Bemidji State Falls in UND House of Horror

UND establish the Ralph as a nightmare for opponents

James DeArman, Sports Writer

The University of North Dakota welcomed their closest geographical rivals as the Bemidji State Beavers rolled into town for a weekend series. Coming off last weekend’s hard fought series against the number two team in the country, Minnesota State Mankato,  UND can fall back on their unique hometown advantage. 

Establishing the Ralph as a venue that other teams dread coming to has been a goal of the team for some time. The atmosphere created by the venue and its fans is rivalied by no one else in college hockey and UND players want teams to fear coming to there house. 

“Our No. 1 goal is to go pretty much undefeated here at The Ralph,” senior Westin Michaud said. “With the fan support and our coaching staff, our morale needs to be high here. I think we’ve done that so far, but we have to have another level every single night. Practicing here is a treat. Playing in games is even better. You’re fortunate enough, so you’ve got to take those opportunities and strive to be great.”

As the puck dropped Friday night in front of a feverous sell out crowd it was time to put those words into action, but the opening 10 minutes saw the No. 16 ranked team in the land being chased off their own ice. The Hawks failed to register a shot in this time as the Beavers maintained possession throughout the period. The levee finally burst in the second period as an Owen Sillinger power play shot found the back of the net giving Bemidji a lead they would hold for the majority of the game.

After playing the role of the heartbroken in their last few games by giving up late third period goals it was UNDs turn to break some hearts. With 5:47 left in the game team leading scorer Jacob Bernard-Docker skated up the right hand side of the ice before centering a pass that was slotted home by Jordan Kawaguchi knotting things up at one and eventually sending things to overtime. 

It didn’t take long for Westin Michaud, graduate transfer from Colorado College who has been on the opposing bench for such occasions in the Ralph, to wrist home the overtime goal goal. UND was able to withstand the early barrage from the Beavers early in the game and ended up stealing the win 2-1 with all the momentum in their favor as the series turned towards Saturday. 

The second game in the series had a much different tone than Friday night. On the night before it took UND a little over 54 minutes to score their first goal. On Saturday it took them just 36 seconds. The first of 4 to pass by the Bemidji goaltender this game in a resounding 4-1 victory which featured goals from 4 different players. UND sharing the love this season as 14 different players have found the back of the net in just six games. Goalie Adam Scheel had a great night in net making 19 saves and only losing his shutout with over a minute left in the game

This series sweep gave UND their sixth straight win at the Ralph and are on their way as establishing it as a fortress. 

“The place is electric,” said Michaud. “It’s the best place to play in college hockey. I’m glad we came out on top and did that for our fans.” 

UND will play their next three games at the Ralph with opposing teams avoiding the dates where they will have to travel to the frozen north.