The University of North Dakota hockey team entered Friday’s game against the Wisconsin Badgers with a 6-0-2 record. Even more impressive, UND hadn’t been behind in a game for almost three weeks (October 17, 2015, against Bemidji State University).
After playing one game at home during the month of October, the UND fans were looking for something to cheer about. UND would take a quick 1-0 lead at the 07:31 mark of the first period with a goal from Luke Johnson, but that lead would be short-lived. From there, it was all Wisconsin. After one period of play, the score was knotted up at 1-1.
The Badgers would cash in twice in the second period with goals from Luke Kunin and Jedd Soleway. The Badgers would take a 3-1 lead at the 9:06 mark of the second period. That was the defining moment in the game. It was the first time that UND had faced any real adversity since their series against the Bemidji State Beavers.
From there it was all downhill. Nothing seemed to go UND’s way.
Not to sound cliche’, but tonight, the Green and White didn’t have it. UND was beaten to pucks, they got beat in all three zones of the ice by the Badgers. UND was out muscled badly during the first and second period. Leaving the crowd of 11,788 stunned.
Players Not Happy with Performance
“They outworked us, it comes down to that,” Troy Stecher said. “We talk about it every day – playing with pride – playing with heart. In the first two periods, I don’t think we had that. It was really disappointing. Obviously, coming home after being on the road for so many games and letting our fans down like that. And having a poor performance.”
“We didn’t get the start that we wanted,” junior defenseman Paul LaDue said. “The first two periods I thought we were sluggish out there. We didn’t make plays when we should have and there’s no excuse for that. We underestimated them, and they came out flying and deserved to win that game.”
UND will need a better effort tonight night if they want to avoid being swept.
“We were slow,” head coach Brad Berry said. “We were slow all over the ice. We were slow fore-checking – execution wasn’t very good in the first two periods. We had some jump in the third. We have to play to the level we had in the third in order to have success.”
Two teams will play again tomorrow night at 07:07 pm CT.
UND goalie Matt Hrynkiw lost for the first time in seven games. Hrynkiw is now 5-1-1, 1.73 GAA, .932 SV%.
UND played without their leading scorer Drake Caggiula who was suspended by the NCHC for an illegal check to the head. Caggiula will return on Saturday night.