Grand Forks, ND – Early in the 2019-20 season, the University of North Dakota hockey team has struggled mightily on the power play. Entering Friday’s game, the Fighting Hawks hadn’t scored a power play goal since the first game of the Mankato series (October 18, 2019). So, moving forward, there was a lot of room for improvement.
Before Friday’s game against the Miami University, UND was ranked 49th nationally on the power play 2-25 (8%). Against the RedHawks, the Hawks broke that horrendous streak, scoring two power play markers in the first period.
Night of Firsts
At the 14:14 mark of the first period, the Fighting Hawks would draw first blood on the power play with a goal from sophomore defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker, that was his first goal of the season. Less than a minute later, sophomore forward Jasper Weatherby would score on the power play to make it 2-0. Another player scoring his first goal of the season. Do you see a trend developing here? The Hawks weren’t done. At the 16:16 mark of the first period, Collin Adams would put one past Ryan Larkin to cap a three-goal first period. That was three goals in 2:02.
In the second period, the Hawks kept their foot on the gas putting three more goals in the twine before seven minutes had elapsed. At the 2:07 mark of the second period, Dixon Bowen scored his fourth goal of the season. Three minutes and 27 seconds later, sophomore defenseman Jonny Tychonic would score his first of two goals to chase the RedHawks goalie Larkin.
Enter RedHawks junior goalie Grant Valentine. Unfortunately, he didn’t fare much better. Thirty-three seconds later, Tychonick welcomed Valentine by scoring his second goal of the period. Make that 6-0 UND. It was a breakout game for Tychonick. After scoring one goal in the first 33 games, Tychonic scored his next two goals in 33 seconds. It was a statement game for Tychonick.
“I think for me personally, it’s a step in the right direction, Tychonick said. “I’ve worked hard this summer. I’m trying to lead it to pay off is the type of thing that I’m looking at. I’m trying to do everything that I can the right way. I’ve been doing lots of video with the coaches and they’ve really helped me kind of develop this year.”
“Probably moving pucks sufficiently, head coach Brad Berry said. “Jumping up with the play at the right times. Getting pucks on the net like he did tonight. He provides an element of offense; it’s so tough to score five-on-five with just your forwards. You have to have your D jumping up on the plane. I think he does a good job of adding offense from the back end off rushes.”
Hawks Keep Pressing
In the third period, the Hawks kept their foot on the gas. At the 2:20 mark of the third period, senior forward Westin Michaud would score his fourth goal of the season with a beautiful shot from the left faceoff dot that caught the upper right corner of the RedHawks net. To quote Rick Jeanneret, “that goal was upstairs where momma keeps the cookies.” Before public address announcer, Darrin Looker could finish announcing his goal, the RedHawks forward Noah Jordan would sneak one past Fighting Hawks goalie Adam Scheel to break up his shutout bid.
Protect Home Ice
Earlier this season, junior defenseman Gabe Bast said. “This year, we’re really trying to establish a swagger to our group and play with confidence every night and just believe in ourselves that we can get the job done.”
This season the Hawks players have embraced that philosophy making the Ralph a tough place to play. With the 7-1 win, UND has won eight straight games at home dating back to last season.
“I think it starts with the fan base,” junior defenseman Matt Kiersted said. “They’re, unbelievable and it’s so much fun playing at the Ralph. You’ve got have 10 and a half thousand (fans) a night. That’s a great atmosphere. They’re all engaged, and it really kind of feeds into our energy. So, that’s really important is that because that crowd and that kind of gives us like I said that energy does keep winning, and keep playing the right way.”