MANKATO, Minn. -- Through an exhibition and three regular-season games, the storyline of this year's UND hockey team has been vastly different than the one of a year ago.
Remember all of those nights where the Fighting Hawks piled up the shots but couldn't get anything to fall? Remember the lack of offense from across the lineup -- but especially the lower lines?
This season, UND opened up with five goals in its exhibition against Manitoba, 13 against Canisius College and, most impressively to date, four on the road at Minnesota State-Mankato on Friday night.
The reason why scoring four goals in Mankato has been the most impressive outing to date is because the Mavericks allow almost nothing at home.
Minnesota State had allowed just 10 goals in its last 12 home games combined. It had been 26 home games since anyone reached four goals and 53 home games since anyone did more than what UND did Friday night.
Also, UND is generating offense from all across the lineup.
Through three regular-season games, the team's leading scorers are Dixon Bowen, Harrison Blaisdell, Jacob Bernard-Docker. Other guys will eventually pass them up, but that's the type of scoring this team was not getting a year ago.
Here's the Herald's coverage of the game:
- Game story: Entertaining game ends in 4-4 tie
- GameCenter: Goal descriptions, videos and lineups
- Video: Bowen emerges offensively for UND
Other notes, stats and thoughts:
- UND actually held MSU-Mankato's big line of Marc Michaelis, Parker Tuomie and Charlie Gerard without a point -- something it couldn't do in either game last season. But it was the Maverick fourth line that dominated.
- It was a pretty good night for the two Winnipeg Jets draft picks in the lineup: Blaisdell had a pretty goal and Nathan Smith had a goal and four points.
- UND got absolutely dominated in the faceoff dot, 47-26. Every player had a losing number for UND, while Bismarck's Jared Spooner went 12-4 for the Mavs. It will take a lot of time to research the last time UND was minus-21 in faceoffs.
- At the end of the game, Brad Berry made the right coaching move by having Shane Pinto take all of UND's key defensive zone draws. Pinto won every single one of them, too. Although he was 8-12 for the game, he came through at the end and Berry made the right call by putting him out there repeatedly.
- The Fighting Hawks had some bad luck with defensemen accidentally putting pucks in their own net last season and it happened again Friday when Jonny Tychonick accidentally re-directed a harmless point shot five-hole on Adam Scheel.
- With the fourth line playing well for UND, extra forward Casey Johnson barely saw the ice.
- UND and MSU-Mankato are 1-1-1 in the last two seasons, so Saturday's game is the rubber match.