What's Ailing the UND Hockey Team?

What's Ailing the UND Hockey Team?

North Dakota

What's Ailing the UND Hockey Team?

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After Saturday’s game, a 5-3 loss to the SCSU Huskies, UND hockey fans took to the Twitter-verse. What’s wrong with UND? There are a couple of factors. After their third win, UND lost defensemen, Jake Sanderson and Tyler Kleven to the US World Junior team. That’s two high-end defensemen. That may or may not be a factor, but they’re two highly skilled players. Since losing Sanderson and Kleven to team USA, they’ve gone 0-2-1. That’s not an excuse, that’s a fact. While they only played three games apiece, you take four points in three games out of UND’s lineup.

“It’s unfortunate we don’t have those guys in our group right now,” Berry said to the media following the outcome. “They’ve earned their time to go to the World Juniors and they worked hard their whole life to do that. We never hold back the opportunity for the players to do that. It’s unfortunate to not have them in our group right now, but we don’t use that as an excuse. Whether it’s an injury or guys going to the World Juniors, we have enough very good players here to do the job and they will.”

Injuries are also beginning to take a toll. UND has lost Harrison Blaisdell, Judd Caulfield, Harrison Blaisdell, and Ethan Frisch to injury. Frisch and Caulfield were injured today and didn’t return. If Frisch can’t go tomorrow, that leaves UND five healthy defensemen. Also, UND didn’t replace Michell Miller when he was dropped from the team. So, they’re down a d-man. They also had a forward, Massimo Rizzo, that decommitted this past summer that they didn’t replace either.

Based on UND’s play in the defensive zone the last three games, I’d say that the Hawks miss those two players. Again, I not making any excuses, I am just making an observation. First, UND needs to pick up the tempo and play on their toes. More often than not, they’re giving up the blueline too easily. They need to come out of the locker room ready to play at the drop of the first puck. Today, they didn’t do that. They also need to play a smart game. Stay out of the penalty box. In their two losses to Denver and St. Cloud, UND PK went 6/10. You can’t have the opposition scoring on 40 percent of their power plays if you want to win a hockey game.

With that said, I think UND will be fine, they just need to play with more urgency, focus, and discipline. There’s a lot of talent and firepower on the 2020-21 UND hockey team. They just have to regain that confidence.

No one is making any excuses. Nor should they. 

“We just got to find a way to battle through and play hockey and win a hockey game,” senior captain Jordan Kawaguchi said.  “We have guys off at a World Junior camp and everything, but it’s next man up mentality. We have to do what we can to win hockey games, and we’re just not doing that right now. We have to figure that out in our group and get back out tomorrow.”

With that said, I think UND will be fine, they just need to play with more urgency, focus, and discipline. There’s a lot of talent and firepower on the 2020-21 UND hockey team. They just have to regain that confidence.

 

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