game

“We were turning pucks over. We weren’t getting pucks behind their defense. Weren’t getting on their defense. Just not doing things to generate offense.” — Gavin Hain on what didn’t go right for UND

“I think we were kind of getting away from who we are. We just got to get pucks deep. We were trying, maybe, to make one too many plays. We’ve got to keep it simple. That’s what’s been working for us.” — Mark Senden on the loss

UND HOCKEY: Fighting Hawks Get Home Cooking with Win Over Pioneers

GRAND FORKS, ND– After a trip to Nashville that saw the University of North Dakota have the crowd support behind them, but not get the goal support they needed; the Fighting Hawks returned home to right the ship a little bit as they took on Denver Friday night in the first NCHC contest of the season. A second period burst allowed UND to get the better of the Pioneers and take the first game of the weekend 3-1. 

The first period of the contest was quite a feeling out portion, with plenty of neutral zone play. Both Zach Driscoll and Magnus Chrona were tested a little bit, but not much out of the ordinary for shots. However, with North Dakota having a disadvantage in shots and goals in the first period this season, to come out of it ahead on shots (8-5) and in a scoreless draw is a step in the right direction for the team. 

UND got off to a quick start in the second, with Riese Gaber getting a solid look after cutting through the defense, but could not beat Chrona. Same for Ashton Calder, who had a solid look from the slot, but to no avail. The Hawks caught a break near the halfway mark, as Kyle Mayhew was down behind the Denver net, giving UND an advantage, which Brady Ferner recognized. Ferner passed it up to Judd Caulfield for what essentially was a 2-on-0, where he slid it over to Matteo Costantini to put UND up 1-0. Forty-nine seconds later, a hard forecheck by captain Mark Senden caused a turnover and allowed Senden to find Louis Jamernik in front for the 2-0 goal. 

“(Budy) dumped the puck in and I knew I had to get a step on their d-man and separate him from the puck,” recollected Senden post-game. “I heard (Jamernik) yelling for it, so I just tried to put it in an area where he was calling for it and just super, super excited for it to go in.”

Later in the frame, Driscoll made probably his best save of the season, stopping a cross-crease pass in front, getting his pad out to keep his sheet clean. It didn’t last much longer, as after a Massimo Rizzo left the box serving a bench minor, Hawks defenseman Chris Jandric had his stretch pass intercepted by Rizzo out of the box, who found Cameron Wright to make it 2-1 after two. 

Try as they might, Denver kept the pressure on UND in the third period. They capitalized on errant passes out of the zone, while maintaining possession after shots to try and get the equalizer. It was for naught, as UND held down the fort and played a solid defensive game in front of Driscoll, which led to a Jamernik empty-net goal to secure the UND 3-1 victory. 

THEY SAID IT

“It’s not something you like to have, especially down in Nashville. But definitely guys look at themselves in the mirror and figure out what they need to do to get better. There’s a lot of expectations on us to come in and win games. A good week of practice here led to a good Friday night.”– Driscoll on if the Penn State game was a wake-up call for the team.

“We started really good today. Our focus was to start hard and quick. I thought we got off to a lot better start and continued to fight hard in the second just being a hard and heavy team to play against.”– Senden on the quick start for the team.

“I think it gave our guys a spark. Like, ‘okay, we’ve got to pull up our bootstraps because we’ve got a key guy out.’ The guys were fired up, they were able to get a couple goals and be on the forecheck. I’m proud of how the guys responded.”– Head coach Brad Berry on his team’s reaction to losing Connor Ford after the first period.