There was a quote on the board in UND’s locker room before Saturday’s series finale against Canisius College.
It said: “Sharks only have one thought. They smell blood and they attack.”
“So," UND forward Jordan Kawaguchi said, "we smelled blood and we attacked."
A relentless UND team hammered Canisius all the way to the bitter end Saturday night, finishing off a two-game sweep with a lopsided 8-1 win in Ralph Engelstad Arena.
It was UND’s highest offensive output since Jan. 6, 2017, when the Fighting Hawks beat Omaha 9-1 on the road.
Fifteen of UND's 19 skaters registered a point, led by Jacob Bernard-Docker's four assists. Mark Senden (goal, two assists) and Kawaguchi (three assists) and three-point nights.
Cole Smith had two goals, rookie Harrison Blaisdell buried his first-career goal and added an assist for a two-point night, while Collin Adams, Gabe Bast, Andrew Peski and Westin Michaud added goals.
Nineteen players on the roster already have a point this season.
The Fighting Hawks (2-0) convincingly avenged last year's pair of losses to Canisius in Buffalo's HarborCenter, which ultimately kept the Fighting Hawks out of the NCAA tournament.
“A lot of people were saying we owe these guys,” Kawaguchi. “We gave it to ‘em. We definitely owed them, so a little bit of revenge for us and we feel pretty good going into next weekend.”
UND dominated in every aspect of the game and put those offensive nightmares from a year ago to rest for at least one weekend.
UND outscored Canisius 13-1 in the series, marking the most goals the program has scored on a single weekend in Ralph Engelstad Arena since the 2016 NCAA national championship team put up 13 on Western Michigan to close that regular season.
Only Boston University and Wisconsin are averaging more goals per game through the first week or two of the season.
"We started feeling it there," Bernard-Docker said. "I think a big thing for us that it wasn't one line, it wasn't two lines. It was all four lines and all three D-pairs going. When you get that momentum and that positive energy on the bench, it makes it a lot of fun to play hockey."
Defensively, UND limited the Golden Griffins to just 23 shots on the entire weekend -- 11 on Friday night, tying the fewest UND has allowed since 2003, and just 12 on Saturday night.
"They're in your face all the time," Canisius coach Trevor Large said. "You have to be able to pass and pass and keep making quick plays. It's a big challenge, because the guys that are behind you catch up pretty quick. They like to play in your face. That was something, early in the season, we need to get better at and need to handle better. It was a tough challenge."
The only puck that got past UND goalie Adam Scheel was a wrist shot from Miami transfer Austin Alger on a 2-on-1 rush in the first period Saturday.
Canisius, which was picked to finish last in Atlantic Hockey, actually held a 1-0 lead at nearly the midway point of the game, but once Senden buried a centering feed from Kawaguchi at 7:24 of the second period, the floodgates opened.
UND scored three times in the second period and five times in the third, chasing Canisius starting goaltender Jacob Barczewski. It was the second-straight night that UND chased Canisius's starting goalie. The Fighting Hawks did that three times all of last season.
“One of the things you have to have is a killer instinct,” UND coach Brad Berry said. “I thought our guys did a good job of coming back and getting to that level and staying with it.”
UND made two changes in the lineup from Friday night, inserting Grand Forks native Judd Caulfield and Moorhead's Ethan Frisch for Jackson Keane and Jonny Tychonick. Caulfield registered his first-career point by setting up Michaud for a goal with just 1:29 to go.
"We wanted to get different guys in the lineup," Berry said. "The guys that came out of the lineup played a good game, but we feel everybody's got to get some reps in in order to have experience or confidence going down the stretch. We're going into Mankato next week. We need everybody. I thought Judd Caulfield played a lot of minutes in the third period there and Ethan Frisch did a good job of coming in.
"It's one of those things, early in the season, I wanted to get guys reps and I think it's beneficial to do that."
The test gets much more difficult next weekend when UND travels to No. 3-ranked Minnesota State-Mankato.
"Honestly, we're going to have to come out a little bit better," Kawaguchi said. "But I think our game is to wear teams down. When it gets down to the nitty gritty in the third period, I think we can jump on teams. We have guys like Cole Smith, who just run around and wear guys down, and I think that's huge for us, especially in the long season."