After being swept by the Canisius College of Atlantic Hockey Association, the University of North Dakota is in serious jeopardy of missing the NCAA playoffs for the second season in a row. Let’s take a closer look at what ails the Fighting Hawks.
The Fighting Hawks are starving for offense. After 19 games, their top point-getter, sophomore forward Jordan Kawaguchi, has three goals and 12 points. That’s an average of .63 points per game.
The next two players are defensemen Jacob Bernard-Docker (4g-7a—11pts), Matt Kiersted (4g-6a—10pts). Finding primary and secondary scoring has been an issue. The Fighting Hawks are outshooting the opposition 596-408, but are only scoring on seven percent of their shots (46/596).
During the offseason, the Dallas Stars wanted to sign forward Rhett Gardner. Instead, the senior from Moose Jaw, Sask. returned to the Fighting Hawks. Gardner is the team’s leading goal scorer with eight markers. Unfortunately, he’s been held scoreless in the last six games.
During the first half of the season, no one has stood out consistently on a regular basis. Top point getter Kawaguchi has one point in the last four games.
In his second season, sophomore forward Grant Mismash (5g-4a—9pts) was expected to make a bigger contribution on the score sheet. At times, Mismash has been invisible and looked disinterested, he’s scored one goal in the last four games.
On the positive side, after missing seven games due to a lower-body injury, senior forward Nick Jones has three points in the last four games.
How bad is it? Nationally, UND is ranked 48th nationally in offense and 18th defensively. They’re averaging 2.42 goals per game and giving up 2.47 goals per game. If UND could average an extra goal a game, they’d win more games.
Not so Special Teams
Historically, special teams have been the strength of the UND hockey team. Currently, UND’s special teams are a mess. The Fighting Hawks power play scares no one, they’re ranked 44th on the power play 13/82 (15.9%).
In the last six games, UND has scored a single power play marker in 24 attempts. On the penalty kill, the Fighting Hawks have struggled mightily, UND is ranked 37th 72/90 (80.05).
On the positive side, in the last six games, there’s been an improvement on the PK. UND has killed 20 of the last 23 opponent power plays (.86%).
The strength of the Fighting Hawks is their d-core and goaltending. Freshman Adam Scheel has played the majority of the games going (8-6-1, GAA 1.91 and a .908 save percentage).
UND sits at 9-9-1 3-5-0 (NCHC). They look to right the ship against the Colorado College Tigers 8-10-2, 2-5-1 (NCHC). UND is 6-3-1 against the Tigers in the last 10 games including a 2-2-0 record the last four. Game times are 7:37 on Friday and 7:07 on Saturday.