(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)
What a difference a day makes. Coming off a night where it took until late in the third period to convert a power play, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks(3-0-1) used a dominant three goal first period and two power play goals to earn a sweep over the St. Lawrence Saints (0-4-0).
6:11 into the first period, Christian Wolanin opened up the scoring with a point shot goal that squeaked past Saints netminder Arthur Brey. Colton Poolman provided the feed which set Wolanin up for a strong shot, that would stake UND to a lead it would not relinquish.
14:51 into the period, on UND’s second power play of the evening, Shane Gersich knocked home a rebound from a Colton Poolman point shot.
Colton Poolman quietly put together a strong evening for the Fighting Hawks with two assists, two blocked shots, and he finished plus two. He was voted the game’s first star of the evening.
A few minutes later, at the nineteen minute mark of the first, Grant Mismash created a beautiful turnover, and rushed into the offensive zone. The Nashville Predators prospect staked the Fighting Hawks to a 3-0 lead after the first period.
UND dominated the first period with 13 shots on net to four from St. Lawrence. The Fighting Hawks generated 23 shot attempts in the first 20 minutes.
The first was also marked by dominance in the faceoff circle. UND won 20 of 24 faceoffs during the first period, yet the Saints would win the night 37-33.
During the second period, Daniel Mannella entered the game for the Saints in net.’St Lawrence was able to generate some more pressure thanks to a number of UND trips to the penalty box, including a two man advantage thanks to multiple UND minor penalties, and a checking from behind and game misconduct penalty to Grant Mismash.
UND’s lone second period marker came on the power play 15:38 into the frame, as Jordan Kawaguchi found his way to the front of the net, and put the puck past Mannella to put the Fighting Hawks up 4-0 heading into the intermission.
After Jacob Pritchard got St. Lawrence on the board 03:44 into the third period, UND put the game out of reach with goals by Cole Smith and Rhett Gardner.
Notes and Thoughts
Goaltender Cam Johnson finished the evening with 27 saves on 28 shots. The senior netminder was voted second star of the game for his efforts. Colton Poolman and Shane Gersich were the other two stars of the evening.
Tonight, after the game, head coach Brad Berry noted his team’s ability to simplify things on the power play. That ability to simplfy things helped the Fighting Hawks generate six shots on five power plays.
UND was able to better utilize its speed tonight against the Saints. It used its speed game to create numerous chances throughout the evening. These chances were a big part of the dominant first period, as the Fighting Hawks finished it with 23 shot attempts.
Despite the score tonight, and their age as a team, I do not expect St. Lawrence to finish seventh in the ECAC, where they were predicted to finish. Their top two lines generated plenty of chances,and their side plays a game more suited to Olympic ice sheets, which is where it benefits defensemen to stay at home a bit more. If the Saints can use their size to stifle chances like they did on Friday night, some teams in the ECAC could be in for quite the shock this year.
Next week, the rivalry returns, as the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers head to the Ralph to take on the Fighinng Hawks.