On Friday night, the University of North Dakota hockey team was on the wrong side of a 7-4 loss. During the first six minutes of the game, UND was the better team. They raced to a 2-1 lead with goals from Collin Adams and Zach Yon.
Then the 6:55 mark of the first period, senior forward Rhett Gardner was assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for checking from behind. The ensuing power play led to a power-play goal by the Mavericks, tying the game at two. After Gardner’s major penalty, it was all downhill for the Hawks.
“We took a five-minute major which took us out of the game,” head coach Brad Berry said. “Which took one of our better players out of the game. That put us on our heels a little bit. It was the start we wanted but not the result we wanted.”
Last night, I thought UND’s effort was good. They came out and played on their toes. They carried the pace. Gardner’s major penalty was a buzzkill.
After falling behind in the second period, UND didn’t give up. They kept skating. If they can clean a few things up. They’re going to be just fine. If they keep playing hard, they’re going to win a lot of games. This isn’t a bunch of untalented hacks.
Perusing Twitter and Facebook this morning, the UND hockey fan base is unhappy. They’re not used to mediocre results. I can tell you that head coach Brad Berry wasn’t very happy after last night’s game.
Tighten up on Defense
When it was all said and done, there was plenty of blame to go around. The Hawks need to tighten up on defense. Last night, UND gave up 6 goals on 21 shots. UND also gave up an empty net goal during the waning minutes of the game. Both goalies combined were 15/20 (.750). You’re not going to win a lot of games with goaltending and defense like that. This isn’t all on the goalies, either. Defense is a 200-foot game.
“Some guys were trying to create offense and there were a couple of pinches where they got around us, sophomore defenseman Matt Kiersted said. “In the D zone, we have to lock out the front of our net.”
“Our D zone, odd-man rushes that kind of stuff killed us,” sophomore forward Jordan Kawaguchi said. “We have to clean that up before we look at offense.”
“I think if we keep shooting the puck it will come,” Kiersted said. “We have to start hitting our spots and crashing the net for rebounds and I think that will pan out.”