Big points on the line for Hawks

Hawks head home to face the St. Cloud Huskies for conference points

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Dakota Student / Nicholas Nelson

UND men’s hockey forward Brock Boeser evades Omaha’s Joel Messner (left) and Mason Morelli (right) during a game last season at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. (Nick Nelson/Dakota Student)

Jack Harvey, Staff Writer

For the third and fourth time this season, the Hawks will be looking to tame the Huskies in a pivotal NCHC battle.

The last time these two met back in mid-November, both weren’t playing at the top level the program’s fans are used to. The Hawks were looking to stop a six game winless streak while the Huskies sat at 7-4 and 12th in the country.

UND was able to take two games from St. Cloud with a resounding 4-0 and 3-0 victories with Shane Gersich scoring four of the seven goals for the Hawks.

Things haven’t gone smoothly since. The Hawks have gone 7-6-1 while the Huskies have gone 6-7-1 putting them in fourth and seventh in NCHC standings and having North Dakota ranked 13th and SCSU unranked in the USCHO.com poll.

“You’ve just got to try to stay positive and get back to work,” said Tucker Poolman,” You can’t let it ruin the next week. You’ve got to get up and get back to work and keep pushing.”

That’s not to say the Hawks haven’t had an easy schedule. This weekend marks the fourth time since Oct. 21 UND plays a non-nationally ranked opponent.

Over the season UND has been pegged with injuries from several players. Brock Boeser had to sit out for several games while Cam Johnson and Tyson Jost were unavailable this past weekend. The loss of the one UND’s leading scorers in Jost and the starting goaltender in Johnson was responded well by the Hawks this past weekend getting a split against Colorado college outshooting the Tigers 88-43.

“We have to make sure we keep taking a step forward,” said head coach Brad Berry, “because we sure didn’t take a step backward tonight (after being on the wrong side of a 45 save shutout).”

Things haven’t been smooth for St. Cloud State either. Since the last meeting the Huskies have yet to string together wins with dropping one or two games after a victory.

Unfortunately for the Huskies, they have been struggling both offensively and defensively allowing 77 goals while only scoring 76 this season. To compare, UND has scored 88 goals while only allowing 67.

In the crease, SCSU has had to rely on both goaltenders. Combined between Jeff Smith and Zach Driscoll have a combined save percentage of .898 and have allowed an average of 2.92 goals a game.

Statistically, UND’s Shane Gersich still leads the charge with 32 points tallied with Tyson Jost still sitting in second despite missing the series this weekend with 24 points. Brock Boeser sits at 3rd currently with 22 points.

After getting majority of net time this past weekend, Matt Hrynkiw sits at 1.39 GAA and a .942 save percentage playing three games so far this season.

For St. Cloud, Mikey Eyssimont leads the way with 23 points so far this season with 10 goals and 13 assists.

Despite a season that is not up to the standards of UND fans, the support hasn’t dipped. This season, paid attendance hasn’t dipped under 11,000 since opening night.

UND will be looking to pick up key NCHC points this weekend with the first game Friday at 7:37 p.m. at the Ralph.

Jack Harvey is a staff writer for Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]