Here are three things that stuck out during game one of the series between UND and Omaha. If you liked last night’s game, you’re in luck. I expect more of the same in the next five games between the two teams. The Penrose Trophy is going through Omaha.
Outstanding Penalty Kill
This season, UND has had a parade to the penalty box, and its shown in the national statistics, UND is ranked third in the nation in penalty minutes averaging 14.8 penalty minutes per game. Eventually, taking a lot of penalties could come back to bite the Hawks. Fortunately, last night it didn’t. Recently, the Hawks penalty kill has killed 47 of 49 opponent power plays. Both teams have phenomenal penalty kills. The Mavericks penalty kill has killed 49 of the last 49 opponent power plays.
Looking at the national statistics, Omaha’s PK has killed 52-of-55 opponent power plays and is ranked first in the nation with a 94.5%. penalty kill percentage. UND’s PK is ranked ninth in the nation, killing 66-of-75 of the opponents power plays (88%). On Friday, the Mavericks killed all five of the Hawks power plays dropping their power play to 15th in the nation 17-of-74 (23%) .
UND doesn’t want to have to rely on their penalty kill every game and will want to limit the number of penalties they take.
“We knew it was going to be a battle, obviously, we play similar games,” senior forward Grant Mismash said. “Tomorrow, we want to limit the penalties and the stuff after the whistle, but you know it happens.”
“We’ll address that tomorrow in our morning meeting,” Berry said.
On Friday, UND received balanced scoring from their forward lines: Cooper Moore, Shane Pinto, Mark Senden, Grant Mismash, Jasper Weatherby and Judd Caulfield all scored for the Hawks.
At the 2:06 mark of the second period, UND trailed UNO 2-1. That was all for the Mavericks. The Fighting Hawks took off, and scored five unanswered goals to blow out Omaha 6-2. When it was all said and done, Pinto had another multi-point game. That makes three in a row (4g-2a—6pts). After Friday’s game, Pinto leads the NCHC in points with nine goals and 21 points. Finally, Pinto has eight multi-point games this season.
Speaking of Caulfield, he’s on a hot streak. Over the past two games, the Grand Forks native has scored two goals and three points. Last night, he had his first multi-point game of the season, and the third of his career, a goal and an assist. Caulfield stole the puck from former teammate Jonny Tychonick and deposited the puck behind Maverick goalie Isaiah Saville.
Familiarity Breeds Contempt
Why is this such an intense series? Really? Is this series much different that playing Denver or Duluth? Last season, the series really heated up on the ice.
“I don’t know if it’s any different from playing Duluth and Denver,” Berry said. “That’s the beauty of our league. It’s a very competitive, intense league with good players. That’s what you’re going to get.”
“We knew coming in it was going to be a battle,” forward Shane Pinto said. “They play hard. There’s kind of a little rivalry brewing, and we got them five more times so it’s not going to get any prettier. We’ve just got to stick to our game and we’ve just got to stay disciplined.”
“There’s a rivalry there,” Omaha head coach Mike Gabinet said.” You can tell it’s apparent, but you’ve got to have emotional control out there and pick your spots when you get involved. There’s a lot of emotions out there it was a spirted game.”
“I think it was a hard-fought win,” Berry said. “We found a way to grind it down and get the win.
With last night’s 6-2 win, the Hawks are 7-3-0 (.700) in the last 10 games against the Mavericks. In the last two games against the Mavericks, the Hawks have outscored them 11-2.