Bank on It: Nick Jones Sends UND Back to the Frozen Faceoff with OT Game Winner

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)

Grand Forks, ND

53 seconds into overtime, the bank was open for the University of North Dakota. Forward Nick Jones picked up the overtime winner for the Fighting Hawks off of Omaha goalie Evan Weninger. Jones tied the game for UND in the third period on a redirect past a screened Weninger on the power play.The junior forward took a rebound from a Jordan Kawaguchi shot, and used the positioning of Weninger to his advantage.In addition, that goal provided Kawaguchi with his first collegiate assist. His two tallies provided the difference for a UND side that needed a spark after giving up another two goal lead. The Jones tally sent 10351 fans at Ralph Engelstad Arena home happy.

This sweep in the NCHC First Round keeps UND’s hopes for the NCAA Tournament alive. They still have more work to do. The only thing this win guarantees the Fighting Hawks is two more games next weekend. It also showed that UND can come back from deficits, and that its experience in numerous overtime games helped equip them for tough situations like tonight.

After a long review it was determined that Matt Kiersted opened the scoring 10:13 into the game as he just squeaked the puck over the goal line before Weninger pulled the puck out of the net.

A few minutes later Bowen took a feed from Trevor Olson and walked in on breakaway. He went forehand-backhand to put the puck past Weninger 14:05 into the first.

The Mavericks answered right back as  Teemu Pulkkinen redirected a powerful Lucas Buchta wrist shot past Cam Johnson 15:28 into the first. UNO got its first goal in its last six periods. on that tally.

Pulkkinen would strike again in the second period, and tie things up for the Mavericks. UNO fought back from the first period and played UND even throughout the second frame and into the third period. In the third stanza, Jake Randolph gave UNO the lead 5:41 into the final regulation frame.

Nick Jones would score the first of his two goals on a redirect past Weninger. Jones’ net front presence made it impossible for Weninger to see the puck. The score would remained tied for the final 9:46 of regulation time.

UND will await the results of the Miami-St. Cloud, and Colorado College-Denver game threes tomorrow. These results determine UND’s opponent on Friday in St. Paul.  The Fighting Hawks still have to win at least one if not both games depending on their opponents next weekend. In addition, UND cannot cough up another two goal lead, this habit has cost them games and almost hurt them tonight.



Fighting Hawks Change Their Friday Night Song With 4-0 Victory

(Credit all photos to Kelsey Lee of Violent Turtle Photography)

Coming into this postseason opener, UND needed a few things. The Fighting Hawks needed to stay out of the penalty box, play sound defense, and use their depth to their advantage. They did all of these things throughout the postseason opener against Nebraska Omaha.

to defeat the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks 4-0. The Fighting Hawks  used an opening tally from Shane Gersich, combined with a superb three goal second period to put away the Mavericks.

The Fighting Hawks made one key change before the game. They, lead by senior goaltender Cam Johnson, and Director of Hockey Operations Patrick Swanson, completely changed their Friday warmup song list. This seemed to help the Fighting Hawks change their mindset heading into the postseason.

In front of 10,125 fans at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, UND changed up the beat both during warmups and during the game.

Shane Gersich opened the scoring with a superb shot on net past a screen from Colton Poolman. He took a drop pass from Austin Poganski and wired his twelth goal of the season past Evan Weninger, UNO goalie, 13:52 into the first period. This goal would end up being the game winner, but the Fighting Hawks were no where near done scoring.

In the second period, Christian Wolanin opened up the scoring with a superb juke move to open some space and then he picked his spot to make it a 2-0 game one minute into the second on the power play.

Nick Jones added to the scoring with a superb cross ice move and scored falling down. This photo from Kelsey Lee showcases how unique this goal was.


Finally, Joel Janatuinen would round out the scoring with a superb turnover and wrist shot on Weninger to provide the end margin of victory. UND goaltender Cam Johnson would add a scoreless third frame to collect another shutout on the season.

Photos from Friday Night 


UND Hangs on for Home Ice in 2-2 Tie: Gardner Saves Senior Night With Three-on-Three OT Winner

(All Photos used in this recap are courtesy of Kelsey Lee of Violent Turtle Photography)

In front of 12, 093 screaming fans at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, the University of North Dakota did just enough to secure another postseason series in front of their fans. They earned a 2-2 tie against St. Cloud State guaranteeing them a home date with Nebraska Omaha next weekend. They also built a little momentum winning the three-on-three overtime with a superb shot from forward Rhett Gardner 04:14 into the three-on-three frame.

UND was lead offensively by junior defenseman Christian Wolanin. He had primary assists on all three goals and keyed the offensive attack for UND. Wolanin also tied Austin Poganski for the blocked shot lead last night with three.

On senior night, freshman Grant Mismash took a Wolanin  point shot and fired it past St. Cloud goalie David Hrenak from the slot to give the Fighting Hawks a 1-0 lead 5 minutes into the game. UND would generate a lot of chances in the first but could not add any insurance to their initial 1-0 lead.

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14:39 into the 2nd period Rhett Gardner got the puck on his stick off a perfect cross-ice feed from Wolanin. The Dallas Stars’ prospect had enough time to get the perfect corner picked and he did not miss.


The third period was not kind to UND. Canadians super prospect Ryan Poehling scored another superb goal on a re-direct from a Robby Jackson shot on the power play 02:42 into the final frame. A few minutes later, 09:42 into the third, Grand Forks native Jacob Benson sent the fans in his hometown in to a panic for the final few minutes of the game. He went top shelf on Cam Johnson just after another power play had ended.

UND called timeout, and head coach Brad Berry reminded his team that “hey, we’re fine.”  Berry was able to calm the ensuing storm from St. Cloud and helped steer his team into the first overtime frame where it generated two shots on net. Neither of them found the back of the net, and UND guaranteed home ice at the end of the first overtime based on Omaha and Colorado College’s regulation losses.

Next week, UND can hopefully learn its lessons from this series to play against Omaha. The Mavericks bring the best power play in the conference, lead by the best player on the power play, senior forward David Pope, to the Ralph. UND gave up five power plays last night, and one goal shorthanded. UNO converts just over 25 percent of their power plays, so staying out of the penalty box next weekend will be crucial for the Fighting Hawks.


(Game Highlights, Video Courtesy of UND Insider)






Poehling Powers St. Cloud to 4-3 OT Win Over UND: Quick Recap and Look Ahead

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography

Montreal Canadians super prospect Ryan Poehling stole the show riday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena. His two goals propelled the Penrose Cup Champion Huskies to a 4-3 win in overtime against a University of North Dakota side that played one of its better games of the year. While UND generated  65 shot attempts on the evening, St. Cloud was held to 52. Unfortunately for the Fighting Hawks, the final shot from St. Cloud lost them the game a mere two minutes and 48 seconds into the overtime frame. Poehling was the best player in the last three periods of hockey for either team. Christian Wolanin, Nick Jones, and Jordan Kawaguchi contributed the three UND goals on the evening.  UND came so close to winning the game in heroic fashion, but Shane Gersich had his shot blocked with 4.3 seconds left in regulation.

Now What

UND does not control its own destiny for home ice any more in the NCHC. In most years this would mean they are out of the out large picture but are still not out of things this year. Assuming the Atlantic Hockey Champion does not finish in the top 16 of the Pairwise, UND occupies the 15th and final at large spot in the tournament. For UND to better its place tonight, a couple of things need to change.

  • UND had 65 attempted shots, and only 32 found their way on net. If UND can simplify its game tonight and make one less cross ice pass and focus on getting gritty goals via rebounds, they can generate more on net chances.
  • Stay out of the box. If UND can reduce its penalties by even just one or two from last night, they limit St. Cloud’s superb power play chances. The two SCSU power play goals by Jimmy Schuldt and Poehling gave the Huskies two of their leads.

Friday night was so close, that UND could play this same game 100 times and win 50 of them. If UND can make small changes to improve on what it did well last night, tonight’s result could dramatically improve.