Grand Forks, ND – Winning is the best revenge.
Saturday night, the University of North Dakota hockey team was in a foul mood. A night earlier, late in the third period, Huskies captain Jimmy Schuldt hit sophomore forward Grant Mismash with a knee-on-knee check, injuring the talented sophomore forward. Schuldt wasn’t penalized on the play and Mismash had to be helped off the ice by his teammates, his season in question.
Needless to say, head coach Brad Berry was unhappy with the call.
“I think what really fired us up was (the hit on) Mishmash,” Berry said. “That play probably ended his season. We took it to heart and we felt we got slighted there a little bit and guys are prideful. That’s one thing at North Dakota. We’re a team-first mentality here and our guys wear their hearts on their sleeves tonight for him.”
On Saturday morning, the league reviewed the play and decided against suspending Schuldt. That didn’t sit well with some in Grand Forks.
The UND hockey team moved forward. The mission was clear: get the win. Play disciplined hockey. No unnecessary penalties. Limit the Huskies power play opportunities.
Entering Saturday’s rematch, the fans were expecting fireworks. History said that they were right. Would the Hawks get their revenge? To the surprise of many, through the first 45 minutes of the game, nothing happened. Hardly a post-whistle scrum. The Fighting Hawks players barely looked Schuldt’s way. For the most part, they left him alone. UND played extremely disciplined hockey and didn’t take a single minor penalty.
In the end, that was the best path forward, the Hawks scored one in the first, two in the second and two in the third period to ice the top-ranked Huskies.
Enter the final 4:24 of the game. There was a parade to the penalty box. Things got a little testy. Pushing and shoving followed after every whistle. After securing the win, UND took care of the business. In the final moments, UND was whistled for six minor penalties and 10-minute misconduct penalty. Message sent.
— Michelle S (@MilynneS) January 27, 2019
Playing disciplined hockey was the right path forward. With the league not suspending Schuldt, this could’ve gotten ugly, but it didn’t. In the end, winning was the best revenge.
“There was a message there, before the game,” Berry said “It was: ‘Hey, the first thing that we have to do is win the game. I know we’re mad, and we’re pissed off. But we have to make sure that we keep our emotions in check to get the job done at hand.’ And then after, we can do what we do. But we got the win and I thought we did a good job of being disciplined.”
Check. Disciplined hockey it was.
“We came together this morning and talked about it,” Dixon Bowen said. “Just put yesterday behind us and come out today and just have fun and that’s what we did. I thought the biggest key was staying disciplined. Keeping them off the PP and we did that and got a couple good bounces and got the W.”
If anything, the Schuldt hit fired up the Hawks. They played with an edge and weren’t going to lose.
“Yeah, I think we played a little more tenacity tonight and with a chip on our shoulder and playing more physical and that’s how we got to play the rest of way, Bowen said. “It’s playoff hockey now, and every game matters.”
Finding Secondary Scoring
One of the remarkable things about Saturday’s win, UND scored five goals and the top line of Jordan Kawaguchi, Rhett Gardner and Nick Jones were held pointless. That’s not a misprint, they failed to record a single point on the score sheet. While the Huskies were able to contain the Hawks top line, they failed to stop the second and third lines.
Over the past two weekends, UND has gotten secondary scoring from unexpected sources. While the first line has been kept in check other lines have started to chip in points.
Last weekend, against the Omaha Mavericks, the fourth line of Jackson Keane (1g-3a—4pts), Jasper Weatherby (1g-1a—2pts), Dixon Bowen (0g-2a—2pts) combined for eight points. For comparison sake, UND’s fourth line outscored the top line of Ludvig Hoff (0g-1a—1pt), Nick Jones (1g-0a—1pts), Jordan Kawaguchi (1g-0a—1pt). For those keeping track, that’s eight points to their three.
This past weekend, forward line of Gavin Hain (2g-0a—2pts), Mark Senden (1g-1a—2pts), Cole Smith (0g-1a—1pts) outscored UND’s top line of Jordan Kawaguchi (0-1a—1pt), Rhett Gardner (0g-0a—0pts), Nick Jones (1g-0a—1pt). For comparison sake, that’s five points to their two.
During the first sixteen games that he played in, Bowen scored a single goal. In the last five games, he’s scored (3g-2a—5pts) in the last five games.
Other players are beginning to contribute on the score sheet.
“Well, that’s what you need to win games against good teams,” Berry said. “I think that line that you just mentioned with Gardener, Kawaguchi, and Jones they’re going to score. They’re going to get their chances to score. I think they had some good chances tonight; five on five and on the power play, but it takes the heat off them a little bit when you got guys that can do that. You look at Weatherby, Keane and Bowen’s line they contributed tonight, too. You need everybody to contribute to have a chance to win against good teams.”
With the win, UND improves to 13-11-1, 7-7-0 NCHC. With the loss, SCSU drops to 18-4-2, 10-2-2 NCHC. UND stopped a five-game winless streak against the Huskies and is now 2-5-1 against the SCSU in the last eight games. This week, the Hawks travel to Denver to take on the Pioneers in a crucial two-game conference tilt.