(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.