UND was able to grab a 3-1 victory on Saturday night and earn a series split with the University of Denver. With that win, UND was able to head to Christmas break with the best record of the Dave Hakstol era.
That’s when the real adventures began.
Soon after the game, the fire alarms sounded in the building (and they were kind of creepy). It’s not the first time I’ve heard fire alarms in an area, but this time, there actually was a fire in the building.
I happened to run downstairs and get quotes when officials ran up to the press box and evacuated it. Apparently the fire started either in the kitchen or in the elevator shaft. When I got back to the press box, everyone was gone. Apparently, they came and cut Tim Hennessy’s postgame short.
I looked around the arena and saw no one. It was very eerie. Regardless, I made sure to get my story in by deadline. Soon after, everyone started returning.
Then, the adventures continued.
The team was scheduled to fly back after the game, but their flight was canceled because of fog in North Dakota. The team took off the next day, but once again, could not land in Grand Forks. They ended up getting diverted to Minot. They had to find a bus there to take them back home.
The UND women’s hockey team, coming back from Rochester, N.Y., also ran into the same problem on Sunday and had to bus to Grand Forks from Minneapolis.
I got stuck in Minneapolis and jumped in a car with someone who also got stranded and drove back to North Dakota.
On top of it all, it’s now finals week for the players. So, since the buzzer sounded on Saturday night, it has been rather hectic.
Some other thoughts notes from Saturday:
- Nick Mattson re-entered the lineup and had a big impact on the game. Read more about him in this story.
- UND enters break as the top defensive team in the NCHC, allowing just 2.16 goals per game. Offensively, UND ranks third in the league at 3.26 goals per game.
- UND has not lost back-to-back games in more than a year (Nov. 2013). Only one team in the country has a longer streak — UMass-Lowell (Oct. 2013).
- The first period was a 180 from Friday to Saturday. On Friday, Denver really dictated. On Saturday, it was all UND.
- Mattson said they have worked a lot on transition plays in practice and it showed with both Mattson and Keaton Thompson making quick transitions that led to goals.
- Denver outshot UND 16-3 in the third period, but UND with a 3-0 lead, all UND needed to do was keep the Pioneers to the outside and not let them have many odd-man or Grade A looks. If you keep them to the outside, you’re not going to beat Zane McIntyre three times in one period.
- Hakstol said the team left everything they had on the ice and now it needs to get healthy for the second half of the season.
- Nick Schmaltz left for the World Junior camp today. If he makes the team, he will miss the U18 exhibition game on Jan. 3, but he will be back the following weekend for the series against Minnesota Duluth.