Western Michigan Shuts Out UND

Maeve Hushman, Sports Reporter

The last weekend before the Holiday break, the University of North Dakota shut out the University of Western Michigan (WMU) on their own ice. On Friday, January 13th, WMU returned the favor, beating UND 4-0 at the Ralph Engelstad arena. The final shot count was 27-25 in favor of WMU, with UND registering only four shots in the third period. Western Michigan got their revenge.  

This game was a revenge game on the score sheet and on the ice. It was an immensely physical contest that caused both teams to get into penalty trouble. UND was given a 5-3 in the second period when the score was still 1-0. However, they could not convert. WMU killing the 5-3 was the first dent in UND’s momentum.  

“Not scoring on the five on three hurt us a little bit and gave them momentum,” Head Coach Brad Berry said in the post-game.  

Senior Judd Caufield, who scored 2 goals against WMU in their first meeting, echoed the same point. “Our power play has got to be a little bit sharper,” Caufield said. “Their penalty kill was, harder than us tonight, so that was the difference.”  

UND had another blow to their momentum when Junior Tyler Kleven was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for direct contact to the head. This is his second five-minute major for head contact this season.  

Coach Berry post-game commented more on the momentum being shifted by penalties. “Us taking the five-minute major obviously took away a little bit of momentum as well,” he said.  

Kleven took the penalty when the score was 2-0 in favor of UND, and UND was outshooting WMU. WMU started the third with 4:00 minutes on the manned advantage. They were able to convert, and the score became 3-0. The NCHC gave Kleven a one-game suspension. It was a sharp turnaround for Kleven, who received the NCHC defenseman of the week for last weekend’s 4-goal performance against Lindenwood.  

“Tyler got buried into the wall just before that. Then he got held just before that and then it led to that penalty and again, there is no excuse for it…especially when you are down two to nothing.” Coach Berry said of Kleven’s penalty. “There cannot be any frustration that gets into our game…you have to bite your lip and keep playing.”  

It was a frustrating game. There was immense physicality on the ice and the referees swallowed their whistles. UND generated chances that were saved by WMU’s goalie, Cameron Rowe, who earned the first star of the game, or bounced off the post. It was a combination of strong goaltending, bad puck luck, and defensive dedication by WMU. The Western Michigan players kept UND from getting in tight to the net and UND missed many rebound opportunities and screening opportunities because of that.  

“We obviously need to funnel more pucks to the net, and they also get better net front, getting his [Rowe] eyes, make it harder for him to see the puck,” Captain Mark Senden recognized. “Also get second man around the net there looking for rebounds.”  

UND struggled to get to the front of the net. Meanwhile, WMU scored many of their goals in tight, and their first goal after a rebound where the UND players over-committed in the opposite direction of Jack Perbix, the goal scorer.  

“We gave up a couple goals kind of got through driving to the crease,” Caufield said.   

UND did not play poorly in this game, in fact, they started the game red hot, driving the pace of the game and playing their high possession style extremely well. It was a triumphant effort, but WMU had better goaltending, stole the momentum, and limited the danger of UND’s opportunities.  

The UND hockey team knew what they needed to fix and the style they needed to play to win Saturday’s game.  

“We are having success when we play the way we know we can, and we stick to our game plan,” Captain Senden replied when asked about how to boost team morale after this loss going into Saturday’s showdown. The tone was hopeful. It seemed like the team and coach knew what went wrong and what they needed to do differently to win on Saturday. 

Saturday, however, would not end in the way UND wanted.  

 

Maeve Hushman is a Dakota Student Reporter. She can be reached at [email protected]