Thrice as Nice: UND Uses a Three Goal Second Period to Help Down Miami (OH) 4-1 Plus 2 Thoughts

(Photo Credit:Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)

In front of 11,389 loud fans at the Ralph Englestad Arena, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks were able to spring past the University of Miami of Ohio Red Hawks thanks to a three goal second period. The Fighting Hawks used strong forward play, lead by former Ohio State Buckeye Nick Jones to neutralize the speedy style the RedHawks played.  He took a pass from Colton Poolman 4:03 into the second period and buried it past Miami goaltender Ryan Larkin. This would key the three goal second period the Fighting Hawks used to earn the victory on Friday Night. UND is now 7-2-2 while Miami is 4-5-0.

Throughout the first period, the Fighting Hawks were playing catch up hockey. While the period ended with no score, it also ended with the Red Hawks winning the shot attempt battle by a resounding 21-8. Peter Thome looked strong in the first period. He even played well a couple of long bounces that looked similar to the one Jeff Frazee was unable to stop many years ago against Robbie Bina.

2nd period

Later on after Jones’s first goal, on the power play, Shane Gersich rushed down the ice  and executed a wraparound a bit later to set up Rhett Gardner to bury the eventual game-winning goal .  This goal came 16:17 into the second stanza.

Then just a little bit later, 18:07 into the second frame, Nick Jones took a feed from Jordan Kawaguchi and buried his second tally of the night to give the Fighting Hawks a three goal lead after the second.

3rd period 

In the third period, the RedHawks were finally able to complete the tough task of solving Thome as Panthers’ prospect, Karch Bachman fired one past him 07:26 into the third period to make it a two goal affair once again.

However, a mere four minutes later, Grant Mismash added an insurance marker to re-stake UND to a three goal lead. He potted his second point of the game on a net-front battle to provide the final margin of victory for the evening.

Peter Thome played a strong game throughout the evening for the Fighting Hawks. Coach Brad Betty noted how sharp Thome was, especially in the first period when the team in front of him was not producing much.

Be Consistent

If the team can repeat its performance from period two, it will have a lot of success this season. If the Fighting Hawks play like a first period team, then the success will not come as quickly. UND’s biggest opponent from success could end up being itself.

Thome Time

Peter Thome exudes a quiet confidence while playing goal for the Fighting Hawks. He never looks out of any play and always finds a way to stay calm. Utilize Saturday night as a chance to get him more experience, but do not let up. If Thome sees less than 30 shots, the chances increase for a UND sweep.

 

 

 

 

 

Three For One: How UND Defeated Minnesota 4-0 to Earn a Split

(Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee for Violent Turtle Photography)

On Saturday night, in front of 11,890 boisterous fans, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks (4-1-1) defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-3-0, 1-1-0) 4-0. Their victory was keyed by three goals on a Jack Glover checking from behind major. This set up the Fighting Hawks to separate themselves from the Gophers for the remainder of the contest.

With the Gophers down a defenseman, and shorthanded for five full minutes, UND took advantage of its chances. The three markers provided insurance after the Fighting Hawks had a one goal lead.

 

04:59 into the first period Nick Jones buried his first goal as a Fighting Hawk on a perfect setup from linemate Grant Mismash. The Predators prospect took a feed from defenseman Hayden Shaw, streaked down to the goal line, and fired an exquisite no look back hand pass to a wide open Jones who did the rest.

19:19 into the opening frame,  the Fighting Hawks would score their first of three goals on Jack Glover’s five minute major. Christian Wolanin took a feed from Gabe Bast and rifled it past Gophers’ goalie Eric Schierhorn to give UND a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. Give forward Rhett Gardner credit on that goal for providing a beautiful screen to set that chance up.

The Fighting Hawks continued their strong special teams play as Colton Poolman joined the goal scoring fun. The sophomore defenseman scored  2:12 into the period. He took a drop pass from Ludvig Hoff and sent a rocket past three Gopher defenders and Schierhorn into the back of the net.

Wolanin capped off the scoring 3:43 into the middle frame. He took a pass from Colin Adams and fired it past Schierhorn to secure the final margin of victory for the Fighting Hawks.

Notes 

Forward Grant Mismash had an especially strong first period and was my vote for second star of the evening. He had two assists, finished plus one, and blocked a shot. The two-way forward played a strong 200 foot game for the Fighting Hawks tonight, and is developing into the player Nashville drafted him to be.

Junior defender Hayden Shaw notched two secondary assists tonight, as he did a superb job setting up the play throughout the evening for the Fighting Hawks.

Last night, North Dakota dominated possession and chances, yet could not win. Tonight, the tables were turned as Minnesota finished with 47 shot attempts to UND’s 39.

My Thoughts

I think that the Fighting Hawks cannot only be judged by their shot totals, or even shot attempts. Some of the past few games that the Fighting Hawks have not won, going back to last season against Boston have a few common themes. Strong goaltender, not finishing chances, and too many blocked shots.

Tonight the Fighting Hawks took care of the last two, and Schierhorn had to deal with a lot of traffic on Saturday. Look for UND to utilize that even more moving forward. The Fighting Hawks almost have to be judged without shot attempts. One the one hand, this stat shows possession, on the other hand said possession does not  always indicate who actually wins as evidenced by UND’s season opener against Alaska Anchorage. .

The Fighting Hawks go on the road next week to open to take on Colorado College in their NCHC conference-opening series. If UND plays a simple game and opens up lanes like it did tonight, good things can happen.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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

 

Small Rink Big Time Hockey – UND vs. Union

On December 31, 2016 I had the chance to see the Fighting Hawks take on Union College at Achilles Center in Schenectady, NY. North Dakota won the game 3-1 over Union. This post will allude to the game but focus on the home rink Union plays in, and some fun observations.

  • This is the smallest rink I have seen in some time. It seats a little over 2,000 fans and is set up in a very intimate fashion. You are right on top of the action the entire game, and can even stand right behind either goal. The standing room view for UND warm ups was superb.
  • This rink does not have replay boards. When you visit this rink, as every hockey fan should, you need to be watching the play at all times. Many fans missed UND scoring the first goal of the game just eleven seconds after the opening faceoff.
  • Union fans are some of the most knowledgeable and nicest people I have met. Every group of fans either provided fun chirping or was genuinely happy to see UND fans in the area. Cam Johnson even laughed at some nice heckling  by a group of fans. Union holds a special place in my heart for vanquishing the Gophers in the 2014 Championship. I think many Union fans feel the same way about UND for ending Quinnipiac’s run last spring.
  • Union fans also asked a lot of questions about me and fellow UND fans seeing their rink and UND play. The UND contingent was loud and vocal but was very respectful. Union genuinely enjoyed having UND there and I did not see a single negative fan despite the result. Every hockey fan needs to see a game at the Achilles Center in their lives. It is on of the mot intimate and unique hockey viewing experiences I have had.

Tucker Poolman: From A Dream to Reality

Tucker Poolman is an East Grand Forks native. Growing up in Grand Forks, he noted that he enjoyed playing with his brothers and friends, playing hockey, or hanging out. Tucker attended many University of North Dakota (UND) men’s hockey games, and that is when the dream started!

Tucker is your average college student. He likes watching movies and is currently watching the HBO series, Game of Thrones. He said that it is pretty good so far. He doesn’t have “any superstitions that are too crazy or strange hobbies,”as Tucker put it.  Due to his sentimental attachment to his home state, Minnesota, he enjoys supporting the Vikings and Twins. Being from a city like Grand Forks/East Grand Forks, where there so much support for all hockey teams from peewee to college, significantly impacted Tucker’s decision to attend UND to play DI hockey. He played for East Grand Forks high school and then went on to play for three years in Juniors. Before deciding to join Mark, who is a strength coach for the men’s hockey team, at UND for the 2013-2014 season.

At age 20, which is the oldest that a United States or Canadian player can be drafted, Tucker was selected by the Winnipeg Jets in the 5th round. Colton Poolman, his younger brother or little Poolman as the team calls him, said that while they were watching the draft at home. When Tucker’s name came across the screen, their mother, LeAnne started to cry. Mark, their father, was shouting. Tucker and Colton just looked at each other with stunned faces. In the years following being drafted has not changed Tucker’s ambitions in life, and he keeps grounded with his family.

Gage Ausmus, long-time teammate and friend, describes Tucker as “a massive human being.” Ausmus had nothing but very positive things to say about the junior defenseman. He stated “One of the best things about Tucker is that he has had to work for everything he has gotten, nothing has been given to him.”  He also said that Tucker “is a great role model for kids because he is proof that hard work pays off.” Tucker said with appreciation, “It was just a huge honor, but it doesn’t change much for me. I am still going to go out and do what I did before.” He is a natural leader and doesn’t let things get him overly excited. Little Poolman said, “It’s almost like he doesn’t have a heartbeat out there. Nothing get’s him overly excited on the ice. When I come back to the bench after a bad play and hang my head, He just tells me keep your head up.” These are some of the reasons Tucker was voted to be an assistant captain for the 2016-2017 season.

The Winnipeg Jets were pressuring Tucker to sign an entry level contract this season. Despite this he wanted to stay at UND to play with Colton and to finish his degree in business economics, which he expects to complete in three years. Colton and Tucker have never been able to play on the same team together even though they are only two and a half years apart. “Little Poolman”, as the team calls Colton, said that being on the team is such an honor to be able to finally play with Tucker in organized hockey. Tucker spoke with pride “You know it’s a little different, it’s not something I was used to. We just try and keep it professional”  when referring to working with his father and brother on the same team.

Outside of having a strong relationship with his family and friends, Tucker has a unique hockey career. After graduating from East Grand Forks, he went to play for the Wichita Falls Wildcats in the NAHL for the 2011-2012 season. Throughout 59 games (out of 60) of this season, he scored seven goals and made 22 assists. For 2012-2013, he started playing for the Omaha Lancers. He stayed for throughout the 2013-2014 season. During the second season, he was named USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year, and he also served as team captain. During that season with the Lancers, the defenseman set a franchise record with 25 goals with 26 assists in 58 games, which is exciting. Coming to UND has not changed Tucker’s ability to put points on the board. In 83 games, he has had 14 goals and 31 assists.  Already this season, he has one goal and three assists in three games.

During the off-season, Tucker attended the Winnipeg Jets development camp, which is a four-day long training event were they work with their professional coaching staff and players. After returning, he gave the enlightening remark on how he could improve his performance, “It helps a lot, lots of good players there obviously, but you know just seeing how an NHL team does things and you can learn from all the players and coaches.”

This season, with only seven returning upper classmen keeping the motivation up, is going to be an adjustment. Tucker said, “It’s just the nature of college hockey. Every year, it is a new group of guys, and you have to find each other’s strengths and weaknesses.” This is going to make a returning appearance at the NCAA DI men’s national championship more difficult. That UND won last season, UND won the national championship in Tampa, Florida. This ended a 16-year drought, this was also the 8th national title banner to be raised in the Ralph Engelstad Arena. When asked about keeping the focus said nonchalantly, “you try to put it behind you and keep working towards new goals and hopefully try and win again!” Tucker said that coming back from the win was an amazing experience and that the team is looking forward to making another long playoff run this year.dsc_1154

Three thoughts on the Opening game against Manitoba

Three thoughts from the men’s hockey game.

 

  • Cam Johnson, looked great. Seems solid in the crease and doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of rust to shake off before season opener on Friday against Canisius. Tomek seemed a little out of place and stiff on Saturday, but he hasn’t had much game play in the last two years. Hrynkiw looked smooth and didn’t seem to have a whole lot of issues following the puck, even with a mess of players crowding the lane. I am interested in seeing who will most likely will spend more time dressing as the backup

 

  • The lines have been on everyone’s mind since the end of the year when Caggiula announced that he would not be returning this season. First line looked good with Gersich, Jost and Boeser, but I think that Poganski and Janatuinen will soon be spending time playing with Boeser on the same line. 2nd line Janatuinen, Gardner and Poganski looked good together, they flowed well and didn’t seem to have issues finding each other. Hoff, Simonson and Wilkie will most likely stay together on the third.  On the fourth line Olson, Bowen and Yon are most likely staying together unless one makes a dramatic change or injuries occur.

 

  •          The Fighting Hawks looked solid in general. They seemed slow for most of the first period, maybe it is just first game jitters? I mean the Fighting Hawks have a lot of pressure on them coming off of winning a national championship and a lot of critics saying that the team is not as solid after losing most of the upper-class men to professional contracts. The leadership team (Ausmus, Poolman, Boeser and Poganski) have some things to overcome but I think they are just the group of men to lead the team on to another playoff run.

Hockey Media Day- Ryan “Bob” Anderson

I got the chance to meetup with Ryan Anderson, known to the team as Bob. Now a sophomore has made waves.He made the team as a walk on last season and earned spots on both the Dean’s list (Fall 15) and then the President’s Honor Roll (Spring 16). He also received the Tom Hoghaug Memorial Scholarship, which is given to freshman who shows initiative, character and responsibility.

After playing in juniors for 2014-2015 season, he was ready to “Hang up the skates”. Anderson won the same amount of games Tomek did in the 14-15 season. Bob had been in contact with  UND’s coaches and the week before school started got a phone call about an opportunity to walk on because of an injury to Tomek.

Before coming to UND, Anderson had played in the NAHL for the Wilderness, he said that playing there gave him a lot of experience because he had the opportunity to play a lot of games.

Ryan is majoring in Clinical Lab Science and was inspired by some friends he knew working in the Roseau hospital lab, where he grew up. He also wanted to be able to finish in four years.

Anderson takes inspiration from a few past University of North Dakota goaltenders, such as Jean-Philippe Lamoureux and Aaron Dell. This year he would like to practice hard and be ready at any time, should he need to step into the net. Ryan thought that Brock Boeser has the most accurate shot, while Tucker Poolman has the hardest shot.