Grand Forks, ND – On Friday night, the University of North Dakota honored former Fighting Sioux forward Jim Archibald with one last shift during the pregame ceremony. After the starting lineups were introduced the Craik, Saskatchewan native skated out on the ice and took a few laps. The crowd of 11,266 roared its approval.
Archibald then found his place in line and stood with the current lineup of UND hockey players.
Gardner Breaks Out
Senior forward Rhett Gardner entered Friday’s game with a single assist in five games. When it was all said and done, the 2018 NCHC’s Best Defensive Forward netted a hat trick and led his team to an important 5-0 non-conference victory against the Wisconsin Badgers. The Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan native was named the game’s first star.
Maybe, it’s a bit of irony.
“He’s a Saskatchewan guy, he’s from Craik which is like 45 miles from where I am from,” Gardner said. “I kind of always knew about him. He played his junior hockey in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Brad (Berry) showed us the big Wisconsin brawl a couple of days ago so we kind of got some history on him. He’s an entertaining guy and he’s kind of energetic.”
After the game, coach Berry had nothing but nice things to say about his senior forward, Gardner.
“He’s one of our captains,” Berry said. “He came in his freshman year and was a big impact in our national championship year. Over the course of four years, he’s the lifeblood of our program here in the fact that he plays in all situations. One thing about Rhett Gardner, I said to the guys after, in the locker room, composure and discipline is going to be a big thing in our game. When Rhett Gardner is playing composed, disciplined and hard good things are going to happen.”
It was a perfectly executed game for the Fighting Hawks, they were good in all three zones of the ice and they gave the Badgers little time and space. The Hawks were hard on pucks and got in the Badgers shooting lanes. With the win, UND improves to 3-2-1.
Night of Firsts
Friday was a night of firsts. Freshman forward Jacob Bernard-Docker scored his first career goal to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead in the first period.
“It was definitely super cool, especially doing it at home,” Bernard-Docker said. “The guys have been really making us feel comfortable in the room. It was just a matter of time there.”
Freshman goalie Adam Scheel stopped 24-of-24 shots to record his first career shutout.
“You know it’s good to get it under your belt, but I think it goes to how well our team has played as a whole offensively and defensively,” Scheel said.”
Finally, I asked Gardner how long it had been since he scored his last hat trick. If my math correct, it’s been about six years.
“I think when I was 16, It’s been a while,” Gardner said.
UND will go for its first series sweep Saturday night at 7 PM.