UND Hockey Defeats St. Cloud in Overtime on Friday

Maeve Hushman, Sports Reporter

After an earlier meeting that ended in disaster for the University of North Dakota, UND walked away from a game against St. Cloud victorious. In a crucial late season victory, the UND defeated St. Cloud State 4-3 in overtime Friday night at the Ralph Engelstad area. It was a comeback win for the ages with both the game tying and winning goals coming off the stick of junior and Hobey Baker nominee, Riese Gaber.  

Even though UND was down 2-1 by the end of the first 40 minutes of play, their resilience and good habits carried them through, allowing this team to secure a victory against the number 6 ranked team in the nation.  

The University of North Dakota team that took to the ice Friday night looked noticeably different from the one that lost out to Denver last weekend. For one, there was a sense of urgency and fight that had not been seen by this team before. Even more important was that high fight-level and urgency continued throughout the game, not dropping off at a single momentum shift like it had in games past. 

Head Coach Brad Berry said about the source of that drive and motivation, “we talked about it before the game, about playing at North Dakota and it’s such a privilege to be part of this program and what would you do to be part of this program.” 

Even though the scoreboard through most of the game favored St. Cloud, the shot count remained even throughout the game. Both teams were able to get sustained momentum and both goaltenders stood tall against high danger shots. Drew DeRidder had a bit of a lack-luster performance against Denver but was back in his pre-Denver form in this game against St. Cloud. Not only was DeRidder better in net but Friday night’s game went without the customary defensive blunder. All that to say that the defense looked good, and when they did not, DeRidder was able to bail them out, something that had not always been certain for this season.  

The five-on-five play in this game was lacking from both teams. All the goals in this game came on the powerplay, at 5-on-6 during 3-3 overtime, which speaks highly to both team’s defensive capability at 5-on-5. However, this made special teams even more critical in this game and the importance of discipline was extremely heightened.  

During the Wednesday pre-game press conference, Coach Berry was asked about how to avoid the penalty trouble that plagued the team in Denver. “It’s the guys who play on an edge and about getting to that edge without going over…If you are 200 ft away from your net and you’ve got your stick tangled up in somebody’s feet or your hook, you’re not working, you’re not doing the job…So those habits and details of not giving the other team free momentum through power plays and being a threat, you have got to be more disciplined in those areas,” Berry said.  

While not as bad as their penalty situation in both Denver games, UND did spend a fair amount of time in the box with Gaber getting a 5-minute major at the tail end of the second period. However, the penalty trouble did not crush this team like it did before.  

“I was disappointed, obviously felt bad, but I told Drew [DeRidder] that I was going to get one back for him,” Gaber said of his feelings post five-minute major and get one back he did.  

With DeRidder pulled and the time in the third period ticking down, Gaber scored the goal that would send the team into overtime. Off a very smart play by Jackson Blake, who Gaber called a “wizard,” Gaber was able to score the game winning goal early in the five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime. He more than made up for that five-minute major with his play.  

The outcome of this game had a huge positive impact on team morale and confidence with each player in the post-game echoing how much better they felt through this win than in games prior. There is finally a fire in this team and a little bit of poise, if they can keep their chins up and figure out how to play physically without crossing the line, this late season run might be exactly the boost they need heading into the postseason.  


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