UND forward Nick Schmatlz (Peter Bottini UND Athletics)

Fighting Hawks Fly by Pioneers 5-1

It probably doesn’t happen very often, but when public address announcer Darrin Looker announced that Fighting Hawks were at full strength, the UND faithful booed the announcement. The same thing happened again, on no less than six different occasions. Seriously, the fans booed their new nickname the Fighting Hawks. The hometown fans followed up their disdain for the new nickname with chants of Sioux forever and let’s go Sioux chants.

I guess that some traditions don’t just fade away with a couple of votes.

While the UND fans were unhappy about their new nickname, the play of the home team gave the fans something to cheer about. And cheer they did.

The boos from fans were definitely heard by the players.

“Yeah we could hear it,” UND senior forward Caggiula said. “That’s all I can say about it.”

Yeah, I heard them,” UND sophomore goalie Cam Johnson said. “I actually like that. I was laughing at first.”

Booing aside, the Fighting Hawks played a complete game in all three zones on the ice. The forward line of Drake Caggiula (1g-2—3pts), Brock Boeser (2g-0a-2pts) and Nick Schmaltz (1g-0a—1pts) led UND to their third straight victory in a row. With the win, UND improves to 13-2-2 and is tied for first in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference with a 6-1-0 record.

The play of CBS line didn’t go unnoticed by their head coach.

“That’s what I really like about that line, they’re playing the right way,” Fighting Hawks head coach Brad Berry said. “They’re backchecking hard. They’re tracking back through the neutral zone. Their plus/minus reflects that. That’s who we are as a team, a team that plays hard away from the puck.”

While everyone wants to talk about the play of the CBS line, UND’s sophomore goalie’s play shouldn’t go unnoticed. In his last three games, Johnson’s play has been almost flawless. Tonight, Johnson stopped 22 of 23 shots and improved his record to (4-1-1, 1.77 GAA, .926 SV%).

Nonetheless, coach Berry was pleased with his starting goalies play.

“I think he’s trying to get some consistency from game-to-game now. Obviously, having some success at Michigan State, and playing well out there and coming back home, in front of a loud, supportive crowd here. It was nice to see him have some success here again. He had to get called on to make some huge saves in the third period.

While the Fighting Hawks dominated the Pioneers for most of Friday’s game, DU will make adjustments and be a different team on Saturday night.

“We’re going to see a team tomorrow that will make a couple adjustments,” coach Berry said. “I would imagine that will shoot a bit more. We have to make sure that when we’re killing (penalties) we get in those shooting lanes.”

UND will attempt to get the first series sweep since the 2009-10 season (Denver swept season series). Same two teams tomorrow night at 7:07 pm CT.

(Official Box Score)