The Sports Daily > Goonsworld Blog
Rhett Gardner and a Season in Jeopardy

By now, you’ve probably heard that University of North Dakota hockey team’s historic 15-year run is in jeopardy. During that 15-year run, UND has won at least 20 games each year. Hosted a  first-round playoff series, and won a first-round playoff series. Finally, during the 15-year run, UND has made the NCAA tourney every year. This weekend, that streak is in jeopardy of ending if UND doesn’t get four of six points. There’s no time like the present.

UND forward Rhett Gardner (Photo Credit: Russ Hons UNDSports.com)

Earlier this week, I posted this. While some want to look at Gardner’s PIMs, look at the other things that he does on the ice.

Rhett is a big heavy forward that plays the game the right way. He’s strong on pucks and great in the faceoff dot. He’s one of the leaders of this team. Finally, Rhett does a lot of things that don’t show up on the scoresheet.

As you probably know, Gardner is one UND’s best two-way forwards on the team. Moreover, the Fighting Hawks haven’t won a game when Gardner is missing from the lineup. Before his latest injury, he had incredible chemistry with Shane Gersich and Austin Poganski. That’s not blatant homerism, that’s the truth. I can back it up with statistics, too. Without Gardner in the lineup, UND is 0-3-4. During the second half of the season, Gardner has won 116 of 183 faceoffs (.634).

This season’s team has been starved for offense. The Fighting Hawks are ranked 29th in the nation in goal scoring and are averaging 2.88 goals per game. They’ve also lacked secondary scoring. Defensively, they’re ranked 13th in the nation in defense giving up 2.41 goals per game. (Link to stats)

Finally,  I decided to take a look at the statistics. I broke it down by the first half and second half.

Here are the players’ statistics for the second half of the season. Check out the improvement of Jordan Kawaguchi.


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