Grand Forks, ND – Nothing like a game between two old friends.
Entering Friday’s game, the University of North Dakota hockey team had a fair amount of success against the University of Minnesota. Recently, they’d had the upper hand in the series. In the last four games against the Gophers, the Fighting Hawks had won four straight games by a combined score of 19-6.
On Friday night, none of that mattered. Early on, the Fighting Hawks were the better team. They came out with pace and were the dominant team, then UND took a minor penalty and it all changed. At the 11:20 mark of the first period, UND took a penalty and it seemed to give the Gophers some momentum. UND was on the verge of killing that penalty when Gophers forward Bryce Brodzinski scored the first of his two goals with six seconds remaining on the man advantage.
“I thought, we were right there at the beginning — first couple shifts,” head coach Brad Berry said. “I thought it was good, and then it kind of turned the other way in the first period. We did have a push in the third but was too late. We’ve got to make sure that that happens in the first period. We have to be a lot better tomorrow, and to a man, we have to make sure that we have guys coming back to fulfill their roles and do their jobs to the best of their capability to win a game.”
It wasn’t a good night for UND. The Fighting Hawks who’ve been batting Influenza A the past two weeks looked a step slow and out of sync. UND also lacked discipline when they needed it the most. For the third time in the last six games, UND again took an ill-advised five-minute and a game misconduct. The guilty party, Tyler Kleven. That was his second game misconduct of the season. If Kleven gets another game misconduct, he will get an automatic one-game suspension.
It’s a recurring theme this season. After the game, coach Berry wasn’t pleased with the undisciplined play.
“We talked about the major at length,” Berry said. Getting back to the first one, we had a kill going on and what’s really deflating is there were 12 seconds left with a d-zone face-off, and we give up one with six seconds left on our doorstep. That’s deflating a little bit, but the five-minute major for sure. We addressed in the locker room, here again, it’s you know, we can’t have that going on with the five-minute majors is tough enough to kill two-minute minor penalties against good teams, let alone five-minute majors. Until we get that through our minds it’s not going to be a good situation for us.”
Not Good Enough
“Not good enough,” Berry said. “Not good enough. Hats off to them. They played a good game, a good road game. We didn’t play a very good game at all, to a man.”
“I think we were kind of getting away from who we are,” captain Mark Senden said. “We just got to get pucks deep. We were trying, maybe, to make one too many plays. We’ve got to keep it simple. That’s what’s been working for us.”
“We had a decent start again, nothing great,” Gavin Hain said. “I think they just got confidence. We weren’t doing what we needed to do. I think they just started to get some confidence and they ended up outplaying us.”
The Gophers got one in the first, two in the second, and two in the third period. UND forward Riese Gaber broke through with a goal in the third period, to ruin Jack Fontaine’s shutout bid.
With the loss, UND drops to 9-5-0, with the win, UMN improves to 9-6-0. Same two teams tonight.