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.