UND Suffers First NCHC Loss Against UMD

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Riley Biberdorf, General Reporter

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Sickness, penalties and power-play woes added up for No. 4 UND on Friday night, as they fell to Minnesota-Duluth 4-1. 

The Fighting Hawks were without their superstar defenseman Jake Sanderson, as well as freshman Matteo Costantini. Both were listed as out with non-Covid related illness. Multiple NCHC teams have been without players due to illness in recent weeks. 

The first couple shifts were all UND. The Bulldogs defenders were forced to float pucks out of their zone rather than break out, and Fighting Hawks forwards buzzed around the UMD zone. 

Gavin Hain was able to make the Bulldogs’ sluggish start hurt, as he scored just 2:30 into the contest. Louis Jamernik forced a turnover at North Dakota’s blue line before passing to Mark Senden, who fed Hain in front on a 2-on-1. 

The raising of the referee’s hand was UND’s kryptonite. After the early goal, UND would take five penalties in the remaining 17:30 of the period, including an interference by Tyler Kleven at 10:13 of the first. 

UMD didn’t need long on their second power play. Just six seconds into the Kleven penalty, a blocked shot would find the stick of Casey Gilling who buried it past a sprawled Zach Driscoll to knot the game at 1-1. 

The visitors weren’t done yet. Two minutes later, Dominic James collected a pass from Kobe Roth at the bottom of the faceoff circle and beat Driscoll on the glove side to put UMD ahead 2-1.  

With seven seconds left in the first, the last thing the Hawks needed was another penalty. During a net-front battle, Jamernik cross-checked a Bulldogs’ defender in the head and was sent to the locker room with a five-minute major and game misconduct. Due to Costantini’s absence and Jamernik’s ejection, UND was forced to play the last 40 minutes with only 11 forwards. 

The second period was not any better for the home team, as the Fighting Hawks were outshot 9-4 and committed three more penalties. Zone entries were ugly, especially on the power play without Sanderson. 

UMD doubled their lead at 12:53 when Gilling collected the puck after a scrum in front and beat a screened Driscoll on the blocker side for his second goal of the night. 

The rest of the period saw UMD in control, with UND attacking on rushes but unable to sustain any offensive zone time. 

The Fighting Hawks had a noticeable change between the second and third periods. They were able to outshoot the Bulldogs in the third and started to spend more time on the ice around UMD goalie Ryan Fanti. The power play, which was 0-6 on the night, looked better which resulted in a Riese Gaber shot. Chris Jandric ran the power play in Sanderson’s absence.  

With four minutes left, Berry decided to pull Driscoll for an extra skater to try to inch closer on the scoreboard. UND had some charges during the 6-on-5, but Roth would find the back of the empty net to push the Bulldogs lead to 4-1. The final minutes ran out, and UND suffered its first NCHC loss of the year. 

Berry spoke on the penalty troubles. “I thought we came out, had a good start, scored the first goal – that’s what we wanted. Then we take penalty, penalty, penalty, and penalty.” 

“You start to focus on preserving the lead that we had, or the tie, and you just run out of gas from the guys who play key minutes (due to the penalties),” Berry added. 

Berry said that Sanderson and Costantini will be reevaluated in the morning. The teams finish the series November 20 at 6:07 p.m. 

 

Riley Biberdorf is a Dakota Student Sports writer. He can be reached at [email protected]