The 2021 college hockey season is quickly winding down, and the University of North Dakota is closing in on another National Collegiate Hockey Conference title. After beating the Omaha Mavericks 4-1 on Friday night, the Fighting Hawks are in the driver’s seat for winning a second consecutive Penrose Cup.
Here are the standings. The top three teams in the NCHC have all played 21 games, and UND leads second-place St. Cloud by seven points. The Hawks are eight-point clear of third-place Minnesota-Duluth. With a win on Saturday, they will wrap up a second straight Penrose Cup and the program’s fourth overall.
Adam Scheel Returns to the Lineup
After missing last Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury, junior goalie Adam Scheel was back between the pipes on Friday night for the Fighting Hawks. Against the Omaha Mavericks, Scheel was outstanding stopping 24-of-25 shots and helping UND win their 16th game of the season. With the win, UND is 16-4-1 (.785).
It wasn’t an easy win by any means. UND started slowly in the first period and gained momentum as the game progressed. Scheel was sharp all game and made some big saves while the Mavericks were pressing hard on the power play in the first period.
“He had to make some tough saves early in the first,” head coach Brad Berry said. “They had a power play. They were zipping around a little bit. He had to make some key saves, at key times. An unfortunate bounce on the goal against, but you know it’s a situation where it is what it is. He played a solid 60-minute game and that’s what he’s been doing consistently throughout the year. He’s done a good job of preparing for each and every game.”
With a win on Saturday, UND will clinch at least a share of the Penrose Cup. It won’t be easy, however, the Fighting Hawks are 25-1 in the last 26 games they’ve played in the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
“It’s not going to come easy tomorrow,” Berry said. “We’re playing a team that’s 5-0 in back-to-back games this year, they haven’t lost in their second of a back-to-back. I firmly believe our guys are going to be excited, and you have an opportunity to do that at home in front of our fans. It’s going to be a hard-fought battle; we know that going in. It’s going to be a situation where we’re going to have to play our best game to get a win tomorrow.”
Jasper Weatherby Red-Hot
Junior forward Jasper Weatherby has been on a hot streak. Currently, he’s on a five-game goal-scoring streak. In the last five games, the Ashland, Oregon native has scored six goals and seven points. Weatherby now has eight goals and 12 points. Finally, Weatherby has made the most of his shots scoring on 17.7% of them.
Here are a few stats that I got the game notes: this season, UND is 5-0 at home and outscoring their opponents 21-4. UND is getting balanced scoring, 11 different scorers have contributed to that 21-goal total. Sophomore forward Shane Pinto has scored (6g-1a–7pts) at home. Senior forward Collin Adams has scored (2g-5a–7pts). Adam Scheel has been impressive at home, (4-0-0, 0.50 GAA and a .978 save percentage), and 2 shutouts.
UND and UNO play game two of the series at 6:07 PM Saturday night.