Fighting Hawks and Pioneers Tie, Again

by | Jan 28, 2018

Fighting Hawks and Pioneers Tie, Again

by | Jan 28, 2018

Grand Forks, ND – Entering their National Collegiate Hockey Conference series against the University of Denver, the University of North Dakota hockey team was down three of their top players due to injury (Gabe Bast, Rhett Gardner, Nick Jones). On Saturday night, the Fighting Hawks added a fourth player due to a league-imposed suspension (Cole Smith).

This weekend, UND wasn’t playing some run of the mill team minus key players. They were playing the highly talented, league-leading Denver Pioneers.

Back in November, during their first series in Denver, the Fighting Hawks gave up (4g-7a—11pts) to the Pioneers top-three players (Troy Terry, Dylan Gambrell, and Henrik Borgstrom). This weekend, it was a different story, the injury-depleted Hawks held Denver’s big three to (2g-2a—4pts). That’s a big accomplishment for any team on any given weekend.

After giving up six power play goals to the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs the weekend before, special teams were a focus all week long in practice for the Fighting Hawks. Against the Pioneers, UND gave up one power-play goal on eight opportunities.

“We had some matchups going into this weekend having last change,” head coach Brad Berry said. “I think it was key to having guys identifying their roles and identifying their top players on the ice. Not giving them a lot of time and space. Anytime you limit that team to 20 shots you’re doing something right.”

UND spent a lot of time working on their special teams and the players took it to heart.

“Last week it was tough, because you got a guy in coach (Dane) Jackson that puts his heart and soul into everything he does, for him to come and realize his PK didn’t do the job I know that’s tough on him and we held a lot of meetings for our power play and penalty this week,” defenseman Christian Wolanin said. “I think we were on the ice for 45 minutes on Tuesday sitting still and going through our systems all over again.

“And coach Jackson, like I said, works so hard making sure that we’re prepared as best as possible. In Duluth, I think it had nothing to do with coach Jackson preparing us. It was a lack of discipline, a lack of energy. This weekend we had a mentality that we weren’t going to get scored on (during) the power play. I think we did a good job battling and showing heart.”

Denver goalie Tanner Jaillet. (Photo Credit: Eric J. Burton)

Entering the weekend, if you would have told me that the UND and DU would play a couple of ties, I would have told you that you’re crazy. Instead of crumbling in the face of diversity, the banged-up Hawks dug down and slugged out a couple of gutty efforts.

“I thought we played well enough to win tonight,” Berry said. “The start was just average. I thought we got better in the second half of the first period and carried that over (to the second period). That’s an NCHC game in the second half. There wasn’t any time and space and that was a grind.”

A grind it was. The two teams traded goals during the first two periods and then shut it down the rest of the way. The story of the day was the senior goaltenders. Senior goaltender Cam Johnson stopped 22-of-23 shots to earn the tie. Pioneers goaltender Tanner Jaillet was equal to the test stopping 21-of-22 shots.

“You always want to win, but I like the way we played this weekend,” Johnson said. “Denver, they’re a really good team. We had some guys that were banged up, so two ties for us, we’re not upset about the weekend, but we’re definitely not extremely happy about the weekend. Overall, it was a solid weekend for us.”

With the tie, UND is (12-8-8 overall, 6-6-4 NCHC). Next weekend, UND has a well-deserved bye week.

Improved Play Helps UND Get Series Win Against BSU

Improved Play Helps UND Get Series Win Against BSU

What a difference a week makes. A week ago, the University of North Dakota hockey team lost the series finale 4-3 to league rival Miami. The mood in the post-game was subdued. A week later, the mood was very different. After scoring his first goal of the season, Louis...

read more
UND vs. BSU in Pictures, Game 1

UND vs. BSU in Pictures, Game 1

Bemidji, MN --The Univerity of North Dakota traveled down highway two to take on the Bemidji State University. The two teams played to a 3-3 tie. The Fighting Hawks would end up winning the shootout, which will have no bearing on the Pairwise Rankings.. Here are some...

read more
Ranking the best lines in the NHL right now

Where does Jason Robertson's trio land? What about the Devils' top group? We count down the top 20 this season. [...]

795 goals and counting: The Alex Ovechkin chase to 800 tracker

The Washington Capitals star is projected to reach the 800-goal mark this season. Follow along as he chases down this accomplishment. [...]

Letang returns to practice 10 days after stroke

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang returned to practice just 10 days after suffering the second stroke of his career. [...]

Thompson's 5 goals tie Sabres' single-game high

Buffalo Sabres forward Tage Thompson tied a franchise record with five goals against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night. [...]

Penguins prospect Poulin taking leave of absence

Penguins GM Ron Hextall said 21-year-old Sam Poulin is stepping away due to "personal reasons." He will return home to Quebec and continue to work out on his own. [...]

Pietrangelo out indefinitely due to illness in family

Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is stepping away from the team indefinitely due to an illness in his family, the team announced Wednesday. [...]

Wright scores first NHL goal against Canadiens

Shane Wright, passed over by Montreal with the No. 1 pick in July's draft, scored his first goal for the Kraken against the Habs on Tuesday night. [...]

Avalanche C MacKinnon likely to miss four weeks

Colorado star center Nathan MacKinnon will miss approximately four weeks with an upper-body injury, the team announced on Tuesday night, a day after he left the Avalanche's 5-3 loss to… [...]

Cassidy's Golden Knights end Bruins' record run

Reilly Smith's goal for Vegas in the fifth round of the shootout ended the Bruins' NHL record for home victories to open a season at 14 games. [...]

NHL coaching hot seat index: Is Gerard Gallant in trouble?

We take the temperature for all 32 bench bosses, from the blazing hot to the ice cold. [...]

Ever wonder what it would be like if your everyday car was a ZAMBONI?!?!?

Wonder no longer…

Check out The Zambonis' latest hit, "Slow Whip"!