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: 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.