The Hype Was Real

UND splits home series with No. 1 St. Cloud State

Kyle Kinnamon, Sports Writer

The University of North Dakota had their hands full when the number one team in the nation, St. Cloud State Huskies, stormed into the Ralph Engelstad Arena. UND would do their best to contain the high flying Huskies, ending the series in an even split overall. The crowd at the Ralph stood behind UND, giving the team energy throughout the series.


Friday Night: “Friday Night Fights”

A night full of chances for UND, ended in disappointment. The game started with a fast-pace, the first three plus minutes were without a whistle. UND soon struggled to keep up with the Huskies.


“That is two pretty good teams going at it,” captain Colton Poolman said. “They carried the play. That’s pretty honest, I’d say. They’re pretty good. They possess the puck, manage it well and get it in when they have to.”


UND scored first when senior forward, Nick Jones, put one in from behind the net, banking the puck off Huskies’ goalie 11:21 into the first period.


Special teams became a focal point of the game. UND killed off their penalty but then had a goal scored against them almost immediately following the kill. This happened on both of the non empty-net goals scored by the Huskies.


The game winning goal came after Poolman was stripped in front of own net. A rare occurrence for Poolman. Poolman took full responsibility for the goal, solidifying why he was made captain.


“I accept responsibility for that second goal,” Poolman said. “That is on me. I owe my teammates better than that to be more focused in a critical juncture in the game like that. That is when it got sideways, so I accept responsibility for that.”


The real turning point in the game came when Huskies’ captain, Jimmy Schuldt, hip-checked UND sophomore, Grant Mismash, ending in a knee on knee hit. Mismash left the game struggling to put any weight on his leg. Mismash was out for the Saturday game and possibly more in the future.


Saturday Night: “Containing the Poehlings”


After an emotional night on Friday for all the players, the question on everyone’s mind was the type of game that was going to be played. Would UND come out attacking Schuldt for the hit on Mismash, or would they try and attack them through the scoreboard? UND chose the latter.


“We scored early and we stayed with the game,” UND head coach Brad Berry said. “Last night we missed a lot of nets with the opportunities we had. Tonight, we buried those opportunities.”


UND came out strong once again. Capitalizing on their chances first when freshman forward, Gavin Hain, buried a great one-touch pass from fellow freshman forward, Mark Senden, just three minutes and 22 seconds into the first period.


Senden and Hain were not done for the night. Senden notched his name in the goal category this time. Senden sniped one 6:31 into the second period on a fantastic two on one opportunity for UND.


Not even two minutes later, junior forward Dixon Bowen would add to the lead for UND. Bowen took a seemingly simple five-hole shot, but it went right through the wickers of Huskies’ goalie, David Hrenak. Hrenak would be replaced in net by Jeff Smith.


Huskies’ goalie Smith, was tested almost immediately. UND was firing from everywhere on Smith to test his rebound control and he continued to give up quality chance rebounds for UND to attempt to capitalize on.


Hain would add another goal to the scoresheet just 5:52 into the third period. Hain capitalized on a rebound left out in front from a Poolman shot. This gave UND a three goal lead once again.


Bowen also added another to his name, intercepting a pass in the offensive zone all alone then finishing on his own rebound.


Once UND extended their lead to four goals, the fistacuffs came out. The Huskies started to lose the cool that they had maintained throughout the game. The Huskies were assessed five penalties during the last 45 seconds of the game, including a game misconduct to Ryan Poehling.


UND knew the key to their success to split the series would be to contain the Poehling brothers. Luckily, one of the Poehlings, Jack Poehling, was scratched for the second game. The Poehling brothers are a major aspect of the Huskies maintaining the number one seed in the country. UND used their home ice advantage of last change to limit the Poehling’s success in Saturday’s contest.


“I think we played with a little more tenacity tonight, with a chip on our shoulder,” Hain said. “We played more physical. That’s how we have to play the rest of the way. It’s playoff hockey now. Every game matters.”


UND looks to bring this momentum into Denver next weekend to help turn UND’s ship around.