The University of North Dakota men’s hockey team finished out the regular season with a 3-2 overtime loss to Omaha. Spoiling what could’ve been a fabulous evening.
It was evident that UND was little sleepy to start the game. There’s not a lot that can be said about Friday’s game, it wasn’t very exciting. It resembled a first-round NCAA playoff game. One team had more to play for than the other. The first period, both teams looked a little flat. UND would outshot the Mavericks 6-3. A ho-hum 0-0 tie after one period of play.
During the second period, the Mavericks scored two quick goals from forwards Kevin Conley, and Chayse Primeau 14 seconds apart to give the Mavericks a 2-0 lead.
Later in the second period, the Hawks started to pick up the momentum. At the 14:01 mark of the second period, senior forward Jackson Keane scored his second goal of the season to give UND life. Linemates Louis Jamernik, Harrison Blaisdell pick up assists.
Fifteen seconds into the third period, senior forward Jordan Kawaguchi scored on a tip-in goal to tie the game. Linemates Collin Adams and Jasper Weatherby added an assist. With the assist, Weatherby extended his post streak to eight games (8g-5a—13pts).
The Mavericks entered Friday’s game fighting for their playoff life, and they spoiled senior night for the Fighting Hawks. Ironically, it was only the second time in the last 28 home games (or 420 days) UND has lost in the friendly confines of Ralph Engelstad Arena. Both losses were to the Mavericks.
If you play a team enough times, they’re going to beat you. This season, the Hawks and Mavericks have played six times. For the most part, the Hawks have dominated them, going 4-2-0 (.666) against them. UND has outscored them 27-14. This was the Hawks first loss in five games. With the loss, UND falls to 18-5-1 (.770). UND’s going to be one of the top seeds in the NCAA tourney. Yes, UND wanted to win this game, but it didn’t happen.
I updated the numbers, for those keeping track at home: UND and UNO have played each other 43 times, UND owns a 27-15-1 (.639) record against the Mavericks. This season, UND is 4-2-0 (.750) against the Mavericks and 6-4-0 in the last 10 games against them.
Sending off the Seniors
After the game, UND honored the following seniors: Collin Adams, Gabe Bast, Jordan Kawaguchi, Jackson Keane, Matt Kiersted, Grant Mismash, Josh Rieger, and Peter Thome.
For the UND players from Canada, it’s a little tougher, because of Covid-19, some of them haven’t seen their parents in a very long time. Senior forward Jackson Keane’s parents got to see him score UND’s first goal of the game.
“It’s nice,” Keane said. “My parents got to come down. I haven’t seen them since June when I got down here for summer training. So, it was nice to get one in front of them and to be a part of a special night regardless of the outcome. It’s a great group of guys that welcomed me with open arms. I wasn’t here for their freshman year. So, I was kind of looking up to them, and building a relationship, and to be a part of the night was pretty special.”
“It’s a little emotional knowing that it’s the last regular season game, were playing in the Ralph,” senior captain Jordan Kawaguchi said. “It’s emotional. It’s nice to get a goal on senior night and it would have been nice to get the win. It is what it is.”
For UND, the plan moving forward is pretty simple.
“We got to make sure that we’re dialed in here next week, to bring our best in the playoff tournament here, and then the NCAAs in a couple of weeks from now,” head coach Brad Berry said.” So, we’ll have a good week of practice, get sharp and turn the page and get moving for the next box we need to check.”