Prior to the current 10-game slide at home, the University of North Dakota was 31-2-2 in their previous 35 home games. That record is astounding, especially, with some of the visiting teams that have played there. Now, the Ralph has become a house of horrors.
Losing at home doesn’t sit well with the Fighting Hawks players. Moreover, they know there are certain expectations when you play for UND. Losing isn’t tolerated and winning titles is expected. Earlier in the season after a loss at home, sophomore defenseman Christian Wolanin said it best.
“We’re the University of North Dakota,” Wolanin said. “That’s what’s expected, excellence or nothing. We’ve got ourselves to believe in.”
This season, a common theme has emerged, many of the Hawks players have expressed their frustration about not being able to close out games at home. A few have suggested that it’s easier to play on the road than it is at home.
“Obviously, it’s frustrating, no one wants to lose hockey games,” sophomore forward Shane Gersich said.” We play in front of 12,000 people cheering for us. It’s frustrating when we lose games and we have to learn from this right now.”
Junior forward Simonson echoed his teammate’s sentiments.
“We take pride at home winning in front of our home fans in this beautiful rink,” Simonson said. “It’s definitely an advantage and it’s too bad we don’t have a better record. We take that to heart and we know that we’re going to come out with a better push tomorrow night.”
Recently, senior captain, Gage Ausmus wasn’t very happy after a loss at home against the Miami RedHawks.
“I think we feel more comfortable here, and feel like we have the upper hand when we really don’t,” Ausmus said. “We have to go into every game willing to work and willing to outwork the other team for every inch on the ice and I don’t think we did that tonight.”
Recently, in an interview with All-American Goalie Cam Johnson, he was quick to point out the differences of playing at home and on the road.
“It’s way easier to play on the road, especially, this year,” Johnson said. “Obviously, with our struggles, I think maybe some guys get a little intimidated with the Ralph. We have amazing fans, we have some really, great fans. There are obviously just those few (fans) that like to single out players and maybe it can get in some guy’s heads. When you play on the road, you’re just kind of care-free. You just go in there and want to win games.”