(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)
In front of 11,860 fans at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks played in a must-win game over Colorado College. They did not disappoint their fans tonight. They earned a 5-1 victory thanks to strong special teams play resulting in two power play goals, and timely goaltending from Peter Thome.
In a completely different first period than last night, UND controlled the pace of play throughout. Although they did not score, they had Colorado College on their heels. This pace was consistent throughout the rest of the game.
Finally, for UND things looked up in the second period, the Fighting Hawks earned some five-on-three time on the power play. They did not convert on the two man advantage, as Joel Janatuinen buried a rebound on a Shane Gersich sharp-angle shot to give UND the 1-0 lead 9:23 into the 2nd .
A few minutes later, Christian Wolanin fired a perfect shot on the power play off Colorado College goalie Alex Leclerc. It never got to him, it went off of the shin pad of Austin Poganski and over to Shane Gersich. The Capitals draft pick made no mistake, and deposited the rebound into a wide open net to give UND its first two goal lead on the weekend.
The third period featured a superb start for the Fighting Hawks. A mere 57 seconds into the final frame, Austin Poganski took a feed from Johnny Simonson and raced in and fired a superb shot past Leclerc short side to give UND its first five-on-five goal of the evening.
Colorado College would answer back, as with 13:24 left in the game, Nick Halloran took a feed from Troy Conzo and fired a perfectly placed shot past Peter Thome to bring the Tigers within two goals.
A few minutes later, UND restored their 3 goal lead as Grant Mismash created time and space in the offensive zone. The Predators’ prospect fired a shot that went off Leclerc, off of Jordan Kawaguchi, and to Janatuinen, who did not miss the open net. The Finnish forward was credited with his second goal of the evening.
Grant Mismash was not done.
A few minutes after he started the play that lead to the second Janatuinen tally, he created his own goal. He took a feed from Trevor Olson , walked in and went top shelf on Leclerc 11:43 into the third to make it a 5-1 game. That would be the final margin of victory for UND.
UND heads on the road next weekend to Omaha to take on the University of Nebraska Omaha. If UND can mimic some of what it did tonight through playing through the middle of the ice, generating high percentage chances, and using a strong forecheck to limit Omaha’s top line, then the result could possibly be similar to tonight. The Fighting Hawks did not clinch anything tonight, but showed that they can compete when they play their brand of hockey.