UND wins Hall of Fame game at Ralph Englestad Arena Saturday
UND hosted RPI in the U.S. Hall of Fame game Saturday at Ralph Englestad Arena. It was the middle of a five game non-conference home stand to open up the season for the defending National Champions.
The Fighting Hawks, after sweeping Canisius to open up the season last weekend, were looking to get another quality non-conference win against the Engineers.
UND Fighting Hawks Hockey was the grand finale for homecoming week. After UND saw their volleyball team win on Thursday and Saturday, and their football team winning on Saturday afternoon, the Hawks wanted to end homecoming high note. Joel Janatuinen did everything he could to make sure the Hawks stayed at number one in the nation.
The sophomore winger from Espo, Finland had a game that he will remember for the rest of his life. Janatuinen scored three goals en route to a 5-2 win over RPI. After only scoring three goals all of last season, the Finland native equaled that total just in one night.
Janatuinen’s best goal of the night might have been UND’s first goal. Janatuinen’s first two goals came on assists from fellow European Ludvig Hoff, both centering passes after Janatuinen got to the soft spot in the defense, and Hoff found him.
“Yeah, the European connection is working,” said Hoff. “We had a good week of practice and we really found each other with Poganski too. It just worked out today I guess.”
The star of the night loves playing with the Norwegian, and St. Cloud native.
“We enjoy playing with each other. We think the game alike and really were just having some fun out there,” said Janatuinen.
The chemistry between Janatuinen, Hoff and Poganski doesn’t go unnoticed by head coach Brad Berry.
“Joel is a guy that’s been building over the course of last year and early this year,” Berry said. “He’s a good two-way player who has been snake bitten a little offensively.”
UND’s depth on all four lines showed as three of the four lines Brad Berry throws out there scored goals. Three came from Janatuinen, one came from freshman Tyson Jost, and one came from fellow freshman Cole Smith, who was playing in his first career game.
RPI would silence the crowd early as they scored the game’s first goal at 3:56 of the first.
UND went on to score the next three goals, one in the first and two in the second. RPI would answer with a goal of their own of the second, but Janatuinen’s third goal of the night made in 5-2 in the third, and that put the game out of reach for the Engineers.
It wasn’t just the offense that played well however. UND, for the third time this season, held their opponent to under 20 shots. Saturday night the Engineers could only muster 14 shots on goal.
Fighting Hawks’ goaltender Cam Johnson saved 12 of 14 shots, while RPI goalie Craig Perry, whose dad played for UND in the early 80’s, finished with 33 saves. UND moved to 5-3-1 all time in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame game.
UND is back for two this weekend at Ralph Englestad Arena. Bemidji State will take the two hour trip on Highway 2, as they renew the rivalry with the Hawks. The Beavers are scorching hot to start the season, with sweeps at home against Bowling Green, and on the road at Northern Michigan.
hunter Plante is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]