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.