Opening with defeat

UND men’s hockey team falls 5-1 in first regular season game


UND sophomore defenseman Troy Stecher skates at Ralph Engelstad Arena on Friday night against Bemidji State. North Dakota suffered a 5-1 against the Beavers. Photo by Nicholas Nelson/The Dakota Student.

Fans filled Ralph Engelstad Arena last Friday to watch the UND men’s hockey team in its regular-season home opener against Bemidji State. Their reaction to North Dakota’s first season-opening loss since the first game ever played in the building against Minnesota in 2001 was much the same as the thoughts circling the locker room after the game.

“Anytime you lose 5-1 in your own building, you’ve got to be a little surprised,” UND junior Drake Caggiula said. “It goes back to lack of preparation and that’s all you can say. We didn’t bring it, and they did.”

North Dakota’s 5-1 loss instigated a surge of momentum Saturday as the teams faced off at Sanford Center in Bemidji. This time, the visitors once again finished with a win.

Thanks to a Colten St. Clair shot in the net and a shorthanded goal by Stephane Pattyn, North Dakota collected a 2-1 victory.

The result of Friday’s nonconference battle had signaled a wake-up call for a team picked to win the NCHC conference and finish No. 2 overall.

“You don’t throw this out — not at this time of the year — absolutely not,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “This is a hard lesson learned for our hockey team.”

How the team handled that lesson was showcased a short time after.

The team hopped on a bus following Game 1 of the series and made the trip to Bemidji, quietly awaiting the opportunity for redemption.

A revamp of UND’s level of compete and intensity against a former WCHA foe was enough for a win.

“We had a good compete level,” Hakstol said. “But we’re not going to pat ourselves on the back because we came out and competed hard. That’s what we expect.”

Turnovers were few from a unit in from of Zane McIntyre in the net, who made 28 saves Saturday night after allowing four pucks slip behind him on Friday.

“We did all the right things to win a road game,” Hakstol said. “After a pretty sick feeling for about 12 hours, our guys did a good job. They showed maturity. They came out and played with confidence and played hard together.”

Elizabeth Erickson is the sports editor of The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].