Grand Forks, ND – On Friday night, the University of North Dakota hockey team wasn’t in a great mood after losing 5-1 to the Minnesota Gophers. Saturday was a new day, they got up, returned to the rink, and went to work. Game days after a loss aren’t a lot of fun, on Saturday it was all business.
“We come in the morning and try to forget about yesterday, but we obviously look at what we did and try to learn from that,” Gavin Hain said. “We know we have a job to do.”
After Friday’s loss, senior captain Mark Senden was very frank about his team’s effort.
“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.”
On Saturday, the Hawks rediscovered their identity. It appears that Senden took the loss personally. From his first shift, till the final whistle, Senden was one of UND’s better players. He assisted on UND’s first goal, scored the second goal and the game-winning goal to lead the Fighting Hawks past the Gophers.
“Again, another tough day, team meetings, group meetings, individual meetings,” head coach Brad Berry said. “There were a lot of accountability things going on today. That’s a guy that steps up in the forefront. Hey, I’m going to lead this team the right way on the ice, and he did, scoring a couple of goals tonight was huge. I can’t say enough about his leadership.”
During the course of his four-year career, Senden hasn’t had a lot of games where he’s scored three or more points. He’s done it three times. His last multi-point game came on came on January 18, 2021, against the Denver Pioneers (four assists). UND is 3-0-0 when Senden scores three or more points. During his four seasons at UND, Senden has played In 112 games, scoring 17 goals and 46 points, he’s also a plus-30.
“Senden does everything for us,” Berry said. “Five-on-five, 4-on-4, 6-on-5 top, 6-on-5 down, he’s in the middle of it. When he’s impactful in a situation when you’re scoring a couple of goals, it only exponentially increases his value and guys listen.”
“He was game for us,” defenseman Cooper Moore said. “He’s our captain, he brings us into battle every single day. Great to see him put it in the back of the net twice tonight. Good to see him rolling like that.”
The Fighting Hawks kept the Gophers off of the scoreboard until the 7:35 mark of the third period when Gophers forward Ben Meyers scored his fifth goal of the season. At the 16:30 mark of the third period, the Gophers would get within one when freshman forward Chaz Lucius scored his third goal of the season. That was all the closer the Gophers would get. The Fighting would hold on to get the split and a 3-2 victory.
On Saturday night, UND had a much better effort in all three zones. They played disciplined, smart hockey, taking two minor penalties. On defense, the Hawks were very stingy holding the Gophers to 13 shots on goal.
With the win, UND improves to 10-5-0. With the loss, UMN drops to 9-7-0.
Next weekend, UND travels to St. Cloud to take on the Huskies in a pivotal two-game NCHC series.