Grand Forks, ND – The University of North Dakota hockey team is famous for its second half surges. After a 4-1 loss on Friday night to the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, that surge will have to wait, at least for another day.
I know it sounds cliché, but the Bulldogs played a perfect road game on Friday night. The Bulldogs were tenacious and gave UMD little room to roam. UMD also beat UND to the loose pucks and out worked top-ranked UND up and down the ice.
The only area that UND was better than UMD on Friday night was in the faceoff dot, UND went 35-18.
UND wasted an outstanding effort from their starting goaltender Zane McIntyre who stopped 33-of-36 shots. Many of his saves were of the difficult variety. Head coach Dave Hakstol seemed impressed with the play of his starting goaltender.
“He was outstanding,” coach Hakstol said. “He has been great for us all year. He did a great job for us tonight. He gave us a chance to be in it down the stretch. Unfortunately, we didn’t do enough to take advantage of that.”
The game was tied after one period of play. The Dogs would take a 1-0 lead into the second intermission with a goal from Kyle Osterberg.
UND would finally tie the game at the 10:03 mark of the third period with a goal from Connor Gaarder. The game was tied for 1 minute and 7 seconds. The Bulldogs would take the lead for good, scoring back-to-back goals by Tony Cameranesi and Carson Soucy to ice the game.
“They played well,” Haskstol said. It was a hard-fought game – they made more plays. I thought they turned the momentum of the hockey game in the second period, especially after they scored their first goal.
After the game, senior defenseman Connor Gaarder offered a level headed perspective.
“Duluth is a good team, Gaarder said. “We have to come out a little – play a little faster – close a little bit quicker in our D-zone. I think everything kind of fell out of place there and I think we have to play a little better defensively tomorrow night.”
Sophomore defenseman Gage Ausmus echoed Gaarder’s sentiments.
“I thought it was a fast paced game,” Ausmus said. “Chances both ways, and they had a little chances than us. Little more shots and I think they capitalized a little more than we did.
When asked what it will take to get the win on Saturday night. Ausmus gave his game plan for success.
“We have to get pucks deep,” Ausmus said. “(We have to) be more sharp in the neutral zone with our pucks and grind them down low. Get some cycles going and generate the momentum that way.”
Both UND and UMD also had a goal waved off due to goalie interference. In both instances, it appeared that the officials got the call right.
With loss, UND drops to (13-5-2 and 6-4-1 NCHC). With the win, UMD improves to (13-6-0, 8-3 NCHC). Duluth will attempt to get their first series sweep of UND in Grand Forks since January 27-28, 1995.
The same two teams play tonight at 7:07.