(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violent Turtle Photography)
Last night at a loud Ralph Engelstad Arena, 11,304 fans saw UND score four goals, their best offensive output of the season. They also saw the Fighting Hawks give up six goals against UND plus one additional empty net goal to end up losing 7-4. A lot of good things happened for the Fighting Hawks last night. The power play found two goals on five chances. Colin Adams got his first goal of the season wiring a puck home in the slot from a nice Nick Jones feed. Matt Kiersted had one of his best offensive games from the blue line adding a goal and assist to the tally. That said UND did not win. What does this mean for tonight and going forward for the Fighting Hawks? Read on to find out.
The Results Will Change
In hockey in general, teams that generate more than double the amount of shot attempts (75-37) typically win their games. Especially when of those shot attempts 50 are not blocked and only ten are missed. UND hit two posts close in to give the Fighting Hawks 38 total shots on net last night. Why does this statistic matter so much? It is the genesis of advanced stats like Corsi and Fenwick that show UND, despite their record is playing quite well in terms of generating offense.
The Personnel Will Change
Last night showed me something. Like every UND team, and most every other college hockey team, this team is still finding right combinations and units that give them the best chance to win every night. Last night, Gavin Hain and Casey Johnson did not play. We could easily one or both of them in the lineup tonight. This team typically tries different lineups throughout the season to see how its players are developing and find the best combinations for postseason play.
The Goalies and Defense
Peter Thome has done a lot of good for UND. Adam Scheel will do a lot of good for UND. Both did not have the best game last night. However, neither received a lot of help from the defense or lack of depth last night as UND was reeling without Rhett Gardner who had to leave the game for a checking from behind major 6:59 into the game last night. On the third Minnesota State goal last night, Thome was screened.
He was screened by Colton Poolman and could not see the Max Coatta shot. Both goalies obviously want to play better, and if the third period is an indication, they both have things to build on. The lone goal in the third was an empty net goal to make it 7-4.
Point being, the defense and Scheel played decent in the third to complement a hard-charging forecheck that could not find the back of the net. Things will improve. UND can get their first win tonight at 7:07 PM.