On Friday night, after losing to the Bulldogs on home ice, University of North Dakota senior forward Connor 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.”
It would appear that the UND hockey team took Gaarder’s words to heart. UND came out, pushed the pace and raced past the UMD Bulldogs for a 5-2 victory.
For the second game in a row, UND would give up the first goal of the game. In response, UND would score four unanswered goals.
Leading the way for UND, was senior forward Brendan O’Donnell who scored a hat-trick.
After going pointless in three games, O’Donnell scored a goal in each period and helped lead UND to a much needed series split against the Bulldogs.
“It was a good bounce back win,” O’Donnell said. “Coming off last night’s game; definitely not the result we wanted and the effort we wanted. I thought tonight we came out and played hard, we played good, and we played the way we need to play to get wins. That’s the way we need to play consistently.”
The soft spoken O’Donnell credited his teammates for his success on the ice.
“The biggest thing was getting the win,” O’Donnell said. “I think I benefited from a few great plays there. I think Gordy (Gaarder) on the second one there, he probably could have scored himself, but he gave it to me for the tap in. On the first one, Tommer (Keaton Thompson) made a great cross ice play. On the last one, Luke Johnson just won a battle, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”
After the hard fought win, UND head coach Dave Hakstol was pleased with his team’s play.
“We did everything a little bit better,” Hakstol said. “It was a good level of play. I thought everybody played the right way – we played hard – pretty simple.”
UND captain Stephane Pattyn echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“I think everybody committed to playing a hard game,” UND captain Stephane Pattyn said. “I thought we played a little soft yesterday.”
After being outskated for most of the first game, UND came out and pushed the pace against the speedy Bulldogs. UND also played a more physical game and beat UMD to the pucks most of the night.
UND junior goalie Zane McIntyre continued his torrid play in net. The junior goalie stopped numerous UMD scoring chances in the second and third period. Many of these shots were grade “A” scoring chances.
With the win, UND improves to (14-5-3, 7-4-1 NCHC). With the loss, UMD drops to (13-7-0, 8-4-0 NCHC).
Next weekend, UND finishes its non-conference schedule with a home series against the Niagara Purple Eagles (3-15-2, 3-11-2 AHA). Niagara is winless in their last eight games (0-6-2).
Interesting Game Stats
Four of UND’s six goals this past weekend were scored by the fourth line. Gaarder (X1), and O’Donnell (X3).
UND has split NCHC series with Miami, St. Cloud, Denver, UMD.
UND is 10-0-1 on Saturday nights.
UND is 2-4-0 when giving up three or more goals.
UND is 13-0-0 when scoring three or more goals.