UND Ties BSU 2-2:A Quick Recap and a Bonus Thought

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)

In front of a sold out 11,868 screaming fans at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks skated to a Saturday 2-2 tie against the Bemidji State University Beavers in their non-conference finale. UND could not muster more than one goal on a five minute major and allowed the Beavers just enough time and space to pot an equalizer late into the third frame. Overtime would bear no goal-scoring fruit for either side, as Bemidji fought back to earn a tie.

Following a scoreless opening frame,  Nick Jones tapped in a perfect no-look feed from Austin Poganski 3:28 into the second stanza giving UND its first lead of the evening. The pace of the second period would be to North Dakota’s liking until the 13:15 mark of the second, when Leo Fitzgerald equalized things with a tally of his own for Bemidji State.

A few seconds later, with 6:09 left in the frame, Jordan Heller took a five minute major and a game misconduct for a check from behind putting UND on the extended power play.

Christian Wolanin found the back of the net on a strong slot shot to give UND its last lead of the evening

The Fighting Hawks were only able to capitalize once on the Heller major, and ended the second frame ahead only one. The Beavers tied things up midway through the third on a redirect goal. Both teams had chances after that but no one could break through.

Quick Thought

UND cannot take any opponent for granted the rest of the way. While BSU does not measure up to the skill of UND, it used superb goaltending from Michael Bitzer and strong defense to earn a tie. No team on UND’s schedule has less skilled players than Bemidji, and UND will need to measure up to their opponents offensively with getting more shots from down low. Look for UND to work on generating more looks down low against UMD next weekend.

 

 

 

 

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UNO Power Play Grounds Fighting Hawks: A Recap Plus 3 Thoughts for Tonight

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)

In front of 10,133 fans at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks dropped their second half opener to the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks 4-1. The Mavericks utilized two power play goals, timely goaltending from Evan Weninger, and team speed to generate countless high percentage looks to take this game. Fredrik Olofsson, Luke Nogard, David Pope, and Zach Jordan contributed tallys for the Mavericks. Shane Gersich provided the only UND goal 17:23 into the first period on a penalty shot. Weninger made 34 saves for the Mavericks, while his counterpart Cam Johnson only made 17 saves for UND.

In the first period, UND played with five defenseman for over half of the frame due to a Christian Wolanin ten minute misconduct. The junior defenseman also took a holding minor on the play. The Mavericks did not convert on their first power play chance but took advantage of UND playing without their defensive leader later on.

10:44 into the game, Zack Jordan beautifully screened Cam Johnson and Fredrik Olaffson took a pass from Tristan Keck on a Matt Kiersted turnover and rifled one past Johnson to give the Mavericks an early lead 1-0 lead.

17:23 into the first period, just after the Fighting Hawks stifled the Mavericks power play for the second time in the first frame, forward Shane Gersich walked in on a breakaway and was hauled down by a Mavericks defender. He converted his penalty shot chance thanks to a slow build up and picking the perfect time to wrist one through the five hole of  Weninger to tie things up heading into the first intermission.

In the second frame, Omaha withstood an early barrage of UND chances, The Fighting Hawks matched their eight shots on net from the first early in the second. Despite that, and several chances on their power play UND could not convert.  UND out shot UNO 20-7 in the second. Despite that, a mere eight UND shot attempts of their 30 in the frame came from inside and below the faceoff dots in the low slot.

8:20 into the second period, Luke Nogard put home a puck through the five hole Cam Johnson on a Zach Jordan shot. The power play tally gave the Mavericks their second lead of the evening.  Capitals prospect and Mavericks forward Steven Spinner contributed a secondary assist. He generated some time in the corner on the power play, saw the opening to feed Jordan, and did not misfire the pass.

Less than four minutes later, David Pope took a superb feed from Ryan Jones and  rifled  one past Johnson from just outside the right faceoff circle to give UNO a two goal lead 12:17 into the second

Finally, in the third period, Zach Jordan capitalized on an offensive zone turnover, walked in and went top shelf glove side on Johnson to provide the final  4-1 margin 09:44 into the final frame.

Both teams are back at it for the series finale tonight at 7:07 PM at the Ralph.

 

Three Thoughts 

  • UND needs to improve on generating higher quality chances. The Mavericks did an outstanding job at blocking shots and limiting second-chance opportunities. On Saturday, UND has to work on making quicker passes along the boards and make more in-cutting plays instead of going for dump-and-chase or shoot in type plays when entering the offensive zone. The Fighting Hawks have an outstanding ability to forecheck but need to use their own speed to get the puck into the offensive zone more. The UNO defense did an outstanding job limiting opportunities to retrieve the puck on chip-and-chase plays from UND all night.
  • The Fighting Hawks have been at their best when they can generate more goalie screens. They did not do enough of that against the Mavericks. Look for some of UND’s line changes tonight to be geared towards generating more net front presence.
  • Give credit to UNO. They won 31 of 67 draws against one of the best faceoff teams in the nation. While UND won the faceoff battle, that stat was largely influenced by Rhett Gardner and Nick Jones (15/8, and 10/8) having good nights at the dot. The rest of the UND forwards to take a draw finished no better than 50 percent on the evening.