UND ties Alaska Anchorage 1-1: Quick Thoughts

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)

Last night, the University of North Dakota at times looked dominant over the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves. The Fighting Hawks generated plenty of chances throughout the evening.

However, the Seawolves defense, lead by Olivier Mantha was up to the task. The senior goalie made 32 saves on 33 shots faced. The UAA defense blocked 25 shots on the evening.

UND did a lot of things right last night. They used their speed and depth to generate a lot of chances, especially as the game wore on. They kept the Seawolves playing defense most of the evening. They staved off a five-on-three powerplay in overtime. Shane Gersich showed his skill and speed all night, generating chances, and getting his linemates involved.

Yet, UND has to improve some things tonight. Here are a few areas to keep an eye on tonight.

Passing to create lanes

One thing the Fighting Hawks did exceptionally well last week against Manitoba was getting a lot of quality chances. Yes, UND had some quality chances last night they should have converted. However, part of the reason why UAA blocked so many shots is because UND did not utilize the full Olympic sheet of ice at times.

The Fighting Hawks’ only goal came on a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play where Trevor Olson found Christian Wolanin who quickly got the puck to a wide open Johnny Simonson. This team scored all but one of its goals last weekend on transitions and quick plays.

If the Fighting Hawks have a few less shots, but can utilize their ability to create time and space, then they could make life harder for Mantha.

Get One or More Special Teams Goals

The Fighting Hawks have to get one goal on special teams. Last night, they once again generated chances and had good zone time. If the Fighting Hawks can catch the Seawolves in transition that may open up their defense a bit.

Control the Dot Once More 

UND went 35-18 in the faceoff dot last night. That started a lot of their possesions, and lead to generating the amount of chances they did. If that continues look for UND to get a lot more chances tonight.

If UND can limit chances, and improve on its speed game from last night, then tonight could produce a lot different outcome for the Fighting Hawks.

 

 

 

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UND Heads North: Previewing the Alaska Anchorage Series

Photo Credit: (Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)

Fresh off a 6-2 exhibition win over Manitoba, UND heads north this weekend to take on an Alaska Anchorage side that finished last in the WCHA last season. The Seawolves won seven total games in 34 contests last season.

This season, the Seawolves look to improve on their record lead in net by senior goaltender Olivier Mantha. He finished last season with a 2.82 goals against average and .913 save percentage.

The Seawolves play a physical style of hockey that will force UND to utilize the wider sheet of Olympic ice to make more skilled plays.

Giving fast players like Shane Gersich and Ludvig Hoff more ice to skate on will benefit the Fighting Hawks.

To have a chance against the Fighting Hawks, Head Coach Matt Thomas noted the importance of taking away time and space from the Fighting Hawks. The Seawolves’ returning leading scorer and captain, Matt Anholt, had 22 points (5 goals, 17 assists) in 34 games. Alaska Anchorage has done better when it plays physical and limits scoring chances.

For the Fighting Hawks to have success against the Seawolves this weekend here are few things to look for.

Utilize your Speed Game 

North Dakota is a faster team than the Seawolves. Because of this, it will  be able to generate chances if they can maintain puck possession. As the game wears on, like during the Manitoba game, the Fighting Hawks will show their speed. Look for players like Ludvig Hoff to build on their exhibition performance against Manitoba.

Build on the Blue Line 

One of the things Head Coach Brad Berry thought needed improvement was play in UND’s own defensive zone. Manitoba had some long cycles in the first period, and one of those cycles contributed to the Bisons second goal on a deflection.

Start Fast 

The Seawolves will be incredibly motivated. They have experience playing the top teams in the country to start a season. The Fighting Hawks have to come out fast, and force the Seawolves to score multiple times just to keep pace.

Now that the games count, UND has to not give the Seawolves any chance to stick around with their motivated crowd cheering them on.

Prediction 

UND will face some challenges this weekend from the Seawolves but should come out on top with a sweep.

Score Prediction: UND 4-2 UND 5-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UND Flies Past Manitoba 6-2:A Recap and Three Thoughts

Photo Credit: (Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)

Tonight, in front of 10,682 fans anxious to see their first UND Men’s Hockey game in 190 days, UND stormed past the Manitoba Bisons 6-2. All six of UND’s rookies contributed in the win as the Fighting Hawks rolled all four of its lines in a balanced attack.

In the first period, UND was a bit on its heels for a little bit as Remi Laurencelle of Manitoba caused a turnover in the neutral zone, and converted a breakaway to give the Bisons the early lead 4:37 into the first period.

The Bisons’ lead lasted for less than two minutes (1:54) as Ludvig Hoff converted on an Austin Poganski pass to tie things up.

Later on in the period at the 16:17 mark, Grant Mismash tapped in a Colin Adams pass to give UND a lead which it would not relinquish.

During the second period, Christian Wolanin converted a superb cross-ice pass from Colin Adams to give the Hawks a two goal lead.

Later on, after a Bisons goal by Calvin Spencer, Hoff potted his second tally of the evening. Jordan Kawaguchi and Johnny Simonson would add two of their own markers to round out the scoring for the evening.

Cam Johnson stopped ten of twelve shots in two periods. Freshman goalie Peter Thome made his debut in the third period, and saved all five shots he faced.

Three Thoughts

Depth Depth Depth 

That word was repeated a lot at media day this week. What that meant in a game was shown tonight. Every line had positives in the game. Every line had someone contribute something to the cause.

Another example of the Fighting Hawks’ depth is backup goalie Peter Thome. He had a strong outing. The first year goalie had a tall order coming in late in the game, and had to stop a couple of grade A chances for the Bisons. He is a positionally sound goalie who showed how hard he works. The former Waterloo Blackhawk looked very calm stopping the limited chances he had.

The Returners 

Christian Wolanin, Shane Gersich, and Ludvig Hoff all had strong games. Wolanin showed his cannon of a point shot, and did an excellent job distributing to help his teammates. The Ottawa Senators prospect also showed that he is adept at finding the net to increase scoring from the back end.

Shane Gersich had an outstanding game, he played with speed in all three zones and nearly recreated his spin-o-rama goal from last season.

Ludvig Hoff was most impressive, he had two goals, played with speed, and won more than 50 percent of his faceoffs. He was all over the ice and benefited from having Gersich on his line.

Special Teams

The Fighting Hawks did an excellent job on the powerplay. While they did not score a goal, they generated a lot of zone time, and were able to move the puck effectively . The seven shots they took were all high-quality shots. This puck movement is a good sign for the rest of the season, as multiple players got some time on the powerplay. The penalty kill was also strong, and did a good job of limiting the Bisons to two shots on goal. Those two shots both happened on the second Bison power play.

Next weekend , the Fighting Hawks fly north to take on Alaska Anchorage in a two game series.

PHOTO Link: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Violentturtlephotograhpy/photos/?tab=album&album_id=672606726271241

 

For the Weekend Ahead

A quick preview of UND Sports This Weekend as a lot of things are happening.

  1. Volleyball (17-2) looks to continue its strong play in the Big Sky against Idaho, and Eastern Washington.
  2. Football(1-3) looks to rebound from two big defeats against South Dakota and Montana State on the road against UC Davis. Look for John Santiago and Brady Oliviera’s success to be indicative of how the game will unfold. If UND controls the ground game, and time of possession good things can happen.
  3. Look for UND Hockey to play a large lineup in its exhibition game against Manitoba. The biggest theme from media day this weekend was depth, depth, depth, and some more depth. UND has zero first round picks on its roster but a lot of upperclassman leadership and depth.

We will be at all of these games this weekend. Look for something from the exhibition AHL matchup between the Iowa Wild and the Manitoba Moose this weekend as well.

Small Goalies: “Be like an Amish Guy” Advice from JP Lamoureux

Jean-Philipe (JP) Lamoureux is a University of North Dakota Men’s Hockey Team alumnus. He spent four years in net for UND. During that time, he established himself as a premier goaltender in college hockey despite his five-foot-ten size.

However, height and goaltending success are usually linked. According to TSN’s Jamie McLennan, In the National Hockey League, as of 2014, only four of the sixty goalies in the NHL were under the six-foot threshold.

The league is getting taller every year.

How does this impact players like Lamoureux?

Well, Lamoureux has found great success overseas despite his build. This season, he recently broke the record for most career wins by an Erste Bank Eishockey Liga (EBEL) goalie with 183 wins. The EBEL is the top league in Austria, and JP has done well to prove himself there.

He has used his success to mentor goalies here through the founding of JPL Goaltending.

Eventually, JP wants to be a coach, and that was one of the original reasons for founding JPL Goaltending. He has been operating his business for five years.

Recently, he offered some sound advice for small goalies.

“You have to accept that your whole career is an uphill battle. You’re basically like an Amish guy, you have to perform everything the big guys do plus a half…It’s just a reality, because NHL teams will always take a bigger guy over smaller guy who are close in ability.”

Look for much more from JP over the next few weeks.

UND Hockey Alums Around the World:Ryan Duncan

With hockey season right around the corner we will be publishing some interviews with University of North Dakota Hockey alumni from around the world. We will be talking to alumni both currently playing hockey, and those that have used their education to pursue other ventures.

Today’s interview is with Ryan Duncan. He was a member of the Duncan-Oshie-Toews (DOT) line that featured some of the best forward play this University has ever seen. Duncan won the Hobey Baker award in 2007, and has gone on to play most of his professional career in Austria for Red Bull Salzburg. He has won four league titles with Red Bull Salzburg in Austria’s top league known as the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga (EBEL). He has numerous accolades at the team and individual level both in college hockey and in Austria.

Below are our questions and his responses:

1. What has been your favorite off-ice moment playing since you started your pro career?

” The birth of my daughter. It was an incredible experience to be a part of. It changed my perspective on a lot of things. It was truly life-changing and an extremely proud moment.”

2. What are your plans when you are finished playing hockey?

” Great question. I don’t know exactly what I want to do for work quite yet, I hope to stay involved with hockey in some capacity but my top priority will be being there for my daughter and helping create a healthy environment for her to grow up in.”

3. How much do you follow the current UND team now?

” I follow the current UND team pretty closely. I’m a fan. Any outlet that covers the team or gives updates about the team I probably follow it. I love watching the highlights and tracking their progress.”

4. What did you do to celebrate UND’s National Championship in 2016?

” I was in the middle of a playoff run over here in Austria so there wasn’t the preferred amount of celebrating but I probably pestered my current teammates by gloating about my former team. Then when the time was right, me and my Wife (who is a former UND women’s hockey player) raised a glass to UND’s accomplishment.”

5. What are some things that UND fans might like about the European game?

” I think UND fans would like the style of play and the atmosphere in the arena. it’s a finesse game with a lot of skill and the atmosphere in the stands is a fun one with lots of drum banging and local chants.”

6. During your UND time, who were some of your teammates with the biggest personality?

” I played with a lot of characters at UND. Two I’ll mention are Brett Hextall and Matt Watkins. Brett is just a really smart and clever guy who makes people feel comfortable around him. Matt is a really unique and interesting person. He grew up in rural Saskatchewan so just the perspective he brings to life makes him really fun to be around.”

7. Who has been your favorite coach to play for at any level?

” My favorite coaches were Tom Ward and Dave Hakstol. Coach Ward was my coach in high school at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. He taught me so much about life and hockey. I developed more because of him than any other coach I played for. Coach Hakstol helped continue that progression once I got to college. He really encouraged and taught the professionalism that is needed on a daily basis to be successful in the game of hockey and in life.”

8. What do you most miss about UND and Grand Forks?

” I miss everything about Grand Forks and UND. What I miss most is Red Pepper and going to school with thousands of kids around your same age. It’s a special time in life. N ot too many better things than a Saturday night after at home weekend sweep in Grand Forks.”

9. What are some interesting things in Austria that you like to do or see in your off time?

” Me and my Wife like to explore the area around Salzburg in our off time. Salzburg is a beautiful city surrounded by mountains so there’s no shortage of adventures for us to go on.”

10. What are some hockey-related goals you want to accomplish before retiring?

” My hockey related goal before I retire is simple, make EC Red Bull Salzburg a better team and organization because I’m a part of it. It’s a great organization to play for and I want to help to continue to make it even better.”

11. How many more years do you want to keep playing hockey?

” I want to keep playing hockey as long as I can. I have no set time table. I love the game and I’m passionate about it so I hope to continue playing for many more years to come. It’s a great life.”

12. What are you most thankful for learning from UND?

” I’m most thankful for learning from UND how powerful a great community, culture, and tradition can be. I think a lot of communities, businesses, organizations, and teams strive to be like Grand Forks and UND but very few achieve it. UND is a special place. I feel privileged to have been a part of it.”

 

Expansion Draft Three Thoughts

The NHL Expansion Draft is now complete. The Vegas Golden Knights have their initial roster. They selected 30 players and traded for a few more. By the end of the night Vegas ended up with 12 picks in the 2017 draft. Five of those picks are in the first two rounds. Here are some quick thoughts on what took place tonight.

  • Why on earth did Florida give up Reily Smith just to lose a 30 goal scorer in Jonathan Marchessault? I get that Florida is not a cap team, but in my mind you cannot justify giving up a player who is just a year removed from a 50 point season in a third line role. Smith will bring some needed depth scoring to Vegas right away. To me this was the worse trade of the night for a team losing a player to the Golden Knights. While yes, the Panthers gained five million dollars in cap room, they lost two promising players who can score with some regularity. The Panthers still have a bright outlook next year, but they now need a bit more out of their up and comers and have to hope Jaromir Jagr comes back for another season. Florida just gave up 88 points between the two from last season to rid themselves of five million dollars in cap room.
  • Look for Vegas to pick up another goalie or more shortly. Tonight they selected Calvin Pickard, Marc-Andre Fleury, and J.F Berube. Berube was selected as part of a deal with the Islanders where Vegas also took on the contract of injured forward Mikhail Grabovski, and Jake Bischoff. The former Isles goalie has an expiring contract, and Vegas needs multiple goalies for its AHL and ECHL teams. Pickard is a serviceable backup that can start when called upon. Look for the Golden Knights to draft multiple goalies as well. Jake Oettinger out of Boston University would be one possible choice for them. He could move through their system quickly and start for them in three years.
  • Vegas has a lot of options with some of the players it picked up. Teams are willing to pay a premium for quality defenseman like Marc Methot, and Vegas wants more picks and assets to help them build for the future. Dallas has let teams know they are looking at moving their third pick and need help on their blue line. The Golden Knights have plenty of options and could put together a package to get that pick.

 

 

Michael Quesenberry: UND Track and Field

MQ
Photo credit: UND athletics

Michael Quesenberry, graduated from Billings West High School in 2014. He decided to come to University of North Dakota to compete on the track and field team because his older brother, Brandon, competed in Track as well as football. He competes at the college level in shot put and discus. He also said that the other offers he received were for warm climates and he likes the cold.  Quesenberry was also going to play football but sadly had a poor experience with a non-UND college coach, so he decided to put everything into field. Which has worked out pretty well for him as, Quesenberry currently holds second place in UND history with a throw of 17.29 meters in shot put.

Quesenberry has the most infectious personalities, he is someone that can be friends with anyone.  He likes to spend time with his friends and watching sports. His favorite teams include Bangles, Blackhawks, LA Angels. He recently was baptized in the Catholic church and is part of FCA, which is the fellowship of Christian Athletes. He redshirted the 2015-2016 outdoor season and the 2016-2017 indoor season, due to an injury, allowing him to have two more full seasons to compete. He might not need both years though as he is a junior in the communications program.

Quesenberry has dreams of becoming a real estate agent, because he likes to make people happy and get them the best deal that he can. One of the best parts about being part of UND athletics, is no matter what your affiliation, they know each other and support one another. It’s like a family. “It is hard to be at a school, where the student body doesn’t care about the sport you compete in, but that’s just the nature of track and field.”

Kelly Nordling: UND Track and Field

 

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Photo from UND Athletics

Kelly Nordling is sophomore majoring in communications with hopes of working with a sports team in some way.  Nordling came to the University of North Dakota track team as a jumper but has since been moved to running the 400 meter hurdles (personal best 57.46 seconds). Track was not his first spring sport choice. He started playing baseball but during his 7th grade basketball season, Nordling dislocated his shoulder and didn’t think it would hold up during the fast approaching baseball season. His family has always been keen on keeping everyone busy by participating in sports year around, so a new activity had to be chosen, track and golf where the only options at the small high school in Montgomery MN.

Freshman year of college was a complicated for Nordling. His mom had found a questionable mole and decided it needed to be looked at. Cancer was the diagnosis. Not only a freshman in college but an athlete as well. Treatment was a success but nonetheless freighting and difficult to handle. None of this shifted Nordling’s dreams. Kevin Garnet said, “There is always someone working harder than you are, you can’t sleep on them” has become a source of inspiration. As sophomore year approached it was time to start looking ahead to the new season.

In high school, he was a jumper both high and triple as well as part of the 4×4 and 4×2 relays. His father, who was one of his coaches had always told him he should try hurdles, “I guess I should have listened to him” Nordling said. The biggest thing he is working on improving is learning the race. 400 meter hurdles come with their own set of problems. “I have to work on my timing really, knowing when to slow down and when to speed up. It’s a real problem.”  Nordling competed for the first time in six weeks after an ankle injury that occurred during practice.

Kelly Nordling said that being a part of a UND athletics program is one of the best decisions he has made in his young life. He has made many friends and enjoys spending time with them. Nordling is a part of FCA, which is the fellowship of Christian Athletes on campus. His favorite teams are Minnesota Timberwolves, Vikings and Wild.

San Jose Sharks vs Edmonton Oilers: Round 1, Game 1

After taking time to process through the emotions from the Sharks overtime win over the Oilers.

1st: The game started and I was so excited for playoff season to be underway!! It started off really good, SJ recorded the first three shots on net. I was thinking Okay, they got this!  Then all hell broke loose!! Everything fell apart from two minutes in till Caggiula’s hooking penalty at 19:45. Things started to pick up in those 15 seconds. Sharks made it out of the first, down 2-0

2nd:  1:43 minutes in the second Joel Ward gets it started with a power play goal! Making it 2-1. I am always hard on Ward. I am defiantly not his biggest fan! I made a beat with Oliver that if SJ pulled out a win. I would not say anything bad about him in game 2…I am glad I am eating my words…This would be the only goal of the second period. The Sharks dominated! I was on the edge of my seat!!

3rd: Started off just as well as the second. Tomas Hertl working hard behind the net to kick it out to Paul Martin who crushes into the back of the net making it his first playoff goal as a San Jose Shark at 14:38, 2-2…Tied…in the 3rd… So, now my heart is pounding and I swear I was going to be going to the ER with how hard my heart was working. San Jose continued to keep control of the game and it would stay that way. Jones didn’t allow a single puck to get behind him. Now, into overtime!! I seriously think I am going to die…I am on my feet and I don’t think I sat down at all during the intermission.

Overtime: 3 and 22 seconds in Vlasic makes a pass that hits right on Karlsson’s tape beating Talbot glove side corner. Over time ends!! Rogers Place falls dead silent for the first time all game. The sea of orange slowly turns into a slow-moving stream up the stairs…

A few thoughts: Hertl was unstoppable last night. He took the spot of Thornton and didn’t look back. Having Hertl on the power play is a huge advantage and I think that he is going to be the future of the San Jose Sharks! To be honest I have only been a Sharks fan since last April, when I got back into watching hockey. Vlasic is so understated as a player. He is a play maker!

 

I am looking forward to biting my nails to watch game 2!!