UND HOCKEY: Eight is Enough for UND's Big Win Over Tigers

GRAND FORKS, ND– After only scoring one goal in last night’s win, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks made up for it on Saturday night, pummelling the Colorado College Tigers 8-1 to sweep the weekend. UND finished with seven goal scorers, 13 players with points, multi-point games from Kawaguchi, Weatherby, Adams, Mismash, and Andrew Peski; all while getting a bye-week to rest up the wounded like Gavin Hain and Gabe Bast who left early due to injury and Matt Kiersted who sat out the weekend to heal up. 

“Last night took a while, but we just kind of stuck with the process,” Kawaguchi mentioned post-game. “That’s what we want. We want to jump on teams early and hopefully go up a couple like we did tonight.” 

After a penalty to linemate Gavin Hain, Cole Smith took it upon himself to drive the net hard from the outside and put it through Matt Vernon to give UND a power play goal. Under two minutes later, Collin Adams continued his breakout season taking a cycle pass to just below the blueline and got it passed Vernon thanks to a Jordan Kawaguchi screen in front. UND kept the pressure and got a little puck luck with Vernon misplaying the puck in front of his net, allowing Jasper Weatherby tapping it in between his legs. As that goal was announced, Jordan Kawaguchi fed it across ice to Grant Mismash to beat Vernon far side and make it 4-0 in the first period of play. 

The Fighting Hawks kept the pedal down, as they took it to the Tigers early, which resulted in Kawaguchi getting his 14th of the year, driving to the net and putting it between the wickets of Vernon to make it 5-0 early in the second. Colorado College did put some pressure on in the middle of the frame, but Peter Thome stood tall and kept the Tigers off the scoresheet. With under five minutes left, Mark Senden drove the net and picked up Harrison Blaisdell’s rebound from Vernon’s pad to make it 6-0 UND. 

After Jon Flakne got into net for the Tigers, the Hawks took 50 seconds before a bouncing puck hit Kawaguchi’s pants to make it 7-0 for UND. Four minutes later, the Hawks made it eight with Jacob Bernard-Docker taking a skate before feeding Shane Pinto in front for his 13th of the season. Matt Vernon went back into net shortly after to try and stop the bleeding for Colorado College. The Tigers did get one back, as Connor Mayer put one past Thome after a centering feed from Alex Berardinelli to stop the shutout bid for Thome and the eventual final goal of the contest. 

Andrew Peski/Photo by Jen Conway

THEY SAID IT

“A couple of guys got banged up there so we had to move some lines and d-pairs around a bit. That gave us the opportunity tonight with a lead like that to see other guys like Harrison Blaisdell and Judd Caulfield in some other situations.”– Brad Berry on dealing on the fly with some injuries in his roster throughout the game. 

“We were just sticking with it. We watched some video this morning and looked at each other and said, ‘We got to pick it up a little bit.’ We didn’t have our best game last night. Even against Duluth we were playing our best. We got to take responsibility for that and go out there and do what we can.”– Kawaguchi on his line creating more chances tonight opposed to the start of the semester

“Matt (Kiersted)’s a great defenseman. He’s definitely a key to our offense and our power play, but at the end of the day as Bubs (Brad Berry) always says– next man up mentality. You saw Josh Rieger come in, he was playing defense and forward a little bit, so we call him the Swiss Army Knife. He did a great job and it’s just doing the job that you have and doing it well.”– Peski on the versatility of the roster for UND. 

“They’re a workhorse line. Smitty works the hardest I’ve ever seen. Senden works hard, too. Gavin has the most skill on that line and he’s a hard worker, too. I wouldn’t want to play against them. They’re tough and fast and play the right way. Those three together are unbelieveable.”– Kawaguchi on the energy line of Smith, Hain, and Senden

UND HOCKEY: Peski Ready For Bigger Role in Second Season

 

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Life is tough for a freshman in college. Not just getting adjusted to living away from home, but learning to do your own laundry, Greek life becoming a thing, learning that ice cream is a good breakfast option and so on. But for a freshman college athlete, it’s all about earning your spot and being able to keep it. Just ask UND defenseman Andrew Peski about his freshman season last year.

“Coming to the NCAA is a big jump,” Peski told me during the UND Media Day. “You’re playing against full grown men and it took a little time to get used to the speed and strength that comes with it. But my teammates were there for me a lot. They told me to keep working and keep getting better, which helped a whole lot.

It showed in Peski’s performance. In and out of the line-up for the first half of the season, Peski became a regular in the line-up after the calendar turned to 2017. It also helped Peski as he was paired up with captain Gage Ausmus in that time to help him learn more about the college game.

Peski also played a big role in UND’s regional game last year, the two overtime thriller in Fargo that saw Boston University beat UND after many controversial calls on both sides of the puck, including an almost 15-minute offsides review that nullified the possible UND game-winning goal.

“That game is always in the back of our head,” said Peski. “I’ve watched the game a few times, but it’s a new year and a new us– we’re moving on. We want to get back to get back to that tournament and have a better outcome, especially since it’s in Sioux Falls (South Dakota) this year and we’ll have plenty of support.”

This year, UND will be without Ausmus, who graduated and is playing in the ECHL, while other top-defenseman statistically in Tucker Poolman left school early to sign his NHL contract. Peski is going to be given a bigger role on this team and knows that he’ll have to compete with the depth on this year’s team.

“I’m really excited to take on any roles I earn,” mentioned Peski. “And that’s it, right?? You get what you deserve. Our freshman class is very talented and we all want them to step in and get antiquated with the team.”

This summer also provided Peski the experience of an NHL developmental camp, as the Ottawa Senators brought Peski in as a free agent prospect to get a look at what he could do. The Orleans, Ontario (a suburb of Ottawa) native looked back at the experience with a new look on the pro game.

“Ottawa camp was an eye-opener for sure,” Peski said of his first camp. “It was an interesting kind of the atmosphere. There were a lot of similarities to what we get here at North Dakota, so I was very prepared for it. It was a great time and I learned a lot. It definitely helped with Christain Wolanin being there, as well as some Ottawa guys that I interacted with when I was younger.”

Peski also stated that the line for everyone across the board was to jump on things early and often.

“We don’t wait and get comfortable. We’re telling everyone, especially the new guys to do your best and make the right plays and it’ll come to you.”