(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)
On Friday night, 11,221 fans came out to the Ralph Englestad Arena to watch the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks (2-0-1) get its first home win in its regular season home opener against the St. Lawrence Saints (0-3-0).
Colin Adams was able to stave off the Saints upset bid with a power play marker 16:11 into the third period. The goal came on a feed from Joel Janatuinen, on a play started by Christian Wolanin. It was one of the most active power plays UND had all night, and the only one of its seven it converted on. The Fighting Hawks ended the night one for seven on the power play with a mere eight shots reaching Saints netminder Arthur Brey.
Most of the first period was physical,and each team generated under ten shots on net. Austin Poganski came close to putting UND ahead on a two-on-zero breakaway, however he hit the post. A few minutes after Poganski hit the post, 19:49 into the first, Colton Poolman sprung Grant Mismash into the Saints’ zone, where he drove the net hard on Arthur Brey, and created an easy rebound for Ludvig Hoff to stake UND to its first lead of the night.
In the second period, the Fighting Hawks could not convert on their multiple chances throughout the period. However, St Lawrence converted on their full powerplay chance. Saints senior forward Joe Sullivan tapped home a rebound off of a Nolan Gluchowski shot to knot things up heading to the final period.
Once again, in the third period, early on, UND had trouble finding the back of the net on its powerplay. It could not convert on 44 seconds of five-on-three time, and let the Saints hang around late into the third period, where Adams would ultimately notch the game-winner.
Here are some thoughts on tonight’s contest, and things to look for tomorrow.
The Fighting Hawks allowed multiple Saints breakaways throughout the contest, and were bailed out by senior netminder Cam Johnson. His strong play, allowed the Fighting Hawks to withstand the dearth of special teams goals. If UND can limit the time and space St. Lawrence routinely had throughout the night, it can generate more a few more chances.
Continue to Utilize Speed
Colin Adams, the New York Islanders prospect, noted that UND did a good job utilizing its speed throughout the night. While UND did not have a lot of sustained offensive zone pressure during five-on-five play, it was able to use its speed to generate quick chances and force the Saints to play on their heels.
During the weekly press conference on Wednesday, Johnny Simonson noted that the Saints are a big and physical team. They showed that tonight, I thought the Saints did a good job limiting second and third chance opportunities. Goalie Arthur Brey only had to make 26 saves tonight for the Saints on 55 shot attempts. The Saints blocked 19 shots, and did a superb job limiting UND to eight shots on goal during its seven power plays.
If UND can continue to match St. Lawrence with its physical play, then tomorrow could bring another good result for the Fighting Hawks. Cam Johnson had to make 20 saves on a mere 33 shot attempts. Also, the Fighting Hawks had seven blocks.
All of this showcases UND’s continued ability to limit chances. When it starts converting a few more special teams markers, this team has a lot of potential to grow this season.