Grand Forks, ND – Sweeps don’t come easy in division I college hockey. You can’t take a night off against anyone, from any league. Have a couple of bad periods and the game can get away from you. Saturday, the University of North Dakota was looking for a sweep against non-conference foe Canisius College.
Friday’s win appeared to come easily as the Fighting Hawks exerted their will against the Golden Griffins early and often and won 6-0.
Saturday was a different story. At times, the Fighting Hawks looked a step slow and out of sync. UND looked more like the team that been beaten 6-0, and not the team that won 6-0.
For a period and a half of play, the Hawks trailed the Golden Griffin’s 1-0 with a goal from forward Nick Hutchinson. Suddenly, in the second period, the Golden Griffins got into penalty trouble and started a parade to the penalty box. In a matter of 3:35 the Fighting Hawks fortunes changed, the home team scored two power play goals by Ludvig Hoff and Tucker Poolman to take a 2-1 lead. From there, the Fighting Hawks took over the game.
Early season non-conference games give coaching staffs a chance to work out the kinks and evaluate personnel in game situations.
“Tonight game is a learning lesson for us and how tough it is to win two games,” head coach Brad Berry said. “We talked about it all day today – about winning the first one and again how tough it is with a team that’s hungry to get back in the win column.
“Again, our first period we weren’t as sharp as we could be. We had a two-on-one (against) to start the game, on the very first shift. We had too many men on the ice. We weren’t sharp in all different areas. Finally, in the second period, I thought we gained some traction with a couple of power plays. Finally, we got some pucks to the net, with a good net front. I thought the last 30 minutes were better than the first 30 minutes.”
The Fighting Hawks got stronger as the game went on, and would go on to win game two of the series 4-1.
From the interesting statistics department: despite experiencing some trouble on offense during Saturday’s game, one of UND’s bright spots was the play of their defense. The Fighting Hawks blue line limited the Golden Griffins to 11 shots on net. That’s not a misprint, the Golden Griffins put a grand total of 11 shots on goal, that was the fewest shots on goal allowed by UND since March 16, 2008, against Michigan Tech Huskies. (Game 3, WCHA First Round). For comparison sake, Fighting Hawks junior forward Austin Poganski scored a goal and put 11 shots on the Golden Griffins net.
All-time, UND is 7-0-0 against the Golden Griffins. In seven games against the Golden Griffins, UND has outscored them 41-5.