Energy Line Powers Fighting Hawks to a Sweep with 4-1 Victory over Western Michigan

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee from Violent Turtle Photography)

In front of 11,742 fans at the Ralph Englestad Arena, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks used four unanswered goals from Nick Jones, Cole Smith,Hayden Shaw,and Grant Mismash to propel this team to its first home NCHC sweep of the season.

With UND dealing with significant injuries throughout its lineup, the job that the line of Johnny Simonson, Josh Rieger, and Cole Smith did tonight turned out to produce the game winning goal and tie a record a mere seven seconds into the third period.

Simonson won the faceoff, then Josh Rieger, playing his fourth game ever at forward , made a pass to Cole Smith who drove the net hard and fired the game-winning goal past Western Michigan netminder Ben Blacker.

The record for fastest goal to start a third period is now shared between UND legend Ben Cherski, and Cole Smith.

Early on, in the first ten minutes of the game, UND controlled the pace and generated multiple chances. UND held Western Michigan without a shot on goal for the first 8:28 of the game. Western Michigan would rebound and end up putting eight shots on net for the remainder of the period. The Fighting Hawks finished the first frame with five shots on goal. Both teams had similar stats after the first with a penalty each, 13 shot attempts, and three blocked shots per side.

The game opened up a bit in the second period as Austin Rueschhoff took a feed from Brett Van Os, walked into the slot, and used some slick deking to help him find the back of the net 8:33 into the second period.He fired the puck passed the glove side shoulder of Cam Johnson, UND netminder. The goal provided Western Michigan with their first lead of the series.

That lead would not last the entire period. Although Western Michigan kept UND’s offense at bay for most of the second frame, until Shane Gersich rushed into the zone late into the period. He found Grant Mismash who fired a strong shot on Ben Blacker. The rebound went to Nick Jones who found the back of the net 19:37 into the second period. Jones’ sixth goal of the season tied things at one heading into the second intermission.

The third period not only saw the Smith goal, it featured crucial insurance markers from Hayden Shaw and Grant Mismash. Shaw’s tally came on the power play as he fired a puck off of a Bronco skater’s skate and past Blacker 11:59 into the third.

Mismash’s fifth tally of the season provided the final margin of the evening 14:26 into the third frame. Shane Gersich and Nick Jones contributed to this tally, and helped ensure UND got its first home NCHC sweep of the year.

Next week, the Fighting Hawks travel to St. Cloud for a crucial series to wrap up the first half.






All Around Effort Propels UND to 4-3 Win over Western Michigan

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee from Violent Turtle Photography)

In front of 11,156 fans at the Ralph Englestad Arena, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks used a strong, three goal opening period and sound defense throughout to defeat the Western Michigan Broncos 4-3 on Friday night. Austin Poganski lead the way with two first period goals. In his return to the UND net, goalie Cam Johnson made 18 saves. His Western Michigan counterpart, Ben Blacker, made 25.

Both teams played to their styles early on in this one. They limited chances and showcased their physical natures. That physicality came back to harm Western Michigan, as Austin Poganski took advantage of a power play chance 4:54 into the first period to stake the Fighting Hawks to an early 1-0 lead.

A few minutes later, that same physical nature came back to harm the Fighting Hawks as Western Michigan capitalized on their first power play chance. Dawson DiPietro took a feed from Corey Schuneman and buried one past UND netminder Cam Johnson to tie things up 9:54 into the first frame. Bronco goalie Ben Blacker contributed a secondary assist on the play.

Yet again, special teams marked the first frame as UND capitalized on a five-on-three chance. 14:15 into the first, Jordan Kawaguchi took a feed from Christian Wolanin, and made the extra pass to a wide open Austin Poganski who made it 2-1.

A few minutes later, 15:37 into the first period, Ludvig Hoff joined the goal-scoring party in the first as he  redirected a Colton Poolman point shot to help the Hawks fly to a 3-1 lead late in the first period. On that play, Jordan Kawaguchi notched his second point of the night, contributing a secondary assist.

Western Michigan fought back as 18:19 into the first. Brett Van Os got one past Cam  Johnson to make things a 3-2 contest after one period.

The second frame was a bit slower paced than the first, UND generated more chances, and maintained its strong play on defense to limit Western Michgian’s opportunities.

The Fighting Hawks regained their two goal lead, as Colin Adams  found the back of the net 10:24 into the 2nd. The New York Islanders prospect  walked into the slot, and fired one past goalie Ben Blacker.

UND controlled the pace of play more in the second with twelve shots on net. Western Michigan could only muster five.

Western Michigan hung around throughout the third period and used a power play tally from Wade Allison to make it a 4-3 UND lead 16:23 into the final frame.  The Broncos would not score again on the evening.

Shortly after that UND looked to make it a two goal game but the goal was overturned due to goaltender inference. Colton Poolman pushed a Bronco defender into Ben Blacker who was unable to recover to make the save.

The Fighting Hawks had to stave off numerous Bronco attempts to score in the last two minutes. They did this all shorthanded including surviving a six-on-three power play as Western Michigan pulled Blacker for the extra attacker.

The same two teams play tonight at the Ralph at 7:07 PM.