UND HOCKEY: Fighting Hawks Shake Off Rust in Exhibition Win

GRAND FORKS, ND– After three weeks off, the University of North Dakota came back to shake off the rust of the holiday season with an exhibition game against the US National Under-18 Team. It was a bit of a look into the future with UND, as two prospects for the Fighting Hawks were in the U-18 line-up in forward Judd Caulfield and goalie Cameron Rowe. Though coming into the game, the U-18s were 6-6 against NCAA Division teams, they were downed by the Fighting Hawks 6-2 in the exhibition.

It was a special game, as UND busted out a Fighting Sioux jerseys to honor the 1958-59 team, the first ever National Champion for UND. It’s the first time the team has wore a jersey with “Sioux” on it since 2012 after the nickname was dropped by the school due to NCAA rules.

After a flurry of offense from Team USA to start the first period, UND was the first to strike on the power play, after Jacob Bernard-Docker (JBD) set-up Rhett Gardner on a one-timer to put it past Rowe and give UND the early lead. The Hawks got up two when Grant Mismash crashed the net off a USA turnover and a Nick Jones cycle, put a shot on net, with Ludvig Hoff finding the rebound and putting it through Rowe’s five-hole to make it 2-0.

Just 90 seconds into the second, Matthew Boldy put the U18s on the board after pickpocketing Mismash in the UND zone, poked just barely off Patrick Moynihan’s shinpad, went in on a mini-breakaway before going forehand-backhand to go five-hole Adam Scheel. UND got the two-goal lead back midway through the period, after Jackson Keane drove into the zone, missed the net, but picked up the loose puck to find Casey Johnson; who then went near-side high-glove on Rowe to make it 3-1 UND. The Fighting Hawks made it 4-1 on the power play after some fancy passing in the zone, including a deflected pass, led to a Mismash goal with Jones and JBD getting assists on the goal.

The Hawks swapped out goalies, as Peter Thome came into the game to start the third, while Ryan Anderson finished. In only 16 minutes, Thome faced 18 shots and only gave up one goal.

Peter Thome/ Photo by Jen Conway

“It’s always interesting when you get thrown in there and kind of under siege right away,” Thome said. “I was able to get the first one and then the second on and kept trying to go from there. I just tried to stay in the moment and not get too far ahead.”

Collin Adams made it 5-1 halfway through the third from a great set-up from beside the net from Joel Janatuinen, putting it past Rowe’s glove. Alex Turcotte cut the deficit to 5-2 after tipping home a Boldy shot from the top of the circle, after Gabe Bast took a holding penalty. Gavin Hain made it 6-2 with an empty net goal from an alley-oop pass by Matt Kiersted with Thome getting a secondary assist on the goal.

For Thome, who hasn’t had the best season thus far, going 1-3-0 with a 3.75 GAA and .838 save percentage. His last action was during UND’s 5-0 loss a month ago against Duluth. For him, it was a time to get a confidence boost.

“First half, personally, hasn’t gone the way I wanted it to,” Thome says. “Now, having a good first outing is definitely a step forward and hopefully there’s more to come. It’s such a mental position. If you don’t really have confidence, it seems everything can go wrong, but if you have confidence; you can do no wrong. I’m just trying to get back to that state that I’m playing my best.”

With almost a month off, the game was a little rough at times. With a long break and some holiday treats, it took some time to get things going.

“Some parts were a little slow and a little sloppy, but it’s kind of expected,” mentioned Mismash about the first game after the break. “We had a couple good practices kind of getting back in shape. It wasn’t a terrible game. We’ll ramp it up going back into the regular season.”

When asked about the exhibition games themselves, Mismash said; “I don’t want to say I feel bad for teams who hop right back into the season rather than have exhibitions, but it’s nice to get these games. Just to get a feel for it again and get your legs under you before you get going again.”

“This is one of the most skilled and fast and offensive teams that we’ve ever played against the 18s,” said UND head coach Brad Berry. “They’re record is 20-7-2 and they knocked off the #1 team in the nation the other night, so it’s one of those things we’ll take it as far as trying to get better. We have to make sure our last two non-conference games against Canisius count.”

Which is where UND heads next, as they’ll head to Buffalo, New York to take on Canisius to officially kick off their second-half of the year.

UND HOCKEY: Johnson’s Shutout, Wolanin’s Pair Help Hawks Over Gophers

DMtWCPqVwAAwZ5W

Photo by @UNDMHockey

GRAND FORKS, ND– For the first time since 2012, the UND Fighting Hawks defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers, this time by the score of 4-0. After having a little momentum from last night’s game, the Hawks were able to get on the board early and keep things going from there.

The first five minutes are usually the most crucial to a game and UND wanted to make sure they had the racuous crowd of 11,890 behind them for all 60 minutes. Nick Jones got things rolling with his first as a Fighting Hawks off a one-timer set-up by Grant Mismash. Jones had a lot of chances in the first five games of the season, but said he was feeling frustrated not having buried one.

The game went back and forth before Jack Glover of Minnesota checked Collin Adams from behind, which resulted in a five minute major and game misconduct. In those five minutes, UND got three more goals– two from Christian Wolanin and one from Colton Poolman in that five minute span.

20171021_214409

Christian Wolanin/Photo by @NHLHistorygirl

“We finally shot,” quipped Wolanin post game about the power play. “We know he (Eric Schierhorn) is a good goalie and we wanted to get one in quick to break him down bit by bit.”

One of the big things that broke the spirit of the Minnesota team was the suffocating penalty kill, which held the Gophers off the scoresheet for seven chances, bumping up UND’s PK percentage to 96.3% on the season so far.

“Our penalty kill is all coach (Dane) Jackson,” said Wolanin. “Not just on the PK, but the tenacity and passion in which he coaches, we’d run through a brick wall for him. We just go out and work. It comes down to heart and…..you know……don’t know if I can say that on camera.”

Despite only have 22 shots thrown at him, Cam Johnson stopped them all and became the first goalie to shutout Minnesota in 48 games.

20171021_214055.jpg

Cam Johnson/Photo by @NHLHistorygirl

That one feels better than any other one I’ve had,” Johnson said post-game. “My job wasn’t too hard for me tonight. Good all around effort. We got the best fans on earth and I got goosebumps every time we walked on the ice. I was more engaged because I got more work, which is what I like.” 

On the final stats, Mismash had two assists on the night, as did sophomore defenseman Hayden Shaw. Collin Adams had a lone assist, along with Nick Jones, Ludvig Hoff, and Gabe Bast.

Head coach Brad Berry lauded his team after the game in dealing with the rivalry.

I thought they did a good job and there’s a lot of things that go into it. For a group that doesn’t know a lot about the tradition and history, they did a good job. I’m sure both sides would admit we have to keep doing it. It’s good for the schools, it’s good for college hockey.”

North Dakota heads on the road for two straight weekends, heading to Colorado College next weekend and then onto Wisconsin to start off November.

UND HOCKEY: Late PPG Helps UND Squeak By St. Lawrence 2-1

DMERukIVwAEyfM4

Photo from @UNDMHockey

GRAND FORKS, ND– For Collin Adams and the University of North Dakota team, it was better late than never on Friday as the Fighting Hawks got a late goal from the freshman to propel them by St. Lawrence University 2-1 in front of 11,221. The goal, on the power play, was Adams’ second of the season and the second power play goal by UND this season in 16 attempts.

“Bottom line, we found a way to win,” said head coach Brad Berry after the game. “It wasn’t pretty, we have a lot of things to work on. I don’t think we didn’t sustain enough offensive zone pressure. We have to play simpler, make quick passes, and get shots on net.”

St. Lawrence, led by the play of junior goalie Arthur Brey, gave UND fits during the game, with the Mark Morris-led team clogged up the middle, forcing UND to the outside and not giving them any good lanes to shoot. When UND did get opportunities to shoot, Brey had a clear vision of it thanks to his defense clearing out the middle.

“Give them credit, St. Lawrence did an excellent job of getting in front of shots,” defenseman Colton Poolman said post-game. “They’re a good and hard heavy team and they battled back. We have to find a way to limit turnovers, but in the end– we found a way to win.”

UND struck first with a goal by Ludvig Hoff, who tucked in a rebound after Grant Mismash tried to break SLU’s defense by streaking across the crease for a chance. While SLU’s defense got a stick on Mismash chance, Hoff was able to get Brey out of position for an easy goal late in the first.

The only SLU goal of the night was from Joe Sullivan, who gathered up a deflected shot from Nolan Gluchowski that went of Christian Wolanin and right only Sullivan’s stick. From that point on, it was tight hockey until the end of the game.

UND wasn’t without chances, as they had seven power plays overall in the game, but Adams’ game-winner with 3:49 left was the only one they needed. With a great keep by Colton Poolman who got it over to Christian Wolanin, he passed it down low to Joel Janatuinen, who found a streaking Adams for a tic-tac-toe goal for the eventual winner.

Not without his glory, Cam Johnson stepped up big when he needed with 20 saves on the night, including a 2-on-0 stop after UND squandered a two-man advantage.

“Cam played a great game for us,” Berry said. “He made some tough saves and he held us in there. He’s a reason we got the win tonight.”

Before the game, UND announced that Mike Gornall will be leaving the team to pursue other options. While nothing more has come out from this, speculation is that he was looking for more playing time and thanks to depth of North Dakota, he didn’t feel like he was going to get that opportunity in Grand Forks.

UND RECAP: Youth Served in Exhibition Win

DLBOAWJVoAUNacj

Photo via University of North Dakota’s Twitter

GRAND FORKS, ND– The kids were in full force for the University of North Dakota on Saturday, as the Fighting Hawks won their exhibition match-up against the University of Manitoba for a 14th straight season. The Hawks’ rookies had two goals and five assists from the freshman class, while the other newcomer, junior transfer Nick Jones, added an assist.

The start was a little rocky for UND, as they gave up the first goal after Manitoba’s Remi Laurencelle picked the puck off and went in to beat Cam Johnson five-hole almost five minutes in the first period. Manitoba controlled the game early, which shouldn’t be a surprise with the Bisons playing six games leading up to this match-up.

Things settled down once Ludvig Hoff fired a rocket of a wrist-shot from the top of the circle to beat Byron Striggs and tie the game up. It was the first of two goals Hoff would score in the game, as he was bumped to “top line” center for UND between captain Austin Poganski and Shane Gersich.

20170930_214826

09/30/17 Ludvig Hoff (photo by Jen Conway)

“I felt very comfortable playing between those two,” Hoff said post-game of his two linemates. “They’re two really talented players and made it a lot more fun for me out there.”

After that, the rookies took center stage, with Grant Mismash potting his first goal of his UND career after a fantastic pass from fellow freshman Collin Adams, a play all started by spare freshman defenseman Matt Kiersted.

20170930_214416

09/30/17 Grant Mismash (photo by Jen Conway)

“It was pretty surreal, though I kind of whiffed on it,” said Mismash, a Nashville Predators prospect. “Obviously, first period there were nerves, but once we settled down it was just like playing a good ol’ game of hockey.”

Aside from a goal by Manitoba three minutes in, the second period belonged to UND. Started by another great passing display by Adams, who found a streaking Christian Wolanin to put the third goal on the board for UND, while Hoff put up the fourth, freshman Jordan Kawaguchi scored UND’s fifth, and senior Johnny Simonson put up the sixth and final goal for the Hawks in a 6-2 final.

“We learned we’re not a one-line team,” mentioned head coach Brad Berry post-game. “Lot of good effort out there, but a lot we need to work on. We weren’t as sharp as we could have been. We need to have a good week of practice leading up to Alaska next week.”

The Ralph tonight had 10,682 to watch the game, which is something both rookies Mismash and Adams hadn’t seen in their junior playing days.

“You’re only getting, what, 3,000 or so people out in the USHL,” mentioned Adams. “To have this here for just an exhibition game was pretty fun.”

While this team has been a lot about the play of Cam Johnson, he didn’t have his best game, letting up two goals on 12 shots, one of which was a fluky, bouncing puck in the second that was credited to Calvin Spencer. Freshman Peter Thome took over for the third and stopped all five shots he faced.

“(Defensive zone) is one of the big things we need to clean up,” Coach Berry stressed. “We have to make sure we address the chemistry of the lines and know the importance of cleaning up in front of our house. It doesn’t come overnight, it’s something we have to instill on a constant basis.”

UND takes a long road trip to start the season, as they’ll travel to Anchorage to take on the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves next weekend in their first series, which is a non-conference tilt.