Beatty’s 35 Points Helps Oral Roberts Best UND Women’s Basketball 80-58

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violent Turtle Photography)

Grand Forks, North Dakota– Coming into a key Saturday matchup, their second to last home game at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center this season, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks needed a win to get back in to top-half contention in Summit League play. They were not able to pull ahead of their opponent, Oral Roberts. The Golden Eagles flew past UND 80-58 lead by 35  points from Lakota Beatty. She put together a superb outing including going 6-8 from the three point line and helping stymie any instance of momentum UND tried to build.

Beatty had one instance in the first half where she connected on two straight threes combined with the Fighting Hawks trying to force the issue by getting a pass to a heavily guarded Lexi Klabo. That six point swing took the lead for the Golden Eagles to 16 and forced UND to play outside of their game the rest of the way.

Lexi Klabo lead the way for UND with 24 points. She was the only Fighting Hawk to reach double figures. UND never lead in this game and was unable to adjust to counter Beatty or anything else on offense that the Golden Eagles were able to do.  In addition, Head Coach Travis Brewster noted that the team has to spread the offense out a bit more. Because UND does not have a strong three point shooting game this season, teams have been able to double or triple team Klabo on a consistent basis. Tonight that was no different as that ability to collapse with help side defense on Klabo was a key component in the win for Oral Roberts.

UND finished with 20 turnovers on the evening as the Golden Eagles earned 12 steals on the night. A lot of those came on passes into Klabo in heavy traffic. Finally, look for UND to take some positives from this one. They play a strong outside shooting team in Denver and will look to learn some things on defending the three point shot a bit better. While they were able to get Klabo looks, this team needs to get more players involved. When teams are able to triple team your best player, and others do not knock down more shots then results typically do not trend to you. The most field goals made after Klabo’s eight were three by Faith Dooley.

As to Oral Roberts, for a young team with minimal veteran leadership, for them to come up to North Dakota and earn a 22 point victory was impressive. While South Dakota is the class of the Summit League, a hot shooting Golden Eagles squad lead by Beatty could surprise some folks in Sioux Falls. For a team with only three seniors (two of them being fifth year seniors) the Golden Eagles all played like seasoned veterans today.

Quick Recap and Podcast: GMC Line Steers Fighting Hawks to Split with 5-1 Saturday Night Win over St. Cloud State, Now What?

Photo Credit:Kelsey Lee-Violent Turtle Photography

Throughout the season UND has had some inconsistent times and play. The most constant force on this team is a line composed of Gavin Hain, Mark Senden, and Cole Smith. This line was the driving force for this team in the finale as they helped UND to a 5-1 victory over the St Cloud State Huskies. As noted in some previous games, this line has been the most dependable for the Fighting Hawks this year in terms of everything but goal scoring. Last night, three of the five goals were scored by this line as Gavin Hain contributed his first multi-goal (2) game of his college career.

Listen to the podcast for more on the game, and what to look for next week. UND played a perfect game Saturday against the number one team in the nation. Check out the podcast below for more.

 

 

Podcast: SCSU 3 UND 1 in Series Opener, Now What?

Photo Credit (Kelsey Lee-Violent Turtle Photography)

Check out a podcast with more on the series opener between UND and St. Cloud as the Huskies won 3-1. The podcast includes the following in 20 minutes.

  1. A quick goal recap
  2. A message to St Cloud State Fans
  3. A message to UND fans
  4. A Thought on the Schuldt hit on Mismash (should have been a penalty and reviewed, listen to find out more)
  5. All throughout I mention what both sides should build on for Saturday

Special Teams Stats Prove Deceptive as St. Cloud State Takes Opener 3-1

Photo Credit:Kelsey Lee-Violent Turtle Photography

When a team goes 3/3 on the penalty kill (not including empty net goals) and owns five on five play for at least around half of the game things typically go well right? Well for the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks things went poorly tonight as they gave up three unanswered goals (the third goal was an empty net marker from Blake Lizotte as UND was trying to bounce back and tie things on the penalty kill late in the third period) to lose the series opener to the number one team in the nation, the St. Cloud State Huskies 3-1.

Micah Miller and Patrick Newell took away a 1-0 lead provided by Nick Jones on an interesting angle shot from below the goal line 11:21 into the first period and gave St. Cloud the lead it would not relinquish. Both St. Cloud goals came mere seconds after UND killed off penalties. Miller’s goal came 18 seconds after UND killed a Matt Kiersted penalty in the second period. He took a feed from Nolan Walker, walked into the UND zone in transition and rifled one past UND netminder Adam Scheel on his left side just above his pad.

In the third period, 17 seconds after the Fighting Hawks killed off a Jasper Weatherby penalty, the puck was fired down towards the UND end. It looked as if a UND defender was close enough to play the puck, and Scheel reached out to play it as well negating any chance of an icing call. Colton Poolman tried to play the puck behind the net but made a very rare mistake and turned the puck over to Nolan Walker. He then found one of the best goal scorers on the Huskies, Newell, in the slot and he did not miss the game-winning goal.

UND was out shot in the second and third periods combined 41-22. The Huskies utilized their strong transition game throughout the second and third period. If not for a very close goal review on a potential Nick Perbix goal, the margin could have better reflected the shots on goal disparity. UND took issue with a potential penalty on Jimmy Schuldt as a hip check on further review looked to result in knee-on-knee contact on Grant Mismash who required help to leave the ice. He will definitely not play in the finale. UND needs to improve in consistency. The result is different as the Huskies outplayed the Fighting Hawks in the final two frames, but the path was the same for UND. The Fighting Hawks started the game well, got chances and limited grade-a chances for the other team. Then the opponent got into their game and this time said opponent was not Omaha or Canisius but St. Cloud State.

These are not the same Huskies that lost to Air Force in the NCAA tournament last March. This is a team with all of the speed and skill of last year’s squad combined with a consistent commitment to team defense to further highlight their skills. For UND to salvage a split they need to play a perfect 60 minutes all the while knowing any mistake they make has a marginally decent chance of ending up in the back of their own net. Saturday night at the Ralph will be a fun one.

The Comeback: UND Survives Colorado College Comeback to Take 4-3 OT Victory

(Photo Credit: Russ Hons-UND Athletics)

Last night in front of 11,094 fans at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, the University of North Dakota, once again, finished a game more than doubling its opponent, the Colorado College Tigers, in shots on net. Once again, they were playing from behind in the third period. The Tigers scored three unanswered goals to take a 3-2 lead and were using superb play from their netminder, Alex Leclerc, to keep themselves ahead. That all changed 14:!4 into the third period as Jordan Kawaguchi tipped home a Nick Jones shot to tie the game and send it into overtime. In the extra frame Ludvig Hoff tipped home a game winner 4:15 into the extra frame.

Unlike previous games this year where the opposing team was able to hold onto leads despite being out shot by the Fighting Hawks, this one was different. The Fighting Hawks played a solid game from the beginning and took a 2-0 lead before the Tigers got on the board. Nick Jones waited out Leclerc 10:11 into the first and went short side top shelf to make it 1-0 on the power play. Andrew Peski then wired a puck home through multiple defenders to give UND a 2-0 lead. Over the second and third frames, Westin Michaud, Erik Middendorf, and UND transfer Chris Wilkie gave the Tiger a 3-2 lead. The Wilkie goal came on a five minute major and game misconduct given to Gabe Bast. He went high and directly hit Alex Berardinelli in the head to give the Tigers a five minute power play. Bast could face supplemental discipline for that hit.

While Wilkie did score 26 seconds into that power play, UND was able to limit the harm to one goal. The feeling among UND was one of relief but not happiness. Given how the non-conference season finished, and their out of conference record against non-ranked teams, UND needs to win a fair amount of games to secure a spot in the tournament regardless of the postseason.

On to Saturday

The good to bring forward for UND? Consistency, as the Fighting Hawks scored a goal a period for the entire game and did not let up all night despite having a two goal lead at one point. The team was able to get multiple goals off deflections, as the team is looking for other ways to convert on chances.

What should UND work on for the finale? While the Fighting Hawks were able to make a big difference with tips and deflections, throughout the game they almost tried to find a perfect opportunity in the slot that got blocked. This team has a strong defense that is good at getting pucks on net to get tipped. If the team keeps waiting for perfect chances, none will arise. All of this being said, the Fighting Hawks played a good game, and still have one more hill to climb to earn a sweep against the Tigers.

 

92-91: UND Men Lose Close One to Omaha- What Was Good, What to Improve Upon, and What’s Next?

(Photo Credit:Russ Hons-UND Athletics)

Coming into this one, UND had a prime opportunity to pull even in Summit League play before taking on a Western Illinois team picked near the bottom of the league Saturday. That did not happen as Omaha was able to use a last second three to clinch a remarkable comeback win against the Fighting Hawks at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in front of a loud crowd. Conner Avants came inches away from equalizing things with a free throw that rang off the rim with .6 seconds left to end it at the 92-91 loss.

That is how the game ended. The final score is not indicative of the good that happened for the Fighting Hawks as they played a consistent game throughout. Avants lead the way for UND with 24 points on offense. Aanen Moody provided a spark off the bench for the team knocking down six three-pointers on the night for 18 points. Cortez Seales contributed another strong effort with 16 points. The team found ways to score and fast routinely tonight. This multi-faceted inside-outside game the Fighting Hawks played tonight is repeatable in the Summit League to get this team where they want to go.

What should not be repeated and what did the Fighting Hawks in was the lack of rebounding. Head Coach Brian Jones noted the issues Omaha had coming in with its rebounding and small average of offensive boards(he noted seven). Tonight, the Mavericks finished with 15 offensive boards which lead to 19 second chance points. UND had nine offensive boards and 13 second chance points. Jones and Avants noted the need for the team to improve quickly in the rebounding category.

If they can consistently rebound and get a similar amount of offensive production they can put away more teams the rest of the way. That all starts this Saturday against the Leathernecks of Western Illinois.

 

 

Deep Depth Lead by Leet Spurs UND Women to 68-57 Win Over Omaha

(Photo Credit: Russ Hons-UND Athletics)

Coming into tonight’s key Summit League matchup, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks were 2-1 in the league and had a unique challenge. They had to figure out how to get a lot of scoring without Lexi Klabo, Summit League scoring leader. In addition, they had to content with a 2-3 zone from Omaha designed to force them to convert on more outside shots.

Both of these quandaries were solved by the team gelling throughout including a 17 point second quarter where the team outscored the Mavericks by six (17-11). As the game wore on Fighting Hawks fans got a glimpse of how deep this team is through multiple players. Julia Fleecs, making her first start had a superb night from the field ending with 14 points to pace the Fighting Hawks on offense. Her leadership combined with the depth of the Fighting Hawks lead the way.

The player that provided the most help in strengthening the depth of the team and that stood out most tonight was Melissa Leet. She was able to neutralize Mavericks’ forward Elena Pilakouta throughout the evening and provided some timely wing shooting to stretch the defense. She finished with nine points on the evening. Leet noted the help of her team in getting her to this point. For example, her work  with Faith Dooley in practice was one of the encouragements for her developing an improved outside game. Dooley’s post presence has provided an opportunity for Leet to work on other parts of her game.

As Head Coach Travis Brewster noted, if Leet can continue this contribution  it would be a big boost to the team. Having Klabo and Dooley with Leet able to spell either one would preserve everyone a bit more and give UND another player who can shoot the wing shot a bit more consistently.

UND’s ability to maintain a strong post game and shoot the outside ball, in the rhythm of the offense are the key to this team’s success moving forward. The delicate balance of this will determine how far this team will go. If players like Leet can add into what starters like Alaina Jarnot (3-4 from beyond the three point line, 13 points on the evening) did, then this team has no limit.

UND faces a test players noted was similar to Denver on Sunday in Western Illinois. The Leathernecks are a high-tempo three point shooting squad. UND gave up 13 threes on 22 attempts against Denver. For Sunday to go a bit differently, look for UND to contain the tempo and limit quality threes for the Leathernecks. How UND responds to the pushed pace will determine how Sunday will go.