Tonight was the first night where every NCHC team was playing a league game. Three of the four winning teams in the league got outshot by a considerable margin.
Miami outshot Denver 34-12. Final score: Pios 3, RedHawks 1. How bizarre is it to see Miami in last place right now in the NCHC? The RedHawks have lost four straight league games.
Duluth outshot SCSU 38-19. Final score: Huskies 4, Dogs 2.
Western Michigan outshot UND 38-24. Final score: UND 3, Broncos 2.
The only team that ended up on top in both shots and goals was the previously 1-10-2 CC Tigers, who were able to snap a 12-game winless streak and beat Omaha 4-2. Game stories from the UND-WMU contest:
- Very typical of the way UND is going to need to win games right now: Tight game, very good goaltending, contributions from all over, win the special teams battle. Tonight was UND’s blue print.
- UND will go for its first sweep of the year tonight at 6:37. For UND Insider webcast subscribers, you will be able to get this game. UND has a chance to get back to .500 both overall and in NCHC play.
- Although shots were in favor of Western Michigan by 14, the game didn’t feel all that lopsided.
- In talking to WMU folks, finishing has been a big problem for them the last two years — and Friday was more of the same. Plenty of chances, not a lot of finish.
- UND finally won the faceoff battle 40-36. Coach Dave Hakstol on faceoffs: “We were solid — far from dominant — but we were solid, especially on critical faceoffs tonight.”
- On Western Michigan’s first goal (a faceoff play), Hakstol said: “We fell asleep. Chase Balisy is good at what he does. That’s not the first time he’s made a play like that. It will be something we learn from in the faceoff dot.”
- Mark MacMillan re-entered the lineup. He didn’t add a lot of offense, but his presence was huge on a penalty kill that has been struggling since he got injured.
- The game seems like it is starting to slow down for Keaton Thompson. Friday was his best performance since regularly cracking the lineup. He still needs to work on his strength (which is expected for a young guy), but he made some real nice outlet passes.
- Goalie Zane Gothberg admitted this week that he hasn’t been as consistent as he wants to be. Then, he responded with his second straight outstanding effort. He was the No. 1 star of the game and helped keep UND in the game early.
- Under-rated shift of the game: Stephane Pattyn’s line early in the third period. The Broncos came out in the third hard and had a lot of puck possession on a couple of shifts, pushing for the tying goal. Then, Pattyn’s line had a shift where they got it in the offensive zone and cycled for a good 35 seconds. After that, UND was back on its game and good to go.
- Both teams had seven power-play chances (UND 2-7, WMU 0-7), but time with the extra man was in favor of the Broncos (11:47-8:48).
- UND hit three posts. And they were inside-of-the-post shots. Pattyn hit the left post in the first, Troy Stecher hit the notch of the crossbar and post in the second and Drake Caggiula hit the right post in the third.
- Hakstol’s move switching Caggiula to wing and Grimaldi to center on that line seemed to work. Grimaldi did a nice job on draws, too, going 14-11. That’s one area he has improved since last year.
- I thought UND’s three best players were Gothberg, Pattyn and Grimaldi. Liked the games of a lot of other players, too, including Stecher.
- Brendan O’Donnell is still not 100 percent health-wise. He did not play a lot at the end of the game. Will be interesting to see if he’s in for the series finale.
- Western Michigan goalie Frank Slubowski is a top netminder. All three goals he allowed Friday were point-blank. That being said, he did leave some rebounds out there that UND can get to. We’ll see if that’s the case again in the series finale.
- Former UND forward Mike Cichy had a pretty nice game for the Broncos. He nearly set up a linemate on two occasions and Gothberg shut him down on an outstanding chance in the second period.