(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.
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.