Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography
Tonight, the Fighting Hawks of North Dakota ran the show on their way to a 4-1 victory in which time, space, and goals were mostly theirs for the taking. With that said, both teams had some things they would like to fix before the finale tomorrow. Below are some of those things.
UND-Fix the penalties
Tonight, UND took far too many chances to play shorthanded.
Luckily, the penalty kill of Assistant Coach Dane Jackson, and Adam Scheel in net did enough to save the day. With that said, on an average penalty per game basis, UND leads the NCHC in penalties conceded. In practical terms, it means they take more penalties than anyone else and have to kill penalties more. Even the best penalty kill will give up a power play marker at times. If this team can take a few less penalties each night, they keep everyone a bit fresher, and keep their whole team engaged in the game. This engagement helps them not do other things like badly turn pucks over at terrible times to help opponents back into games they should not be in.
This Fighting Hawks team is one of the best in the country. For them to make and win a Frozen Four, this statistic should look to change ASAP. If it does not, this team opens itself up to a bad special teams day ending their postseason far too soon for their liking.
CC: Capitalize on your chances
What do we mean by this?
Well, the Tigers are a fast team, for starters, but were unable to use that speed to consistently agitate UND netminder Adam Scheel. That has to change for the Tigers to have a chance to earn a split.
Why does it need to change?
Well, to put it succinctly, UND will win the shots on net and possession battle, most likely. Nearly any team that is not ranked has to play nearly perfect just to have a chance against UND, and tonight the Tigers did not do that. They had some chances, and had to earn a goal or two beyond what they go to get this game competitive, and did not do that. Looking at the Tighers without their star, Grant Cruikshank, leaves us with the same questions about this team we seem to have every year. Given all of the talent they have, when will that translate into points in the NCHC? Well, they need to figure out how to find a goal or two more tomorrow to earn three NCHC points.
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