UND Wins 2-1 in Exhibition vs. Bemidji State


Claire Weltz, Arts and Community Editor

To open up the Ralph Engelstad Arena for the 2021-2022 season, UND faced off against preseason 14th ranked Bemidji State in an exhibition match on October 2nd. The matchup posed a fantastic opportunity for the team to play against a high caliber team – one they will play against later in the year (October 15-16) during the regular season. With a grand total of 14 newcomers (9 freshmen and 5 transfers), it was a chance to examine where the team needed to improve and grow. 

UND controlled the puck for most of the first period and led shots on goal (SOG) 8-0 until Bemidji State had a scrappy 2-minute run where transfer goalkeeper, Zach Driscoll, met his first test wearing the green and white. A shot off the post and a powerplay for Bemidji got the Beaver’s offense rolling as the clock ticked down in the first period. Former Bemidji State Beaver, Driscoll, came up with five saves to keep the game scoreless against his previous team. Flashes of promise from UND shown through the layer of rust that is to be expected in an exhibition game. 

A minute into the second period, Bemidji State receives a 2-minute minor for hooking, and UND goes up a skater on the power play. Sophomore Riese Gaber, capitalized on the opportunity, putting the puck in the back of the net. With assists from Jake Sanderson and Ashton Calder, UND goes up 1-0.

Bemidji State answered back with a goal by Alex Lerullo two minutes later to tie the game 1-1. 

UND and Bemidji State traded penalties and power plays to close out the second period. 

The trend continued with UND’s Ethan Frisch and Bemidji State’s Alex Lerullo being penalized for roughing and elbowing respectively with 10:34 remaining in the third period. With the two players in the penalty box, the ice opened up for Jake Sanderson to show off his speed and vision. Unassisted, Sanderson broke away and put UND up 2-1 to take the lead. 

The game wasn’t over yet, but Driscoll was up to the task, posting 7 saves in the third period to help UND keep the lead. By staying patient and reading his former teammate, Driscoll came up with a massive save when a Beaver broke away in an attempt to tie the score. 

Bemidji State pulled their goalie, and UND was called for icing when a shot on the empty net went wide – giving the Beavers a faceoff. With 5 seconds left, Driscoll held onto the lead for UND. 

In a post-game interview, Coach Brad Berry described the game as “scramble-y” but altogether a “good litmus test of what college hockey is.” 

Goal scorer Jake Sanderson commented, “The chemistry was there and will keep being there.” With many fresh faces on the team as well as a sophomore playing class unfamiliar with a “normal” season, facing off against a ranked opponent in the rowdy atmosphere of the Ralph (11,812 in attendance) was a taste of what is yet to come for the season. 

UND will be in action at home against Niagara on October 8-9 to officially start the season.