Grand Forks, ND – What a difference a day makes. Yesterday, the University of North Dakota hockey team was stomped 4-1 by the University of Nebraska-Omaha. For most of the game, the Mavericks beat the Fighting Hawks up and down the ice. The Fighting Hawks lost most of the 50-50 battles.

The Fighting Hawk were a step slow all night long. They weren’t hard on the pucks, they didn’t get to the blue paint. They didn’t get net-front presence and take the goalie’s eyes away from him. The Fighting Hawks didn’t make the Mavericks work very hard for the victory.

Fast forward to Saturday night. The Fighting Hawks came out and took it to the Mavericks. They went hard to the net. They were hard on pucks and won all of the 50-50 battles.

UND was good in all three zones of the ice. When it was all said and done and the final box score was written, the Mavericks were on the wrong end of a 7-0 drubbing.

At the 17:54 mark of the first period, Rhett Gardner would score the game-winning goal. From there on out, it was all North Dakota. The Fighting Hawks came in waves; they scored three goals in the second period and three more goals in the third period.

A majority of the highlights came from the forward line of Shane Gersich, Austin Poganski and Gardner. They carried the load for the Fighting Hawks combining for three goals and eight points.

After the game, head coach Brad Berry was pleased with his team’s performance.

“(It was) vastly different from last night,” he said. “I told our guys after the game that we have to remember both games. What it takes to win a game in a tough league. After last night, we know a game can get away from us. Obviously, this is going to be in the back of our mind.”

A Night of Firsts

It was a night of firsts. Sophomore defenseman Andrew Peski scored his first goal of his collegiate career. Freshman goalie Peter Thome recorded his first ever collegiate shutout. Finally, UND scored seven goals for the first time this season.

After Friday’s game, head coach Brad Berry said there would be line up changes coming on Saturday. Boy, he wasn’t kidding. On Saturday, the head coach sent a message to his team.

“I want to start by saying that the reason we lost the game last night wasn’t because of Cam Johnson,” Berry said. “He’s been a rock for us his whole career here. We didn’t play well in front of him and saying that he’s part of our group.  We wanted to makes changes to give guys an opportunity and that’s what we do – to hold guys accountable. We made a couple of changes in our lineup in the forward positions and we switched our d-man around a little bit and guys responded.”

In a matter of one game, the defensive-minded Peski doubled his season points total, scoring a goal and two points. It was also the first multi-point game of Peski’s career.

Peski was all smiles after the game.

“It’s been a long time,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for the one for a long, long, time. I’ve probably gone through every scenario in my head on how I was going to get it. It finally went in and it was good. It was good to see that the boys were happy. It was pretty compelling to see.”

With the win, UND is tied for first place with St. Cloud State. The Huskies do have two games in hand. UND improves to 11-6-5, 6-4-2 NCHC. Next weekend, the Hawks play the Bemidji State Beavers in a home and home non-conference series.

About The Author

College Hockey Writer, Contributing Editor

Eric Burton is a 1996, 1999 graduate of the University of North Dakota. Eric covers college hockey and the University of North Dakota for Inside Hockey. Eric is the editor of the SIN BIN. Lastly, Eric was the college hockey writer for The Hockey Writers.

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