BY JIMMY GILLIGAN | The Statesman It would be inaccurate to say that the UMD men’s hockey team (7-7-3, 4-5-1-1 NCHC) laid an egg against long-time rival No. 4 North Dakota (16-2-2, 9-1-0 NCHC) this weekend.
But behind a stellar performance from UND goalie Cam Johnson, the Fighting Hawks did force the Bulldogs to put goose eggs in their goal columns on consecutive nights.
“We have to find ways to get points on the weekend, it’s unacceptable to get swept at your home barn,” senior forward Austin Farley said.
UMD will have three weeks to regroup after the goal-less, winless weekend. Their next game is a Jan. 2 exhibition against the United States National Development Program under 18 team.
“We’re not going to go in a slump here, we’re going to get back to work when we come back after break. It might be good for us,” Farley said. “It’s not going to pull us apart, that’s for damn sure.”
The struggle to score is a problem the Bulldogs are familiar with. Earlier in the season they went through something of an offensive drought during a five-game winless streak earlier in the season. Like this weekend, they outshot their opponent and led in scoring chances during that streak, yet were unable to come out on top in the scoring column.
The Bulldogs outshot the Fighting Hawks 38 to 20 in Saturday night’s loss. Overall, they outshot UND 78 to 42 on the weekend, although they were outscored 6-0.
The Bulldogs had an aggressive start against the Fighting Hawks, getting a majority of the scoring chances in the first period—as would be the case for all three periods Saturday night.
But the difference in Saturday night’s game came on the power play. After Andy Welinski was given a 5-minute game misconduct for boarding, the Fighting Hawks responded with two power play goals in quick succession.
The Bulldogs, however, were 0-4 on the power play Saturday night, and 0-9 on the weekend.
UMD had 78 shots on the weekend. They were able to get one past Cam Johnson late in the second period, when Parker Mackay caught a puck in the slot, dropped it to his stick, and flipped it above Johnson’s glove. However, the officiating crew called the goal off, citing a high stick by the nearby Cal Decowski. It was the closest that the Bulldogs came to a goal all weekend.
“I guess they had conclusive evidence but I’m not really too sure about that,” Decowski said.
Nonetheless, the Bulldogs are focused on getting more traffic in front of the net, as they had on the disallowed goal, in order to generate more offense moving forward.
“Obviously we got a lot of shots, but a lot of shots don’t mean anything if you’re not getting the traffic there,” Decowski said. “Every goalie (we face) is going to be a good goalie, we have to get to those tough areas, and I don’t know how well we did that this weekend.” The Bulldogs will have a chance for revenge when they head to Grand Forks, ND on Feb. 19 for a two-game series against the Fighting Hawks.