Hockey starts slow, finishes strong

Caggiula makes presence felt after one-game suspension against Wisconsin

After a disappointing start to the weekend, UND managed to stop the bleeding and split the weekend series with Wisconsin. The Green and White entered this series on an unbeaten season before the most unlikely of opponents snapped the streak on Friday.

With the blindside from the Badgers, an unranked team this year, the Green and White went back to the drawing board to see just what went wrong.

“We came off a good streak on the road, and obviously we got a little ahead of ourselves,’’ UND assistant captain Paul LaDue said. “We have to take it, learn from it. I think it’s good for our young guys to get a taste of what it feels like. We underestimated them. They came out flying and they deserved to win that game.’’

The Green and White managed to get one on the board in the first, but fell to Wisconsin after three unanswered goals to take the first game in the series 3-1.

Saturday felt a noticeable shift in the mood as the sluggish team from Friday had retired and was replaced by a team that dominated in all aspects of the game.

UND struck first and got on the board 1-0 to end the first period. The Badgers then managed to tie the game halfway                  through the second.

North Dakota was given great opportunities as Wisconsin took back to back penalties,  including a 5-on-3 play, but the Green and White were unable to capitalize.

With the score being tied up heading into the final period, UND played more physical than ever, winning face off battles and storming the net looking for rebounds.

The go ahead goal came at just over seven minutes into the final period as Johnny Simonson got the puck behind the Badger net and passed it to rookie Shane Gersich to score his fourth goal of the season.

With the momentum, the Green and White continued to pour it on eight minutes later as senior Drake Caggiula scored his third of the year, capitalizing on an odd man rush and with a pass from Nick Schmaltz.

Wisconsin was unable to answer the two goals from UND in the third as North Dakota took the second game 3-1.

“Kind of an opposite game from last night,’’ UND coach Brad Berry said. “I thought we battled hard for 60 minutes and found a way to win. I’m proud of our guys. That’s the way they have to play.’’

The team was without senior Drake Caggiula for Friday’s game due to a one-game suspension. Caggiula was suspended after a review of a play in which a hit was delivered to the head of a Colorado College player from the previous weekend. Caggiula’s presence was felt as he made his return in Saturday’s game to tally up a goal and assist, and helping motivate the team to be the best.

UND looks to extend yet another streak as they host Miami University. The series is set to begin at 7:37 p.m. on Friday.

Allyson Bento is a sports writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]