Grand Forks, ND – Coming into Friday’s game between the University of North Dakota and St. Cloud State, the Fighting Hawks had lost three of the last four games they played in the friendly confines of Ralph Engelstad Arena.
On Friday night, the Huskies entered the Ralph, looking to score some goals. Earlier in the season, the Hawks had shutout (4-0 W, 3-0 W) the Huskies in back-to-back games at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
Unfortunately, the shutout streak would come to an end. The Huskies would get on the board first at the 11:25 mark of the first period with a goal from former Grand Forks, Red River Riders forward Jacob Benson. While behind the goal line, Benson found a little daylight and shot the puck over UND goalie Matt Hrynkiw, 1-0 Huskies.
After 131:25 minutes the Huskies finally put a puck in the UND net. It didn’t take the Huskies long to get their second goal. At the 06:05 mark of the second period, Huskies defenseman Jimmy Schuldt would blast one from the top of the circle to give SCSU a 2-0 lead.
After going scoreless in five periods of play, the Hawks would finally find the twine with a goal from junior defenseman Tucker Poolman at the 08:16 mark of the third period. That was all the closer UND would get. Huskies forward Ryan Poehling would ice the game 28 seconds later to make it 3-1 Huskies.
We Have to Create Our Own Breaks
Things are beginning to feel a little toxic for the home team. Entering the second intermission of Friday’s game, UND has gone nine periods without a lead entering an intermission. That’s isn’t the only thing that ails the Hawks. Another streak has begun to creep into the equation. UND is suffering from a goal outage. The Hawks have scored a total of 6 goals in the last nine periods of play. In two of those games, the Hawks were shutout.
Rough patch aside, the players and the coaching staff aren’t panicking, but they know there’s little room for mistakes.
“You have to find a way to dig yourself out,” UND head coach Brad Berry said. “Things aren’t going to the right way for us,. Only the players and the staff in the locker room can do it. We have to come to work tomorrow and find a way to dig ourselves out.”
The players know what they’ve got to do. They’re not giving up on the season, and they’re going to keep plugging away.
“I think we’re snake-bitten a little bit,” senior captain Gage Ausmus said. “The goals aren’t coming. We’re not getting the bounces we want. I think even at C.C. Saturday night, I thought we played well enough to win. I thought we played well enough to win this game tonight. That’s just the way hockey goes and they (the Huskies) got the bounces in this game.”
Coach Berry saw it a little differently, “We have to create our own breaks, he said. “Some goals are going in at inopportune times, in unconventional ways in our net. We’re not getting the bounces going that way, but you create your own bounces. We’ve got to get back to work and make sure that we come out on the right end.”
While we’re talking about streaks. After being held pointless in Friday’s game, All-American sophomore forward Brock Boeser has a six-game pointless streak. Boeser hasn’t scored since the second game of the Nebraska-Omaha series.
Even more disappointing for UND fans, in the last 11 games they’ve played at Engelstad Arena, the Hawks are 2-7-2. They’ve also lost three games in a row. With another loss on home ice, 11,682 fans went home disappointed and looking for answers. With the 3-1 loss, UND drops to 14-11-3. At home, UND is 7-7-2 at home and 7-4-1 on the road. Since starting the season 5-0-0 at home, UND has gone 2-7-2.
With the loss, UND drops to 12th in the Pairwise Rankings.
The Huskies will try to even the season series tomorrow night. Game time is 7:00 pm CT.