UND Wins 4-1, Sweeps Denver

Claire Weltz, Editor

GRAND FORKS — On Saturday, the Green and White roared out of the gates, striking quick and deadly. Freshman Mattero Costantini got the scoring started, showing his speed on a breakaway after Ashton Calder swiped the puck away from a Denver winger. 

North Dakota was about to start a powerplay series after Cameron Wright of Denver was penalized for tripping, but a faceoff violation from Jake Schmaltz had the teams playing 4v4. With the ice opened up, Costantini slid the puck to Judd Caulfield for a shot on goal which Denver’s goaltender, Magnus Chrona, deflected into defenseman Tyler Kleven for his second goal of the season. 

 “Our start was better tonight,” Coach Brad Berry said of the 2-0 score line. The first period showed flashes of what is to come as the squad continues to meld. With fourteen fresh faces on the team (9 freshmen, 5 transfers), the team has been plagued with slow starts, but the Green and White are setting a new tempo despite the still budding team chemistry. 

The UND vs Denver NCHC rivalry runs deep, and the Pioneers refused to go down without a fight. The Fighting Hawks’ momentum slipped in the second period. Coach Berry took the team’s time out to regroup, but the Pioneers slipped one behind Zach Driscoll to make the score 2-1.

UND was without their leading faceoff man, Connor Ford, in their effort to sweep the Pioneers on Saturday night with Ford suffering an upper-body injury in Friday’s showdown. His absence showed especially in the second period as the team was sloppy with several icing calls and resulting faceoffs in their defensive zone. 

Goalie Zach Driscoll helped UND keep their one-goal lead through the second period, coming up with some massive saves. “[Driscoll] was tremendous, and he’s made those big saves that keep us in [the game] and allow us to keep momentum.” Riese Gaber commented. Overall, the fifth-year goaltender posted 21 saves with 7 of those coming in the second period. 

(My personal highlight of the night was at 2:43 in the second period. Sandy is saucy, breaking ankles despite not being on the point sheet.)

The third period opened with another set of matching minors to play 4v4, and Gaber put on a show – taking the puck zone to zone and beating two Denver players to tally his fourth goal of the season and put UND up 3-1. “That was a huge goal, and he took it upon himself to create that,” Coach Berry praised. “Our guys had confidence and a little bit of swagger, a little bit of gusto in what they did in the third period.” 

And with gusto they did! UND posted 18 shots with 9 on goal in the third period. Scoring opportunities abounded. Gaber hit the pipe, and Caulfield almost got the edge over Denver’s Chrona. 

Down 3-1 and 3:12 remaining in the game, the Pioneers became frustrated, and tension boiled over when Carter Savoie put an uncharacteristically malicious hit on UND captain Mark Senden. Contact to the head earned him a five-minute major and game misconduct. 

The resulting retaliation put a slew of players in the penalty box for roughing – Ethan Frisch, Gavin Hain, and Louis Jamernik for UND and Sean Behrens, Jack Devine, and Owen Ozar for Denver. Ozar served the penalty time for Savoie as he was ejected from the game.  


Senden was accompanied off the ice by athletic trainers, and the extent of his injury remains to be seen. After the game, Coach Berry said “[Senden] actually came back to the bench. He didn’t play, but he came back to the bench and wanted to play.” Senden’s injury will be assessed in the coming week, but it may not be as severe as initially thought.  


The teams went to 4v4 after the penalties, and with 2:19 left in the game, Ashton Calder scored on an empty net to extend the lead to 4-1. Gaber notched the assist. 

Kleven received a major penalty and game misconduct for contact to the head of his own, and Denver’s Justin Lee also went to the box to close out the game.  


The sweep of Denver was exactly what UND needed after a tough loss to Penn State last weekend in Nashville. “This weekend was big for us to keep moving in the right direction and keep gelling,” goal scorer Ashton Calder said in a post-game interview. With seven goals in the series sweep, the team bolstered their confidence and put themselves ahead in NCHC play. 


UND heads to Miami next weekend and will return to the Ralph Engelstad Arena against Minnesota Duluth November 19-20. 


Claire Weltz is a Dakota Student Editor. She can be reached at [email protected].